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Conquering Crappy Light In Fashion Shoots: Mixed Shade

These tips are from fashion photographer Lindsay Adler – one of the instructors during this week’s CreativeLIVE Photo Week – an event being held this week that showcases teaching by 50 photographers across 3 tracks, including weddings and family.

Finding a shady spot during an outdoor shoot is a perfect way to snap beautiful pictures while still maintaining a sunny outdoor feel –– but what happens when your model’s face is being hit by directional light sneaking through the side of your shady covering? Check out professional glamour and fashion photographer Lindsay Adler’s favorite tips for troubleshooting (literally!) working in mixed shade:

BEFORE in mixed shade

Block Off Overhead Light

Scout around your location and find a doorway that leads to the outside. If your model steps back into the doorframe, not only does it block overhead light, it blocks light coming from the left and right – and you’ll still have a nice glow coming in through the front. This option also creates great negative fill, which is especially handy if you’re doing a beauty shoot and want to highlight your model’s jawline and cheekbones.

OPTION ONE door way

Need even more contrast on the front of your model’s face? Try backing her up a little further into the doorway. You’ll be giving yourself a smaller light source that’s more directional, essentially creating a giant softbox effect. “I have used this setup for every single wedding I have ever done. And I have shot two of my favorite beauty editorials like this,” Lindsay says. “I’ve had the model stand in a doorway, and I’ve used black fill from left and right, and just gorgeous glowing light in the front.”

Diffuse Your Light and Add Fill

This method is super simple, and will definitely help you show the sun who’s boss. If you can’t swing placing your model in a door and you have no choice but to shoot her in direct sunlight, your first step is popping up a parabolic umbrella. It will diffuse and soften the light but not change the angle.

OPTION TWO Diffusion and Fill

The parabolic works pretty well on its own, but if you want the model’s eyes to catch the light and get extra sparkly, have an assistant hold a white reflector underneath her face to create some negative fill. “For commercial style portraits, this is actually my favorite,” Lindsay says.

Both Lindsay’s methods for conquering mixed shade work great, and will give you even skin tone, contrast, and nice catch-light so you can snap that perfect picture even when the sun is shining!

Learn more from Lindsay in this weeks Photo Week from CreativeLIVE.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Guest Contributor This post was written by a guest contributor to DPS. Please see their details in the post above.

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  • reggie

    Just for clarification: a white reflector underneath the face is a negative fill? Isn’t that just a fill since you’re adding light? And where is the parabolic umbrella positioned? Thanks.

  • http://www.photographybyjrae.com/ Shari Nelson

    Cool! I totally see the difference when the backgrounds change. I think I still have to know more in the photography industry and I am so interested to learn this kind of effects in photography. Thanks for a little tutorial! Nice job! PhotographyByJRae.com

Some older comments

  • Shari Nelson

    September 26, 2013 02:24 am

    Cool! I totally see the difference when the backgrounds change. I think I still have to know more in the photography industry and I am so interested to learn this kind of effects in photography. Thanks for a little tutorial! Nice job! PhotographyByJRae.com

  • reggie

    September 18, 2013 03:38 pm

    Just for clarification: a white reflector underneath the face is a negative fill? Isn't that just a fill since you're adding light? And where is the parabolic umbrella positioned? Thanks.

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