Frustrating, bright sunlight portraits!

Started May 16, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Re: Frustrating, bright sunlight portraits!
In reply to Elite83, May 17, 2012

The built-in flash is actually fairly substantial, but not compared to the sun. Things to try for amazingly strong backlighting (in order of decreasing ease of use):

1. DRO, and turn it up... maybe also turn contrast down.

2. HDR, and turn it up (remember HDR is multi-shot, so subject should not move too much).

3. Maybe you shouldn't be photographing your subject from inside a black tent with the sun directly behind them and you dressed in your ninja outfit with all your equipment covered in black felt? Seriously, minor repositioning of your subject can allow environmental objects, such as a light-colored wall behind you, to act as natural reflectors. The only problem is you may get color casts from using strongly-colored surfaces as natural reflectors.

4. Shoot raw (maybe even bracket) and do HDR-style tone mapping in post.

5. Get powerful external flash(es) or a less powerful sun. If the "global dimming" research is right, we're losing something like 1 stop every few centuries to particulate pollution, so maybe....

6. Use a reflector for the sun. A 32" diameter collapsible reflector made for this purpose, with 5 different reflector materials, is less than $11 on Amazon. Really cheap and easy to carry, but often requires a tripod or a second person to hold it where you want it.

PS: The example you just posted simply looks a bit overexposed. You know there is a maximum sync speed for flash, so the combo of flash, sun, ISO, and aperture may simply have been beyond what could get you a good exposure....

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