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Pure Lighting Tips--Edge of Shade for Flattering Portraits

Pure Lighting Tips--Edge of Shade for Flattering Portraits


 

We are often asked how we can light whole groups so effectively.  This is a really easy thing to do.  It is especially useful for families.   When we shoot families we like to have areas where we can get some good shots in safe lighting.  Sure, we can play around and experiment, but getting a shot that we know the family will love in flattering light is our bread and butter.

When we are shooting families we suggest places that we know will have areas of shade with backlight.  So, this is usually accomplished by light filtering through trees or bushes or in alleyways, etc.  The trees create a lovely area of "open shade."  The backlight filters through the trees and gives lovely hairlight and a beautiful and interesting background that helps the group to separate from the background.  

The important thing to remember here that we NEVER situate our subjects deep in the shade.  There are a few reasons for this.  One, the further from the background our subject's can be, the better bokeh we will get.  And two, at the very edge of the open shade, there is beautiful reflected light that bounces onto the family.  So they will have backlight and a reflected front light.  We never use reflectors for family shoots, but it looks like we do, because this is how we set up the shoot.

Below is an AMAAAAZING drawing I made.  (It sucks.)  But it shows how they are positioned.

 

Ignoring the fact Rachel has NO art skills, you can see that we have the sun behind the trees, the subject in front of the trees at the very edge where there is no sun in the frame of the camera.  (I might actually be standing in the sun!)  The light from the non-shaded area then reflects back onto the family/group/subject.

It is quite simple.  Once you set an exposure and white balance, this light stays the same, so you don't need to change settings much.  It is a very easy way to get your groups to pop out of the background.

Comments (17)

Harry

This is very impressive post for me which is about Pure Lighting Tips--Edge of Shade for Flattering Portraits. This is a really easy thing to do. It is especially useful for families. When we shoot families we like to have areas where we can get some good shots in safe lighting.
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I have found that setting up and lighting the subject no less than 5 feet from the dark background gives you better complexity. This is chiefly on the grounds that less light is returning off the dark foundation.

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Obviously there are dependably points of confinement to the execution you could anticipate. In the event that the lighting is to a great degree awful then self-adjust could be an issue (particularly with snappy development). I would suggest a tripod as hand vibrations alone would affect your recording execution. At any rate in that way you're giving the telephone the most ideal possibility of catching the occasion.

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Obviously there are dependably points of confinement to the execution you could anticipate. In the event that the lighting is to a great degree awful then self-adjust could be an issue (particularly with snappy development). I would suggest a tripod as hand vibrations alone would affect your recording execution. At any rate in that way you're giving the telephone the most ideal possibility of catching the occasion.

3 years ago
Traci

Not sure where to post this and haven't came across a blog of yours that covers this topic. So if you have already done this can you point me in the right direction! Topic is how to take pictures in the harsh sunlight (example: beach where there is no shade). Using your camera only! I am wanting to get good pictures of my active kids on the beach this summer. Any tips would be helpful thanks!

5 years ago
Traci

The illustration is very helpful! I always thought the further in the shade the better. Now I know NOT!!

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