Friday, July 20, 2012

Take Control of Contrast

Left, bright sunlight. Right, diffuser.
What do the following accessories have in common:
- reflector
- diffuser
- flash?

They all can compress the contrast range of a scene.

Often times, we need to compress the light in a scene for a pleasing photograph. That's why I never leave home without a reflector/diffuser kit and a flash.

Above: On location in Mongolia. I'm holding the diffuser in my On-Location Light Controller and Tote between the sun and subject to soften/diffuse the light for a more pleasing photograph.

Sometimes, however, you want to increase the contrast range for a more dramatic image. Note the nice contrast range (shadows and highlights) in the scene above. It was created by bouncing a flash into a reflector, as illustrated below.

That's my friend Rob Knight holding the reflector.

Above is a natural light shot. No reflector. The picture looks flash because it lacks contrast. As you can see, you do not always want to reduce the contrast. Increasing contrast can be a good thing.

Left, reflector. Right, no reflector.
Above: Here's another example of how a reflector can enhance a picture. It can increase contrast, boost color and even add catch light to the subject's eyes.

Above: A behind-the-scenes shot taken during our cowgirl shoot.

Left, flash. Right, no flash.
The above set of images illustrates how can flash can increase the contrast range . . .  for the better. Without a flash, you can't see the subject eyes. For Canon shooters, here's a post on Canon's new speedlite.

When you are photographing people, think about how you can take control of contrast.

My affordable On-Location Light Controller and Tote includes a tote, reflector, diffuser and even flash diffuser.

Above: Speedlite with flash diffuser.

Above: No speedlite.

Explore the light - and control the contrast,

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