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Portraits - shooting into the sun

slravenslraven Member
edited July 2013 in portraits & people
Hi again

This time I have the following image which is straight out of camera.

I like to shoot into the sun with portraits, but on this occasion I got the nasty semi-circular vignetting at the bottom. Only at the bottom. Any idea as to what it is and where I went wrong? How do I avoid it? I have to admit, it was the first time it had ever happened and it happened consistently on the series of shots.

5dMKII 70-200 2.8 L IS II without a hood, with a uv filter
f/5 @ 1/500 @ ISO 500


  • It is caused by the filter attached to the lens. Frankly I don't understand why you'd shoot outdoors without the lens hood then complain of sub-optimal results.
  • jan1215,

    Perhaps he wasn't aware. We all make mistakes from time to time, some of us more then others, ME! LOL He's just looking for help/advice.
  • slravenslraven Member
    edited July 2013
    Jan, thanks for that helpful input!

    In fact I know exactly what it is. Perhaps I didn't explain properly: I often shoot into the sun without a lens hood because that's my preferred artistic style (I was trained by Kate Hopewell-Smith). I like the effect it gives out and largely it works without any problems. I have never encountered this particular issue before so I must have been doing something differently. I was seeking advice as to what that could have been. I was asking if there was anything I could have done - while continuing to shoot into the sun without a hood - to avoid it or if a hood is the only solution.
  • And I'll simply repeat what I said at first..."It is caused by the filter attached to the lens."

    And sure I understand all the arguments about protecting the lens element with a filter (I just don't happen to agree with them). There's nothing wrong with shooting without a lens hood for creative purposes, but most filters - especially cheap UV filters - refract light in unpredictable ways and reduce image contrast. It happens that in this particular example the sun was at an angle that produced the vignetting common when using filters in addition to reducing the image contrast.

    So my point is if you don't want the vignetting to occur remove the UV filter. The best way to protect a lens is with the lens hood but if you want to remove it for creative purposes its pointless relying on a filter for protection.
  • I like shooting into the sun sometimes but only because of the light on the subjects' hair and background. I do not like the low-contrast, diffuse, lens flare 'summery' look. So.....are you saying that I can reduce the low-contrast and flare by removing the filter (I always have on some protective filter)? And are you also saying that the quality/price of the filters affect the level of low-contrast and flare? I do use a hood in this situation and, if I have assistant, I ask her to hold something over the lens parallel to it to block the sun (like putting your hand over your eyes like a visor on a sunny day).
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    If you shoot into the sun, then a lens hood helps nought.

    I would however, remove the filter in that case.

    And yes, the quality of a filter does vary with the price. There are cheap filters which you'd do well to avoid, and then there are high-quality filters which approach the price you'd pay for a 50mm lens!

    Also buy the quality filter, and remove it when your subject is back-lit.

  • Neil - I like the image with filter (first image on that page). But that's just my artistic preference.
  • I expect to be shooting a family backlit. I often get flare. So I'm going to take the protective filter off and have an assistant hold some cardboard over the lens as I've also noticed the petal hood does nothing. But I am looking at a variety of family shots all taken backlit (I think it's the photographer's style) and few to none have flare. Is there something else going on? Is camera angle a factor? In some I see there is shade. I will be shooting in the afternoon but earlier than ideal. I do not believe there will be any shade for miles around... at least until it gets later. Thank you. Here are the pix I've been looking at. I think you need to go to 'galleries' and then 'families.' http://www.hikephotography.com/index2.php
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