Saturday, 8 December 2007

Light 2: Portraits in sunlight.

You have gone to visit a nice museum with your girlfriend; you have clicked some photo inside. But outside, there is a piece of nice architecture, which you want to shoot with your fiancée beside it. No problem, you take out your camera, ask her to stand beside it, and click you go. You are really happy that the shot has turned out great.

After you’ve come back, you look at the enlargement of the shot, and your girl friend has dark ugly shadows beneath her eyes and nose and chin. Something like this one:

But you have nothing to do now, than to cry in desperation “Why me?” and bang your fists on the desk.

Relax; it is a common problem, not with you alone. Professionals deal with this by bringing out large diffusers. But to us amateurs, it is but a ridiculous and impossible option to carry huge white screens on our shoulders.

Our option is the flash. Many will find it difficult to believe that firing the flash is required even in daylight, when there is so much of natural light, but the flash is really helpful to cut off those unwanted shadows beneath the eye, chin, etc. The flash is filling up the shadows, right? That’s why we call it “fill flash”.

Not only flash fills up the shadows, it adds a glint of light to eyes of the subject. The light is called “catchlight”. It makes the eyes of the subject much livelier and the portrait more interesting.

Another good option can be to wait for near sunrise or sunset, if you have ample time.
Because just as in the case of landscapes, low sun creates flattering warm glow, as well as interesting shadows.

PORTRAIT COOL TIP: Try to avoid firing the flash when shooting portraits in sunset or sunrise. This time the light is red and warm, the bluish light of flash can make the portraits look unnaturally cold.


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