May 2021 // The Wedding Edition

Dramatic Portraits Using Natural Light | Brett Florens

Another common method for photographing flattering images in harsh light is shooting backlit. This way you don’t get the harsh shadows and it is far easier for the model, as she is not looking directly into the sun. The trick here is to effectively control your exposure. As you can see, if you don’t compensate for the heavy backlight, you will end up shooting a silhouette if you are relying solely on the camera’s light metering system to gauge your exposure. You will need to ensure that you are exposing for the light landing on the model’s face and not the overall light in the image. There are a few ways to do this. One is to spot meter off her skin. Another is to shoot on manual, where you decrease the shutter speed to allow more time for the light to be exposed to your shutter. Or, my preferred method is to use the EV ± button right next to your shutter (Nikon) in this instance, increasing the EV (Exposure Value) by 1 ⅓ of a stop. This elevates the shadows to midtones and the midtones to highlights. Generally, your highlights will then be blown out and won’t have much detail. The light landing on the model is soft and the wrap-around lighting is romantic, ethereal and flattering, but the payoff is loss of details in the highlights.

settings: f4 @ 1/1250 iso 100

settings: f4 @ 1/320 iso 100

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