July 21, 2011
I think of dappled light as that splotchy patchy light that you see when the sun shines through trees. It's often tough because if you don't watch where the sun is in relation to the people you are photographing, you may see splotches of light and shadow on people's faces.

This weekend I shot group portraits for my wedding in Shelter Island in a shaded area where there was dappled light. I thought I would write about this kind of light, because when I first started I didn't really know how to correct for it, and I would often have little splotches of light or shadow all over some people's faces. For these family portraits this weekend, I made sure to position the sun BEHIND the people in the wedding so that there was still dappled light on the ground, but not on their faces. If you put the sun in front of them, even though the trees are shading most of the light, there is often a chance that some people will appear patchy. It looks bad and it is hard to expose properly. 

What do you do when you see dappled light? Do you run from it? Or do you use it?

P.S. The sun was shining just behind me but very high in the sky through that gorgeous tree in Sonoma, California a little to picture right. Notice the dappling on the ground. The light is even on my face (even though you can't see very much of my face! ;)) because the light is coming from behind me. 

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brittany says:

this is SO helpful. there are somethings that should be so easy but in the moment they seem so difficult. or they seem really difficult in the moment. thanks for sharing :)

(07.22.11 @ 10:46 AM)
Shy says:

You look good in every light! :)

(07.25.11 @ 11:23 AM)
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Backlighting my clients is one of my favorite things to do on a bright sunny day. I love the soft light so much that it makes me smile! And do a happy dance!

A lot of people ask me about sunflare, and I often get questions from clients wondering what those "green dots" are on the images. Sunflare. I love playing with light; sunflare is one of my favorite things. The first image below that Mike took of me has lots and lots of sunflare. The image is very soft, and I love that about it. To achieve sunflare, the sun has to be peeking into the lens, just a little. It isn't easy to get sunflare because once the sun starts peeking into the lens, it is more difficult to get a lock on focus.

You will notice that in all of the images below except for the very last one that my hair is glowing a gold color around my head. No, I didn't get highlights! haha! It's rim lighting. Like a halo of light. I love this kind of light. The sun is directly behind me shining through my hair but not peeking into the lens. Once the sun peeks into the lens, you get sunflare. So in order to achieve this kind of image, you need to hide the sun behind the person you are photographing with a small amount of light shining through their hair.

The very last image is still glowing, but the sun is totally hidden behind me with nothing peeking through my hair (well, maybe ever so slightly on the right side) and nothing peeking into the lens.

As you can see here, there are so many ways to play with light. I have so much fun with it. So keep practicing and experimenting! And let me know if you have any questions! I would love to hear from you!

Dress: Hunter Dixon

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Wendy Norman says:

I LOVE the soft look of the first image, and I often attempt that technique as well. But like you said, getting a lock on the focus is kind of difficult with that much sunflare...so how do you manage to lock in the focus when the client is in motion? Sometimes it takes me so long to focus I miss the moment.

(06.28.11 @ 01:05 PM)

@Wendy, Sometimes it is tough to get that flare when people are in motion. What I often do is hide the sun behind the person (by moving and ducking! ha!), focus, and make sure my exposure (in manual) is what I need it to be when the sun is in the lens, and then just move the sun in a little bit. Does that make sense?

(06.28.11 @ 05:14 PM)
Shy says:

Linds, you look beautiful in every light! :)

(06.28.11 @ 09:16 PM)
Wendy Norman says:

Yes, that does make sense! Nail exposure, lock in the focus, then move the light in. Totally trying that at my next shoot. Thanks, Lindsey! :)

(06.29.11 @ 09:14 AM)
Georgine says:

Wait so you're saying Mike knows how to shoot sun flare perfectly!? that's amazing ;) You look absolutely gorgeous and I can't wait to see you in Shelter Island very soon!!! We may or may not try giving Trey a private lesson in sunflare LOL.

(06.30.11 @ 04:39 PM)
Nana says:

So many lovely pictures Lindsey, it makes me happy just to see them. And you are more beautiful every day - love your dress.

(07.07.11 @ 03:35 PM)
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