Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Photography Pointers | Just Say "NO" to Dappled Light

Alrighty... here's the next post in my inconsistent series of photography pointers for the layperson. If you didn't read my first photography pointer on Rule of Thirds, you can check it out HERE. These instructional posts are meant for the average person with a camera. Not even a fancy camera... just a basic camera. To prove my point, these next examples are photos taken with my inexpensive point-n-shoot camera (as opposed to my professional level SLR camera). They are not outstanding pictures by any means, but they get the point across. And that point is, "just say NO to dappled light". Here's an example of what NOT to do.

Bright sunlight "splotches" will ruin a picture. This was taken under the tree in our backyard and spots of sunlight were coming through the branches. In a photo, the differences between bright spots and shadows are exacerbated. The above photo is the perfect example of this. And all I had to do to fix it, was move my daughter around the tree a little bit so that she was standing the shade of the tree trunk, where the light is consistent. Then I re-took the picture (again with my simple point-n-shoot camera) and got this photo...

Can you see the difference between the two? Pretty obvious I think. The same thing happens if you set your kids down in bright afternoon sunlight and take their photo. The sun makes the top of their head and shoulders and chest bright with blown-out spots, and their face (particularly their eye sockets) are dark and hard to see. Not good. Unless you want to learn about other techniques that professionals use to even out the light (scrims, fill-flash, reflectors, etc.) then your best bet is to just get them in the even light (read: shade). So repeat after me, "just say NO to dappled light".

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