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Conquering Crappy Light In Fashion Shoots: Mixed Shade

These tips are from fashion photographer Lindsay Adler.

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!

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