Problems with direct sunlight and focus
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30-06-11, 07:05 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
As mentioned above, if you are shooting against a bright light source behind your subject, like the sun or powerful studio lights, then chances are that your camera will meter for that light source and you'll end up with a silhouetted subject. Set the meter for their face and you'll end up with severely over exposed backdrops.
The only ways to avoid this are with fill in flash, so that the light hitting your subjects face will be more in line with the light of your back lit scene and you'll achieve correct exposure throughout the frame with the corresponding shutter speed/aperture/ISO combo.
As Geoff mentions, reflectors are another great (and in many ways better option), as you are bouncing back the ambient light towards your subject. Mixing natural and artificial light can sometimes have noticeable unnatural looking effects. Orange sunset with a bluish/white light source hitting someones face for example. Coloured gels placed over the flash unit can eliminate this of course.
The problem with reflectors though is that unless you have an assistant or a sturdy stand/arm to hold the reflector for you, it can sometimes be a bit impractical to use one, depending on the size. Add to that fact, that if shooting outdoors in a windy location like the seafront, you may very well watch your reflector and stand disappear along the beach, unless weighed down well.
If shooting in midday sun as Keith mentions, you will experience hard light. Subjects are generally left squinting in the direct sunshine and have shadows directly under their eyes, which doesn't make for pleasing portraits generally speaking. The use of a large diffuser positioned above the subject can solve this problem. Again, without an assistant or stand/holder, this isn't really going to be a viable option. Moving to a shaded area and again, perhaps using some fill flash, with a diffuser on the flashgun, will give nice, soft, flattering light, with little to no specular highlights.
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