September 14, 2015

Open Shade

Charlottesville Harrisonburg Virginia Wedding Photographer Why to Shoot in Open Shade

[part of the Monday for Moms blog series – small tips and tricks that will make big changes in photos of your children]

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned about photography so far on this journey is that it’s all about light!  One of my favorite shooting locations is in open shade because it is predictable and reliable.  Open shade is anywhere outside that is well lit, but also shaded.  Think of the shadow a building casts on the ground or under the shade of a tree.  These areas receive ample light but aren’t directly in the sunlight.

Behind this beauty is a tree line.  She is in a completely shaded area.  Look at how bright those blue eyes shine!

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These beautiful ladies are in their backyard in the shadow of their home.  See the line where the bright light begins?  That’s the end of the shadow.  The result of them standing within the shadowy space is a nice bright image with even lighting on the subjects.

This stunning bridal party image was taken right in front of a tree line.  They stood in the shadow (which was a pretty narrow strip at around noon when the sun was practically straight above) to create nice even lighting over all six of them.  Look at those nice creamy skin tones and bright colors!

Harrisonburg Virginia Wedding Photographer

Shooting in direct sunlight can wash out colors and create a harsh yellow cast or even a haze on everything.  Finding open shade is a great way to keep nice bright colors and creamy, true to life skin tones.

Beware of dappled lighting, as I like to call it.  Space with shade where spots of sunshine still shine through can create uneven lighting and bright spots or “hot spots” on your subject.  Look for pieces of light that shine through when using shade and either move to avoid the bright spots, or make sure they work with the image you want to create.  Check out the featured image on this page with the bride and groom under the tree.  I moved the couple around until their bodies were in a large shaded spot and the dappled sunlight didn’t land on their faces.

Have a topic you’d like me to discuss? Comment below! I love to hear from you.

– Nikki




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