"Quick, bring me the half stop diffuser!!!"

For Austin Sports Medicine.

Shooting in hazy sunlight. The lighting is too contrasty. What to do? While we've been taught to rush to the camera bag and grab a flash with which to add fill-in flash there are some circumstances in which floating a one stop or half stop scrim over the top of the subject is easier and more visually convincing. 

I used a Westcott one half stop silk diffuser directly over the talent's head and as close to her as possible to get this effect. It works for two main reasons. First the foliage in the background always renders darker than it will look to the eye which means that a half stop or one stop increase in contrast won't burn it out or make it look fried. And second, the light colored dirt of the playing field provided additional shadow fill from below. 

With the diffuser on the top, the sand acting as a reflector below, and the background being (lucky me) dark enough the stars lined up to ensure a good exposure. 

An additional help was the wide dynamic range of the camera, an older Kodak DCS 760. 

Hanging a diffuser over a model can be a much quicker, easier and more believable fix to contrasty light than pulling out a flash. But, of course, every situation is different. 

1 comment:

MartinP said...

Exactly. However this picture was lit (the sun is a light-source, after all) it looks as though it is made outdoors. Given the subject and context, that seems very nicely appropriate.