Sunday, April 10, 2022

AYWMC: Part 3 Lesson 4: Fill Light

This post is part of a series entitled A Year With My Camera.  
Lesson 3.4 in my own words
  • Strong light from one source creates high contrast and hard shadows
    • Creates high dynamic range (HDR)
      • image is very bright on the light source side
      • very dark on the other side
    • Occurs because the camera's sensors have a smaller dynamic range than the eye.
  • Fill light is secondary lighting to soften contrast and shadows
    • Reduces the HDR by reducing the dynamic range of the whole image
    • Created by shining light onto the shadows
    • Can be another light source
    • Can be a reflector

This week's project

  • Take 2 photos
    • Photo 1
      • Take a photo with strong directional light (bright sunlight)
      • Note the strong shadows
    • Photo 2
      • Repeat the first photo with a reflector opposite the light source
      • Note the softened shadows
  • Bonus photos
    • Experiment with the reflector closer or farther away
    • Experiment with aluminum foil or a mirror

I used white poster board for a reflector.

Photo 1 - no reflector

Photo 2 - with reflector

For the bonus photos, I used the white poster board reflector, each time moving it a little closer to the subject.

Bonus photo 1

Bonus photo 2

Bonus photo 3

The closer the reflective surface, the brighter the dark side of the subject. In the third photo, it looks like the reflector was the primary light source.

What I learned

I usually try to avoid taking photos in the direct sunlight because of the contrast. Now, I understand why it seems so harsh and what to do about it.


Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I can kind of see it Leigh, but it is not terribly obvious - I would not know to look for it unless you pointed it out.

Leigh said...

TB, I agree it's subtle in those photos, especially because the shadows in the first photo aren't too bad. But I got the point of the lesson, which will come in handy in future. :)