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Monday, July 16, 2012

31 Days of Photo Fun: Day 16... Tip: Find Open Shade


Happy Day 16 of our 31 Days of Photo Fun! Today's tip will help you both in your photography and also to beat the summer heat of July. Find some open shade!

Open shade is simply the shade that comes from the shadows of buildings, large trees, or any other area that still allows light to hit your subject. This gives you great light from a specific direction (so you can face your subject that way to get light in her eyes) but doesn't overpower your subject with harsh sun (leading to squinty eyes and washed out skin tones).

A few examples of open shade are:

A large building, which was behind me here as I was shooting.


The side of a smaller building, which can still work if your subject is close enough to the building to still be in shade, or if the sun is low enough in the sky to cast lower shadows.


An overhang or porch. Here, Jackie sat on the wall of a porch which helped the natural bend of her limbs and created great light in her eyes.


Remember too, that the lower the sun is in the sky, the more options you have for open shade. Jackie was in the middle of a "quad" of buildings here, but the sun was so low, the shade was everywhere, allowing us to get the background we wanted (with a shallow depth of field, like I love!)


Large trees can be a great source of open shade, but be careful with them. Sometimes, if they aren't full and 100% shady, they will place funny light spots on your subject's face (called "dappled light"). So just be sure to always see what your shade is doing to your subject's face.

What sources of open shade can you find at home? Or at your favorite hangouts? Do you see a difference when you get your subjects out of direct sun and into these shady places? What do you think?

Share with us what you are learning!


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