Nothing like a midday August wedding to strike fear into the heart of this digital photographer. Harsh sun, sparse shade, black suits, white gowns, black skin, white skin — often all in the same shot. This is a situation where you have to shoot Raw and thank goodness for the Highlight and Shadow recovery sliders in Aperture.
I have lots of tricks for dealing with bad lighting (find shade whenever possible, fill flash, reflectors, etc.), but as you know, sometimes clients say, “We don’t have time to walk over there; let’s just take the shot here.” Horror. “Not here!” I think. “This is the last place on the planet I want to take this shot.”
After using my best persuasive skills — which apparently aren’t that good — I end up politely acquiescing and line up what is sure to be a disastrous shot. All I had for my survival was a Canon 5D and fill flash.
Back in the studio with the images uploaded to Aperture, I noticed that I had managed to work around the bad light on most of my shots… this one of the groomsmen being a notable exception. Thank goodness I had the Highlight and Shadow recovery sliders in my bag of tricks. With less than a minute’s work, I was able to bring back the blown-out skin tones in the white men, and salvage some detail in the tuxedos.
Moral of the story: don’t shoot midday weddings. If you must, shoot Raw and know that you have an Aperture safety net waiting for you once you escape.