Balance the Light – Outdoor Portrait Photography

When shooting portraits outdoors, it’s important to balance the light. This means not blowing out the sky to expose for your subjects face. Below I will show a few portraits I captured: a series of images that demonstrate what it means to balance the light. The first portrait has a blown out sky because I exposed to my subjects skin. The second portraits I exposed to the sky, but my subject is dark. I balanced the light by using a reflector to light my subjects face. This made it so the sky was exposed correctly and my subject was still visible and exposed nicely.

It’s typical to see photographers expose to their subjects face and have the sky blown out because they don’t want to take the time to balance the light. In today’s culture people really like candid photography which is hard to capture if you’re trying to get things balanced and exposed correctly. It’s important to slow down every once in a while and take your time balancing the light to get a well exposed, rich image.

The Strobist has an article about how the way you balance the light can completely change the feel of the image. Depending on what you want will change the way you balance the light and expose your subject.