Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Controlling Dappled Light


Shooting in dappled light (light coming through the leaves of a tree for example) can be difficult. The difference in exposure between the shadows and highlights can often be so extream that the image will look too dark in the shadows and/or blown-out in the highlights. At best, most dappled light will create a splotchy look on the subject's skin.

This image is from a shoot I did with Doa (pronounced "doh-ah"), a local Austin model, on the first day of Austin's SXSW conference. I wasn't able to attend SXSW this year, but I at least wanted to get out and see the crowds and do a little shooting at the same time. My friends Alex Suarez and Peter Talke came along to shoot as well. Putting Doa in that window was Alex's idea.

To deal with the dappled light, I did two things:

First, I made sure Doa's face was in a shadow. I was lucky in this case that finding a large enough shadow wasn't too difficult. That shadow prevented her face from having a blotchy look that dappled light is known to create.

Second, I had Peter aim a flash at Doa's face and I adjusted it to bring the exposure of her face up to match the surrounding wall. That's pretty much it: A little bit of luck, positioning, and a flash did the trick.

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