Today we are going to talk about what very many Photographers consider the biggest problem with reflectors. Subjects having a hard time with the bright light. I will teach you a very simple and easy trick today. Then I will talk a bit about advice in general to help clients handle bright light better. Let’s start with Image 1.
Image 1. This is a typical set up for a bright sun shot. We have the sun hit her from behind to get a nice white veil etc. The problem here is the light from our silver reflector is very bright and it is hard for her to keep her eyes open. So here is the solution. We asked the bride to close her eyes and relax while we set the light. We usually try to make the reflected light match the backlight. When we feel good about the light, we turn it off, and have her open her eyes and we talk with her about how we want her to close they eyes again, and tell her we will count to 1-2-3. We want her to open the eyes on 3, and I will take 3-4 fast exposures, almost always at least one of them have big eyes. When people open their eyes they usually fully open before they close them to defend themselves against the bright light hitting them. I do this a couple of times to be sure I have what I need.
Image 2. Here we have a nice shot of Mimi with her beautiful eyes, after using the 1-2-3 technique. I have always hated to do anything 1-2-3 in Photography, but I have to admit it sure works in this case.
We have to remember, especially if clients come from being inside and out to the bright sun, it takes their eyes a while to adjust to the brightness. If it’s a bridal shoot, like in this case, I will maybe use the first 10 minutes when we get out to talk about the shoot, how she is doing etc. giving her time to get used to the bright light. People that always seem to wear sunglasses seem to have the hardest time with bright light.
Once I was doing an engagement shoot and the groom could not even keep his eyes open in the shade. He was SO light sensitive. This was 4 months before their Wedding Day. I asked if he used sunglasses a lot. He sad ALWAYS! So I told him in a kind way, that if he wanted great pictures on the big day, I suggest he not wear sunglasses again before the wedding. The wedding day came, it was a very bright sunny July day, 103ºF and Utah has such a bright sunlight. We started taking pictures and he had no problem with his eyes on any location or under any condition. I complemented him and he told me had not used sunglasses since the engagement shoot 4 months earlier. Woooow! Great commitment to pictures, and he sure looked great and so did his bride.