Fun in the Sun

Posted by on Jun 19, 2014 in Blog, Photography

Bright sun is fun to be in, but it does present a few photographic problems.

On this assignment we arrived for an 11:45AM group portrait. The sun couldn’t have been any brighter with just a few fleeting clouds. Facing the group into the sun is a no no. Everyone will be squinting or in need of sun glasses. We decided to face the group with the sun to their back. If I point my camera into the sun I can make adjustments so that the overall exposure is correct. However, everyone’s face will be in shadow. This called for fill flash, where flash is used to open up the shadows without affecting the background exposure.

We needed to photograph 100 people on a flat surface. No hilly landscape to position people in the back. We used a 12 foot ladder and an extended light stand lashed to it to fashion a make shift holder for the camera.

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Here is an example of the group without the use of the ladder or the flash. Of course the folks in back don’t show. Everyone’s face is in shadow (though the sun is now moving quickly in the sky). We need to get this image NOW!

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Another view of the strong light, and the strong shadows.

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OK. Here’s a view of the monkey behind the camera cajoling the troops.

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Hands up. Flash off.

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One more time with flash.

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The final is a version with hands down to get everyone’s face. The flash does its job, and so does the ladder. Everyone is visible and their faces are not all in shadow. An added benefit of the flash is the little glint it creates in people’s eyes.

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We immediately review the images to make sure we were able to capture what the client was looking for.

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When I got back to the studio and reviewed the shoot I could see that I had better expressions on people in different exposures. I used the overall best image as a base and then replaced a few selected people from other exposures to come up with a final that had everyone looking good.

1 Comment

  1. Rob Huntley
    June 26, 2014

    Nice job Al !