Avoid Skin Reflections in Your Portraits

portrait-glare1“When I use a flashgun I get unsightly reflections form people’s skin. How can I avoid this?”

Reflections from the skin of subjects can cause a good deal of bother and ruin the image for the photographer and model. Most times it is caused by harsh light falling on the subject and reflecting back to the camera. It can be made worse by certain skin tones and by types of make-up.

It is easy to reduce this reflection:

– use bounced flash – bounce the flash off of the ceiling or use a diffuser card (if your flash is equipped with a swivel head)

– take the flash off camera and hold it to one side or higher

– use a diffuser lens over the flash head (you can make a simple diffuser using a small piece of white cloth or you can buy one)

– tell the subject to move the angle of their head

– for studio lighting, used diffusers or umbrellas compatible with your flash heads

portrait-glare2– position the lighting further back to decrease the power hitting the subject

– use theatre make up or ask the subject to change to less troublesome forms of make up

– move the model to a different location (this can help to reduce stray light reflecting from windows etc

These simple measures should be enough to ensure that stray reflected light is kept to a bare minimum or eliminated completely.

Eric Hartwell runs the photography resource site http://www.theshutter.co.uk and the associated discussion forums as well as the regular weblog at http://thephotographysite.blogspot.com

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