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When fill flash isn’t enough

One way of combating this lighting is to use fill flash to fill in the dark areas of shadow to even out the lighting and still keeping some drama. The problem with this is that the sun is very powerful and using just an on camera flash usually isn’t enough, or just doesn’t give a nice quality of light if you are just “filling light” in. So the solution to this problem is to use diffused light in combination with fill light. Over kill you say? Well you be the judge. In the examples below, the first image is a quick portrait shot with just fill flash. For me the shadows are still too dark and even though the fill flash gives a nice catch light in the eyes, the quality of light in the rest of the image could be better. The second image shows the use of diffused light with flash fill light. The direct sunlight was diffused using a diffusion panel and the fill flash was used at 1/2 power to give that nice catch light in the eyes while also giving the couple a little bit of a pop of light to even out the dark shadows. A diffusion panel can either be made or bought. In this case it was half and half. I used a frame that I’ve had for many years and used my own diffusion material. More specifics later in the article. So you be the judge, which lighting do you like most. I like to use this “diffused light with a kicker” technique I call it, because it really gives a subjects a nice pop, that you may not get with just diffusion.

Noon Sun with Fill Flash: Canon 5d Mark III; Canon USM 24-105 F4
Diffused Light with a Kick: Diffused light with fill flash: Canon 5d Mark III

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