How to bounce light and lift shadows from your subject’s face

    | Photography Tips | Portraits | 06/10/2012 05:00am

    How to bounce light and lift shadows from your subject's face

    With nice weather there is always the temptation to go outside and shoot outdoor portraits. But unfortunately with nice weather you get strong light, which can prove just as great a challenge for photographers as rain and bad weather. This is because of the harsh shadows it casts under eyes and chins. Below is a simple method you can use to bounce light back on to your subject’s face, and a metering technique to help you get a spot-on exposure.

    Our first shot

    Our first shot

    Bounce the light
    On all but the most overcast days, harsh shadows caused by direct sunlight are a problem.

    Use a reflector to bounce light back up

    Use a reflector or some ordinary white cardboard to reflect light back onto your subject’s face and illuminate shadow areas around the nose, neck and eyes.


    Choose the right metering mode

    Pick a metering mode
    You want to expose for the skin tones without worrying about the background exposure, so use centre-weighted metering. Keep the subject’s face in the middle of the frame, lock the exposure value (EV) and then recompose.


    Check the image

    Check the image
    Take the shot, look at it on your camera’s LCD screen and check that the skin tones appear bright and smooth. Now call up the histogram. It should look fairly balanced around the central midtones without being stacked heavily to the far left or right.


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    Posted on Saturday, October 6th, 2012 at 5:00 am under Photography Tips, Portraits.

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