Photographer Neil van Niekerk regularly creates incredible portraits utilizing off-camera flash, and has written several books on lighting. He often pairs with Modern Gypsies, a Brooklyn, New York performance group, using them as subjects.
All photographers are eventually confronted with the following scenario. You’re shooting portraits outdoors and there’s not a cloud in the sky. The sun is direct and unforgiving. Shadows on faces are heavy, and with just one light source, you can either have your subjects wear sunglasses and face the sun, or you can have them with dark shadows on their faces.
One look at an outdoor shoot by Neil van Niekerk, and you know this photographer knows what he’s doing to avoid shadow problems in direct sun. A recent post on his blog examines how he dealt with the issues of a cloudless sky.
An initial setup which didn’t quite work because of the steep slant to this doorway’s roof. The photo breakdown in the post illuminates the huge difference additional lighting makes, in comparison to the ambient-light only shot.
Neil also employed the same gear on a photo shoot of Irene, the stilt-walking showgirl. Neil’s review of the Profoto BatPac can be found here. Definitely take a look at the original post for many before and after examples of how Neil overpowered the sun and had a very successful shoot.
All images and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Neil van Niekerk, all rights reserved; story is ©Profoto. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.
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