Location Lighting Tips

Situations, Tools & Techniques

How to Turn a Lighting Problem into a Positive


Overcome the challenges of outdoor light; build a scene using available tools; and make a shot with beauty, power and impact.

Situations, Tools and Techniques

Situations

Types of sunlight
BrightHardSharp, sun, directional, transmitted, high contrast, good for shape and form
OvercastSoftDiffuse, cloud, general, reflected, low contrast, good for delicate texture
SpecialSunsetGolden hour, sunset, dusk

Tools

Filter, modify and add light
FilterPolarizersStandard polarizer, blue/yellow polarizer
ColorWarming, sunset, magenta
ExposureNeutral density (ND), graduated (grad)
ModifyReflectorRemove shadows with white card or fabric
Position: Opposite the sun
ScrimSoften/diffuse with white sheet
Position: In front of the sun
FlagBlock light with black card or lens shade
Position: By the lens<, bounce/diffuse, rear-curtain, off-camera
StrobeMain, background, fill, rim, catch
TypesDiffuse: softbox, octobank
Reflect: umbrella, beauty dish

Techniques

Move, build and balance
MoveSun behindMain light
Into sunRim, add fill-flash
ShadeSoft
BuildScrimHold back light over face
ReflectorRemove shadows under chin
FlashFill-flash adds light and attention to subject, plus catch light in eyes (glint, sparkle, specular highlight)
BalanceTestShoot and review
LevelsMove reflectors, compensate flash, use ND filter
ExposureIf can’t make it work in camera, bracket exposures and combine multiple shots in Photoshop for HDR photo

Bright vs. Overcast

Comparing Sunlight

BrightOvercast
Source:SunCloud
Type:HardSoft
DirectionalGeneral
TransmittedReflected
Contrast:HighLow
Good for:Shape,
form
Delicate
texture

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