Why faces of people become dark shooting in sun light with digital camera
July 20, 2011 1:00pm CST
i noticed, that when i shot photos with digital camera(auto mode) faces of people become darker while rest of picture was ok. how i over come this. pls help
• Cambridge, England
20 Jul 11
The camera is exposing for the whole scene (which is bright) and so under-exposes faces which are in shadow. You may be able to set the exposure mode to spot or central sensing (so that it adjusts the exposure for whatever is in the centre of the frame); it will over-expose the background, of course, if you do this. Another alternative is to use fill-in flash. Set the flash mode to be 'Forced on' and it will flash every time you take a photo, regardless of the light level. If your faces (in shadow) are reasonably close (say around 6 to 8 feet away - 2 to 3 metres), the flash will light the faces and the background should not be over-exposed. There are other ways of dealing with the kind of deep shadows which you get in very sunny weather. You can arrange your subjects near a white, sunlit wall so that some of the light reflects off the wall into the deep shadows or you can improvise with a piece of white card or aluminium foil to reflect light into the shadows (but, of course, keep the card out of the shot!) The most successful shots of faces in natural light are generally taken in 'hazy sun' - that is, when the sky is hazy but the sun is casting weak shadows.
• Cambridge, England
21 Jul 11
It all depends, really, on what is the main interest in the photo. If it is scenery or a view with people included, you may have to accept that people's faces will be dark. You have little control over the lighting, unless you can choose the time of day, so you just have to make the best of what you have. Try, in any case, to have the sun coming over your left or right shoulder. That will always give you the best general modelling (contrast between light and shade) for any scene. Try to avoid having the sun shining on the lens or directly ahead (unless it is a fantastic sunset, of course!). If the people themselves are the main interest (as in a group shot of a number of people) then you should have more control over where you place the people so that their faces are well lit. Imagine that you are standing on a large clock face with your subject at the centre. If you can arrange the group to be in full sun, with the group facing towards 12 o'clock (you), then the sun should be at either 2 o'clock or 10 o'clock (approximately), in other words, not full on the faces and shining over your left or right shoulder.
• United States
20 Jul 11
When taking photos of groups I always use both fill flash and auto mode on the camera. You could also use reflectors to even out the light by reflecting it back on the people. If you try taking the photo with the people facing the sun you get a very poor photo with people squinting. Some times you can change the camera angle and get a good photo too. Try some different things when the photo does not count or when you are taking several different shots of the same group.