Monday, February 20, 2012

Bending the Rules

     In a previous post entitled Magic Hour I mentioned the ideal times for shooting outdoor portraits being morning and evening.  Mid-day overhead sunlight is awfully harsh and contrasty.  Another post, Soft Window Light warns against using your on-camera flash for portraits.  But rules are meant to be broken, or at least bent.  In this post we will do a little bending.
     So let's face it, we can't control everything.  Sometimes we need to take pictures outdoors, under harsh mid-day sun.  Understanding it's not the ideal light, there are a couple of tips we can follow to help improve the look of our sunny subjects.  
     First - set your camera's White Balance setting to "Cloudy". This will give your subject's skin a slightly warmer tone.  If you want to go even warmer, try "Shade".  Second step - turn ON your camera's flash.  Your "fill flash" will help fill in the hard shadows and even out the light on your subject.  Remember if you are using a small built-in flash, you will need to be in fairly close, probably 6-8 feet, in order for your flash to be effective.  
     Hope this helps.


photo jabber by tim wyler
simple tips and techniques for taking better pictures

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