Exercise: Outdoor portraits


On a bright day photograph a person in the sunshine. Do this outdoors in three stages.

  1. First, photograph them with your back to the sun
  2. Next, photograph the person with their back to the sun
  3. Take the photograph again but this time use a reflector

Analyse the differences between the images you’ve made in relation to the exposure you’ve used. Write up your findings with images in your learning log or blog.


The tough part was waiting for a bright day :-)

I metered from the face as suggested.

1. Frontlit


1/420s at f/4.0, ISO 200

As expected, very bright and overexposed in parts. So bright that the subject had to wear sunglasses.

2. Backlit, no reflector

No reflector
Backlit, no reflector

1/350s at f/4.5, ISO 200

Very flat. Shadows under chin and eyes.

3a. Backlit, white reflector

White reflector
Backlit, white reflector

1/480s at f/4.5, ISO 200

Cooler tone to skin. Area under chin that was previously shaded is now lighter than the rest of the face, highlights slightly too high there.

3b. Backlit, silver reflector

Silver reflector
Backlit, silver reflector

1/450s at f/4.5, ISO 200

Area under chin is more evenly lit and matches rest of face better. Slightly warmer tone to skin.


The differences weren’t quite as marked as I’d expected, but maybe the effect was influenced by the varying strength of sunlight as clouds moved across the sky.

The differences were identifiable however.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s