Darn Flat Light!

7 posts / 0 new
Last post
Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977
Darn Flat Light!

I've been getting MUCH better with finding curvy, directional light in the house. It's a much more controlled situation inside. But I'm really struggling trying to find that same light when I'm outdoors. I'm hoping to find some help in controlling the light outdoors.

Here's one that I'm talking about. I was trying to use the tree to create some shadow on the side of his face, but it didn't work like I wanted. I do see the lighting difference from one side to the other, but it's not creating the shadows that I want. This was full midday sun. The sun was off to the left side of the frame, and I had him on the shadow side of the tree. What can I change to get this more depth? I know the look on his face is not ideal Wink But I guess that's what I get when I pull him away from his bike to take a picture...

1/250 f/3.2 ISO 100 50mm

tialee80's picture
Joined: 02/04/12
Posts: 394

Stephanie, you are someone I look to for advice so giving it feels a little funny but here it goes. If I were doing it I would use a large disc reflector. You would need someone to hold it but I find I can really control the sun and shadows by which way I position it. I also have a large white disc diffuser so sometime if the reflector is giving off too much light I will use the diffuser to soften it a little.

KatieWillis's picture
Joined: 07/01/07
Posts: 1441

I have this same problem outside. I'd much rather shoot outside because of the limitless space, but I have a really hard time with lighting, unless we're in the shade. I'll definitely be stalking this thread!

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

I do have a reflector now (got one for Christmas), so it's definitely a possibility to try it out. Though, I don't really have an extra set of hands, typically. I'm wondering, though, if it would give me too much light on that side. Or maybe with the adjusted metering it would be fine?

tialee80's picture
Joined: 02/04/12
Posts: 394

I have tried this with my reflector on the gold side. When I positioned it at a certain angle I could enhance my shadows making them more dramatic. I am am not 100% but I would think adjusting your settings would help control how much light is reflected.

AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

Your son looks a bit squinty which indicates that the light was really bright in front of him. It could have been reflecting off something behind you? Perhaps being midday really is part of the problem. For this to work you need the light to come directly from the side, not the frontish side if that makes sense.

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

Could have been that it was reflecting off of the street behind me. I do prefer to take them out later in the day because of how squinty he is. Poor kid couldn't participate in his swimming lessons this summer unless he had his sunglasses on. It was so bad that I took him to the eye doctor just to make sure everything was ok! Backlighting has been my best friend with that kid. For this shot, I had to even tell him to close his eyes until I was ready, and told him to open them when I snapped the picture.

So, trying this a different time of the day, would I still place him in the tree's shadow like I am here? I'm dying to figure out this whole directional lighting outdoors.