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I may be stupid but please help Natural light


David Elliott
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Okay I have basic skills with a light meter,
I can operate a film cameras and Dslrs and so on.

 

My questions is this.

 

Say Im sat in a park doing a shot of two people sat on a bench, The weather is sunny with clouds and in the golden hour so not directly above, They are sat in partial shade and I will be using a reflector to bounce some soft fill.
Do I take an incident reading from my actors faces and use that reading for my F stop
Would this effect the exposure of the sky.

 

As much as I have searched I have not found a decent tutorial anywhere that doesn't include Lighting, Seeing as I have access to reflectors only these don't really answer my questions.

 

I ask mainly as I don't want to waste a ton of film before I get half a grip of what light Im putting in the camera.

 

Sorry if there is a thread on this already. Im probably over confusing my brain.

 

many thanks in advance

 

 

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No the idea is to dolly into the two having a conversation, eye level shot

 

This will mean the sky will be in frame as there is no trees directly behind. From there I can use OTS shots

 

Its just very hard when I scout for a location and have to think very hard about light, Which is great because I love the challenge

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You'll be exposing for their faces, with the assumption that it's an 18% grey card, how light meters work. If you want detail in the sky, and them to be at a proper exposure, do a spot reading of the highlight, or the brightest thing you want details of, and where their faces are at, and see what the range is. You may need to balance everything out and hit the couple with more light.

 

Another option would be to underexpose them a bit, but not so much that you lose the shadows, but preserve the highlights (maybe get a monitor or hack for the camera, if DSLR, that you can see a zebra pattern on), and then bring up the shadows in color correction. You potentially bring in other problems there (noise, etc), but it's a way to work with what you have.

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It's a choice really, if you have the sun behind them so that they have a nice backlight on them, then you either expose for their faces with a direct incident reading (at the expense of having the sky possibly blow out), or you meter for the direct light and have their faces a little underexposed (which is how they are in reality), or thirdly - you meter both and split the difference.

 

It's just a choice of how bright you want the different parts of the image to be.

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Usually when someone is framed against a brighter sky, you underexpose the faces a little bit to hold a bit more detail in the sky, sort of splitting the difference, but by how much depends on the mood and look you want, sometimes a near silhouette is nice, sometimes it's not the right mood. But as a starting point, I'd probably do an incident meter reading of the faces and then underexpose by one stop from that reading, unless the faces have really dark skin tones.

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Great advise, I guess I want a more cinematic look, Unfortunately I cant afford HMI lights let alone the power source to run them,

But listening to the advise gives me confidence, I think I will go for a more natural look and try and use the sun as a backlight as Mark suggested. It should set the tone of the scene better.

 

Many thanks for all your help,

 

I keep over thinking the technical and loose sight of what I'm trying to achieve visually

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Usually when someone is framed against a brighter sky, you underexpose the faces a little bit to hold a bit more detail in the sky, sort of splitting the difference, but by how much depends on the mood and look you want, sometimes a near silhouette is nice, sometimes it's not the right mood. But as a starting point, I'd probably do an incident meter reading of the faces and then underexpose by one stop from that reading, unless the faces have really dark skin tones.

 

Thanks also makes great sense

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  • 1 month later...

Not sure if I'm late on this thread but anyway,natural lighting still needs molding. The reflectors are magical, use them. Depending on your mood, decide between hard or soft reflection. This will help you expose for both sky and subjects. You can also experiment with distances on the reflectors to bring up and down the stops on the subjects. You can use the reflectors as key and fill too. the world is yours my friend.

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