Contrast Control in Sunlight


McGregNi

Link Posted 10/08/2018 - 12:39
Here are some ideas for dealing with contrast and light challenges when outdoors and wanting some quality people shots .

We often face a double dilemma in these situations:

1) Do we move the subject into total shade? .... (Risks dull light, colour casts from tree, brighter backgrounds causing distractions)

2) Try to use the sunlight to provide illumination, without having the subject squinting and the whole face in harsh light .... (Risks blown highlights, too dark exposure on non lit parts of face, excessive contrast across the face)

No 2 here is invariably the better one to try, as the play of sun on a subject will provide better looking light and 'modelling', rather than dull shade. The problem now is that if we expose for the sun highlights, then the other parts of the subject will go far too dark, and in fact not really be lit at all. High ISO performance is no help here at all, because your exposure is limited by the upper end of the sun highlights.

A good solution to the dilemma of No 2 is to introduce flash onto the "off-sun side", and position the subject so that the sun lights the other side, sort of like a free rim / hair / kicker light!

Here's couple of recent examples ..... I turned the subject sideways from the sun, trying to keep the sun playing nicely over her hair and left side, then I got her to turn her face to the camera. By metering for the sun highlights I ended up with a mostly darkened face ...... so I used two Cactus Rf60 flashes in tandem on a reflective umbrella positioned to the subjects right and slightly in front, pointing downwards. I used the Cactus V6II trigger in P-TTL mode, with +0.5 flash compensation, and this brought the nice soft light on to the "off-sun side", balancing the illumination from the sun on the other side.











The result is, I believe, more interesting and dynamic looking lighting than could be achieved either in shade or with only the sun!

Let us know what you think, and I hope you might be encouraged to try this out also .....

Nigel
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

pschlute

Link Posted 10/08/2018 - 15:49
Nice work again Nigel. I know you saw my comments on the other site. I think this is a good example of where you actively seek to use two distinct light sources in a situation where just one would not give you as dynamic an image.

I might try this when the sun decides to make an appearance again. Very wet in Surrey today, typical British summer eh

I used a variation on option 1 recently. I wanted a wide 2.8 aperture to show off the lens circular oof highlights but it was far too contrasty for my subject (the faithful Rio). So I placed him in the shade but illuminated him with direct HSS flash. I thought it worked well although probably a flatter image than your two light sources used here. Two years ago i would not have had a clue about thinking in this way. Just goes to show daylight flash can open up a multitude of possibilities.
Peter



My Flickr page
Last Edited by pschlute on 10/08/2018 - 15:49

McGregNi

Link Posted 10/08/2018 - 22:44
I'm glad to see I must have sounded convincing over at PF Peter!

I picked the two photos out because they show the distinct light sources quite clearly (you can see the smoother effect from the umbrella, and the more dappled sunlight as having different qualities ..... There's even a small extra warmth to the sun-lit side and a slightly cooler tone from the flashes).

I wish photography mixing flash, sun and kids was a fully precise and predictable affair ......alas not, it's more hit and miss, considering the amount of moving around going on! But a careful approach to the highlight metering and then bringing in the flash exposure to balance that at least will yield consistent exposures with restrained contrast
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 10/08/2018 - 22:46

Don

Link Posted 10/08/2018 - 23:05
McGregNi wrote:
I'm glad to see I must have sounded convincing over at PF Peter!

I picked the two photos out because they show the distinct light sources quite clearly (you can see the smoother effect from the umbrella, and the more dappled sunlight as having different qualities ..... There's even a small extra warmth to the sun-lit side and a slightly cooler tone from the flashes).

I wish photography mixing flash, sun and kids was a fully precise and predictable affair ......alas not, it's more hit and miss, considering the amount of moving around going on! But a careful approach to the highlight metering and then bringing in the flash exposure to balance that at least will yield consistent exposures with restrained contrast

this is where a few diffewrent strength CTO gels for the flash come in handy.
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.

McGregNi

Link Posted 11/08/2018 - 09:00
I thought it was interesting that the difference was there to see, another distinction between the light sources. I wonder if these days a little use ot the sponge tool might even things out quite easily....?
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

Pentaxophile

Link Posted 15/08/2018 - 16:42
Quote:
The result is, I believe, more interesting and dynamic looking lighting than could be achieved either in shade or with only the sun!

I agree, nicely done! You'd be none the wiser that flash was used here, but it makes a massive difference.
[link=https://500px.com/will_brealey/[/link]

stub

Link Posted 15/08/2018 - 19:19
Nice portraits Nigel...
K-1Gripped K-1 ungripped K-5ii K7 Various lenses

Stuart..

McGregNi

Link Posted 15/08/2018 - 22:24
[quote:3496ace15f="Pentaxophile"]
Quote:
...... nicely done! You'd be none the wiser that flash was used here, but it makes a massive difference.

It does, yes! It's the high contrast caused by direct sun and it's angle that can really screw up opportunities for good portraits in beautiful places.

Thanks also Stuart ..... What do we all think so far about wireless radio TTL? It's been taken for granted for some time now by users of the other main DSLR brands, but is a more recent luxury for us. I personally find it very handy, in the situations and subjects I'm shooting the automatic flash exposure control and stop based compensations are really intuitive and quick.
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 15/08/2018 - 22:25
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