My Newbie Mistakes… Shooting Mid Day (oh and Gaussian Blur)

The problem? Gaussian Blur… YUK. Gaussian blur can be used to create some cool effects (fake tilt shift) and even used in part for skin softening. Here I used it to try and soften the whole image.. WHY? Well I was shooting in mid day sun (problem number one) without any kind of extra light or shade (problem number 2) The gaussian blur creates a glow around the edges of the girl, so she bleeds in to the back ground. The Grass looks un real, and for some unknown reason I had upped the saturation. Her eyes have a very unnatural catch light from my flash (I was trying to correct the harsh shadows using my built in flash for fill-it failed) I think the image was shot at a narrow aperture so much of the girl and background was in focus, and in my inexperience I thought that adding blur would beautify the image… you can judge for your self if the image is beautified or terrorized by my editing.

Ask a photographer their least favorite time of day to photograph portraits and most will reply,  mid day- when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. Sometimes when we as “photographers” are starting out and learning we dont realize the implications of shooting in extremely sunny conditions. If you have to shoot in mid day sun, use flash to fill in shadows, a reflector under the chin to prevent panda eyes and use shade.

You can clearly see this is a terrible edit, but you can also see the harsh shadows caused by the mid day sun in this picture.

 Sometimes even if you can position the subject in a way that reduces the shadows you get bright spots instead. (and squinty eyes) Taken at 1130am

Just changing where you shoot can make a huge difference, this shot was taken 20 minutes later under a tree, I did miss a couple of spots that came though the tree branches, but the picture looks much better.
This is a very old self portrait (2008) of me trying to practice with a reflector towards the end of the day, you can see how a reflector helps, while its not perfect, it is much better, the light is less harsh. The aim of the reflector was to get enough sun on the shadow side of my face to match the side with the sun.

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