Tech Tips : Natural Reflector in Harsh Light


We woke yesterday morning and took Polo on his morning walk. The humidity left water droplets on the windows of our bus, but we ventured out in thick of the thickness. Ten minutes into our walk, the skies broke and it poured. We ran in search of coverage–our flip-flops dragging up water as we sprinted–and hid in an open-air garage for ten minutes as thick puddles formed at our feet.

I’d seen it happen before: a couple gets caught in the rain and then they laugh, they make out, then splash each other in slow motion. Isn’t how all the movies work? Well, in real life we hid and hoped we wouldn’t be stuck for too long. When we finally ran back to the bus, we shook ourselves off and covered the dog in towels. It was then when I missed my chance for movie romance and asked JD for a do-over. Can we get stuck again so, like, we can make out and stuff?

Too much information? Yeah, sorry. How about more information in regard to photography? I’m sure many of you are taking a huge sigh of relief!

85mm f/2.8 1/800 100 ISO

After posting Laura and Adam’s Malibu engagement photos, Sarah asked: You gotta tell me how you do that! Especially the shot of Laura and Adam under those lights with the shadow stretched out in front of them. How do you ensure that they don’t end up underexposed with that amazing light behind them?

Like I mentioned on that blog post, it was extraordinarily bright in Malibu Canyon that day and the sun was higher in the sky than I normally like to shoot, but it was great because it created a distinctive natural reflector. If the sun was lower in the sky, their faces would have been more underexposed, but light was being reflected from the ground in front of them. And brightly so. This light was what made this photo possible.
   The Solution This photo is verrry close to how it appeared SOOC (straight out of camera). I added +1 red to color balance since the tones were cool and used the Dodge tool in Photoshop to lighten their skin by creating a duplicate layer of the original, then dodging the areas of their skin I wanted to highlight. I used the Burn tool (set at 15%) to slightly darken the corners of the photo…and that’s it. I wish I did fancier things in order to sound impressive, but that’s all I got…and I hope it’s enough.

Happy Monday!