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  • Grace Williamson

Shoot in the Shade

Last month I looked at the uses of natural lighting, and mentioned shooting in the shade. Shooting in the shade has some great benefits, especially on sunny days!

Diffuses light

As I said last time, shaded places diffuse sunlight. In the images below, the model was under trees on a bright sunny day. You can see the even light on her face in the first, even though there is a sunlit patch on the tree behind her and on her arm in both images. This eliminates any harsh shadows around her eyes and under her nose.

Closed Shade Vs Open Shade

Not all shade is created equal! Closed shade is when the subject is standing in the shade, and as the photographer is facing them the background is sunny. This can cause issues with overexposing the background or underexposing the subject. The image below of the bride and groom is in closed shade, and I used a little fill flash so they were not underexposed. Open shade is when the subject is in the shade but is facing the bright areas. The solo portrait below is an example. The light is even on her face - no harsh shadows - but she is much brighter than the background.

There are a few ways to use shade like this. With closed shade, you may choose to expose for the subject and have a blown-out backdrop. This can make some creative photographs! Or, you may choose to shoot purely in the shade, so there is no part overly bright.

Reflectors and fill flash are a must if shooting on a sunny day. They will help direct and balance the light between your subjects and background.

Dappled leaves, window blinds, net curtains, and other diffusers can add creative effects too!

Keep experimenting, and see what you come up with :)

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