Digital Camera Home > Snapping Shady Characters

Snapping Shady Characters

By Mike Pasini, Editor
Imaging Resource Newsletter

Spring has sprung (officially) which means the picnics, barbecues, graduations, and family gatherings in the great outdoors are only a flip of the calendar away.

And your digicam with its easy-to-duplicate images is a good excuse for another group shot. So here's a little tip to practice while you're waiting for everyone to gather for the group portrait.

It's only natural to get everyone together facing the sun, so it's behind you, like it says in all the picture-taking guides (to avoid backlight). But don't do it. Not this year.

You've already seen what everyone looks like when they're squinting, or their eyes are masked by sunglasses or hat bills.

This year, pose them all in the shade.

The results will astonish you. Not only will you be able to capture the full range of tonal values on their faces (which you can't do in the harsh, direct sunlight), but your automatic exposure has less to fool it (no bright sky).

And you won't mind nearly so much if it's overcast on the big day.


This article is reprinted from The Imaging Resource Digital Photography Newsletter,
Beginner's Flash Column, published March 24, 2000