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Side shadow on portraits

slravenphotoslravenphoto Member
edited April 2013 in wedding photography
Finally from me today...

Image out of camera except for increased exposure.


My simple question: any idea why I still get the ugly side-shadow despite having bounced the flash behind me and flagged it???


  • my first thought would be your subject is just too close to the wall. Move him away (if possible) and the shadow should be there.
  • "shouldn't be there" ... I meant to say.
  • That's what I initially thought, but - Neil correct me if I am wrong - I understand from the Tangents blog that this shouldn't matter if bouncing properly...?
  • If you are too close to the area you are bouncing, the light becomes smaller and more direct. There is a good example in Neils first book explaining it it detail.
  • That sounds about right. Certainly I was very close to the bounce wall. Back to the flash bracket...
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    What you're seeing there looks like available light coming in from the side.
    Your settings are: 1/125 @ f/2.8 @ 1000 ISO

    Or was this taken in a much darker place?

    Do you have a comparison photo without flash?
    And can you describe where you were?

    You're talking about the "ugly sideways shadow". What you see in your photo is not that. What you see in your photo is a shadow.

    Light & shade is what gives our subjects shape.
    Removing shadows is not necessarily the best thing to do .. it depends on the subject.

    If you were in a darker place when you took this shot (ie, ambient light levels where low), then you would see that kind of shadow if you bounced your flash off a surface closer to you. i.e. ... you still have a relatively small light source.
  • Neil - it was fairly dark: a smallish dining room late afternoon with a few small windows and some tungsten lighting. I've no non-flash comparison; but I've learnt to take one in order to expose ambient first! I'm thinking that you final suggestion is the correct one as I was standing right next to a wall - no choice! As I say, time get give the bracket an airing.
  • MikeZMikeZ Member
    I'd rather have a soft contrast shadow on the wall then specular highlights on his face. But that is just my 2 cents. I think you have a very acceptable outcome there.
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