Monday, October 10, 2011
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THIS WEEK'S TIP
Photographing Children Around the WorldBy Jim Zuckerman
One of the delights in traveling internationally is interacting with children of many cultures. They are almost universally both shy and curious.
There are only two types of natural light that should be used for shooting children, or for that matter any person, when outdoors: diffused and low angled sunlight.
Diffused light occurs when a cloud cover disperses sunlight similar to what a softbox does to a flash head in the studio. It is soft and shadowless, and your subject can be placed anywhere where the background is complementary to the composition.
However, if the sun is high in the sky, harsh shadows and contrasty light will invariably degrade the image. Under these circumstances, ask the child (if necessary, through an interpreter or with hand gestures) if he or she will move into the shade of a tree or building. This takes care of the problem.
If you have a diffusion panel, it can be held above the child to soften the sunlight, enabling you to shoot in the open. The only problem is that large, unfamiliar objects might frighten small children and dissuade them from posing naturally.
The second type of natural light that can be used effectively is low-angled sunlight. Early morning and late afternoon light, when the sun is close to the horizon, provides flattering, golden illumination that can be effective for either front, back or side lighting.