Open shade and directional light

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Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977
Open shade and directional light

So, I struggle so much with finding directional light outdoors. It's something that I've been working on for the past few months. Then, I came across a thread over on ILP that someone started that has been struggling with the same thing. A few of the wonderful talent over there gave some awesome tips, and explained things in a way that was so easily understood by me. So, with that knowledge, I asked Carson to let me try something out. I'm pleased to say that I did it! I'm so happy with the results!

I just thought I'd share! This was taken at 11am, without a cloud in the sky. I was just inside the shade at the very edge, with him in a spot where there was no dappled light. My back was also to the shade, and the "opening" was to the left of the frame. I should have taken a pullback picture. I'll take one tomorrow at the same time of day if you are interested. If anyone wants the link to the thread, just let me know. I'm not sure if I can link it, since it's another forum.

Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378

Beautiful! I would love to read the link and see a pullback. Smile

StateChick's picture
Joined: 03/22/07
Posts: 3629

Yes, I would like to see the link also! I've seen links to ILP on here before!

I have a lot of "open shade" pictures that are a big fat fail. Smile

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

Okay, here's the link. I hope it's ok to post it, and if not, I'll most definitely take it down. Gary is freaking awesome, and he should quit his day job and teach photography Wink

http://ilovephotography.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=501635

And I'll take that pullback tomorrow. If I took the picture right now, you would't be able to see exactly what I'm talking about, as shade has engulfed the scene now.

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

I can't see it Sad I did read through most of that topic on ilp though. It has some awesome advise and definitely not things I would have thought of myself.

StateChick's picture
Joined: 03/22/07
Posts: 3629

Okay, thanks so much for posting that link, Stephanie! Is it wrong that it makes me feel better to know I am not the only one struggling with this?! Smile

I was actually going to post these pictures a while back with questions on how to best take pictures in these conditions!!! I pm'd Stephanie to ask if I could share in this thread since we are discussing -

So here is my pull back (including preggo sis in chair)!

We were just hanging out under the tree this day and I was snapping some pictures, but wasn't sure how to best position myself or the kids for optimal results.

This was one of the first ones I took - I added some fill light, but under exposed still, I guess, and missed focus! From my pull back, if the tree was a clock, Ella is at about 12:00 and I was between her and the trunk of the tree, so "center of the clock" -
'

And maybe 20-30 minutes later...This picture, Ella is sitting at about 2:00, facing the trunk of the tree. She is a few feet from the edge of the shade. After reading that link, I think she was still in covered shade, not open shade. Had I moved her slightly farther back towards the sunlight, it may have been more "open" shade by this point.

And a close up - okay light in her eyes, but not great:

So better to have had her closer to the edge of the the sunlight/shade if I am going to take pictures in these conditions? And turn her a little more towards the light but keep her in the shade while also keeping myself in the shade to take the photo?

Thoughts?

eta: sorry for the quality of these pics - I just deleted a TON of pictures from my hard drive to free up some space and I don't have original files any more. These are all basically SOOC ones that went into a Picasa album for grandma. I don't have any edited and uploaded to Flickr from this set.

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

I cant see it either BOO! It says it is unavailable?

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

Sorry about that! Is it showing up now?

Candace, I think that a set up like this is going to be difficult to get directional lighting without your subject being close to another object in the shade that is going to cast yet another "shadow" on them. For example, this shot was taken completely in the shade, but I had him leaning up against our shed to cast a shadow on the side of his face.

Reading in that thread, Shannon talks about how she finds a "funnel". Have the shade just engulf your subject, sit them at the edge of the opening. They won't actually face the opening. They'll have their shoulder turned toward it. You will be standing inside the shade taking the picture. That's where I was getting confused. When in open shade, I was standing toward the opening, creating some flat light. All I did in this one was move myself inside the shade, and it really did the trick. I'm sure I've done it before as well, but not realizing what I was doing. This was my "ah-ha" moment Wink

I hope that everyone else plays along! I'd love to see your experiments!

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

Stephanie, I can see it now! You did awesome! I wonder if I can bribe one of my kiddos to practice today Smile I only recently learned about directional lighting from being on here and lurking at ilp. I've been able to achieve it inside, but am having troubles outside.

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

That's exactly me, Katie. Piece of cake indoors or in the garage, but totally sucking at it outside. I think I just need to look at my surroundings differently. M&M's are wonderful bribes around here Wink

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2363

Thanks for the link, that was really interesting and helpful! If we ever get out from rain clouds, maybe I can try soon too!

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

Definitely give it a try and post! It doesn't even have to be something you would print out. Dirty clothes. Messy hair. Doesn't matter. Just try to get that nice shadowing on one side of the face Smile

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

I can see it now and WOW it was worth the wait. I would call it my I JUST NAILED IT MOMENT! great job, one of my favorites from you!

marymoonu's picture
Joined: 03/15/08
Posts: 2183

Very helpful, thanks!

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

Sorry that I'm just now getting the pullback posted. I'm out of town house hunting, and I'm finally getting a free moment.

So, here's the scene:

This was actually taken an hour later than when I took the picture, but you can get the idea from this. You can see where we were standing. Carson was facing the shed a bit with his shoulder facing the opening. My back was to the shed. I was not standing in the sun.

I hope that this can help you guys! I know it's always helpful for me to see a pullback.

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

Had a chance to practice again. Only got a couple of shots of Carson to choose from, and none of Jackson, because he only gave me one before he ran off Wink

Anyone else try this out? I'd love to see your results!!