Shooting portraits in direct sunlight can be pretty challenging, and those harsh shadows on the face are likely not something you’ll want to see on your model’s face. Well, if you’re not up for old-school solutions, artificial intelligence comes to the rescue. A group of scientists has created an algorithm that removes all those unwanted shadows in a matter of seconds.
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With a heatwave rolling over America & Europe, photographers are going to be dealing with some pretty direct light. Here are some tips about dealing with harsh shadows and high contrast.
This blog is pretty good timing, as I have just come back from a shoot in the UK. 10 lucky winners in association with Sigma UK and Amateur Photography Magazine, had won the chance to come down to London and photograph two traditional Geisha (Mai Watanabe and Chiyono Watanabe.) I was asked to set up the shoot & help with the lighting as part of the day.
Photographing Geisha’s on a London Rooftop with the direct & bright sun was not ideal. But with some thinking, we worked out a set up that was pretty good. The main objective of the shot was to show the color of the face and keep the flat color tones. I wanted to show the makeup as much as possible. Getting the image as soft as possible while still showing the colors in the silk was another objective. The bright sunlight was very overpowering and creating deep shadows.
The golden hour is probably the time when most of us would choose to take photos. But, there will be times when you’ll be forced to shoot in a harsh midday sun, for one reason or the other. You can bring reflectors, strobes, or try to find or make a shade. But in this video, Manny Ortiz will give you some quick tips on how to embrace the direct sunlight and turn it into your advantage without any gear but your camera and lens.
Shooting on location presents all kinds of lighting challenges. You’re at the mercy of the weather, and thus the light. And which light is “best” is a huge matter of personal preference. Some prefer the softness of a cloudy overcast day. Others like that harsh bright direct sunlight. Although the latter is not always that flattering.
There are things you can do to overcome this bright harsh sunlight, though. This video from photographer Manny Ortiz shows us his process, and how he works through these challenges. And it might surprise you to see that not all of them require the use of flash.
At some point or another, anybody who shoots portraits is going to need to shoot outdoors in bright sunlight. Even if you actively try to avoid it, it’s going to happen one day. It’s just inevitable. Maybe you’re not a portrait photographer, but you have a fancy camera and a flash. Friends or family may ask you to shoot their photo. Sunny days might be beautiful, but often not for portraits, unless you have a bit of flash to offer a helping hand.
In this video from AdoramaTV, Gavin Hoey walks us through overpowering the sun. We see flash units of various power from small speedlights to large battery operated strobes. Even just a speedlight in a small softbox makes a massive difference. Going over to a more powerful flash produces dramatically different results.
For many photographers, harsh light is the worst. Whether you shoot landscapes or portraits, we’re told one of the worst times of day you can shoot is noon when the sun is up high in the sky.
Photographer Roman Fox, however, is here to change your mind. In this video, Roman shows us how we can take advantage of the harshness of bright daylight sun and how we can utilise it better when everything is fully lit.
So before my regulars start to suspect that I’ve been kidnapped and forced to write this against my will, yes this is indeed a lighting setup article that involves natural light! But don’t worry, we’ll quickly skip over the easy, beginner daylight setup and move on to the adult version that combines gels and strobes later on. So, if you’re suspiciously U.V. averse to the point where you could star in an Anne Rice novel, don’t worry, stick around to the end and I’ll have something a little more visually engaging for you there.
The harsh midday sun is not the favorite light for most photographers. While we talked about it many times in terms of portrait photography, we haven’t often mentioned how challenging it can be for landscapes. Well, Nigel Danson reflects on it in his video. He takes you on a walk through a forest with him, sharing a few simple, but powerful tips for getting striking landscape photos even in the midday sun.
It’s summer and the days are long and sunny. If you shoot portraits outdoors, the harsh midday sun may mess up with your plans. You can embrace it and incorporate it into your shots, but you can also create your own shade and modify or even block the harsh rays of the sun. In this 2-minute video, photographer David Bergman of Adorama will show you a couple of possible solutions for creating your own shade without changing the shooting location.