Overpowering The Sun

On a recent model shoot, I was faced with two problems: strong winds and midday sun. To fix the first problem, we moved further down a hill to get some shelter from the wind. To fix the second problem, I attempted to do something I hadn't done before: overpower the midday sun. To make a long story short, I had to essentially generate enough light from my speedlights to match the exposure of the sun. This was done with two SB900's fired bare high camera left. Why bare? I'd lose light if I shot it through a softbox or umbrella, and I wanted the harsh light from the flashes to match the flare of the sun.

Angela did a terrific job posing and putting up with the blinding flashes. Her friend, Warren, helped me tremendously on the shoot by holding the lightstand with the speedlights in the wind. A big mahalo to the both of you!

Image info: Nikon D300, 17-50mm @ f22, ISO 200, 1/250 sec.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Best shot yet! You know I'm a fan of the sun flare, but you perfected it here!

  2. Thank you Jared! This lighting scenario was totally experimental, but I'll definitely be using it more in the future :)

  3. this is soooooo awesome :)
    you'll teach me this right?!

  4. hehe we'll see...gotta get through natural lighting first, but after that, off camera flash can definitely be a possibility!

  5. Hey Reese. I love the picture. I have a suggestion. If you have a spot meter you can always spot meter for her face and see how that turns out. It would meter her face to neutral gray, but i'm not sure how that would effect the background. I think it would blow out the background. Anyways... You might not get the same effect you did here. Just an idea! Great shot.

  6. sweet! I never would have thought of that. then again, i never use flash. wtg reese. Did you HDR them clouds, or do something else to make em all black?

  7. This is an AMAZING shot, Reese!! Teach me! Teach me! Haha, one of my first thoughts was that it was somewhat HDR, but I guess not. Looks great though!

  8. @Mark: If I wanted a perfect exposure of just Angela's face (ignoring everything else), then I'd spot meter. And like you said, this approach would blow out the background...a very different look indeed.

    @Alana: clouds are not HDR. There was a ton of detail in the sky that I was able to pull back in RAW. Clouds were already dark b/c it was raining throughout the day.

    @Ashley: thank you! haha yea, it does look HDRish, but it's just one exposure :D



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