CLASSROOM: How to Shoot Portraits in Dappled Light

6 January 2019


CLASSROOM: How to Shoot Portraits in Dappled Light

I’ve been photographing weddings for 10 years now, so I’ve seen and dealt with nearly every lighting scenario possible, from a dark church with no windows, to a wedding ceremony at high noon with not a cloud in sight. But one thing most photographers don’t know is how to photograph in dappled light!

As a professional, you don’t have can’t excuse yourself for bad photos because you were given bad lighting situations. There is ALWAYS a way to make it work. Some scenarios might be more complicated than others, but I will always believe that where there’s a will, there’s a way.

And it’s important for your clients to know that they’re in capable hands when you’re documenting their day. There are no re-shoots for wedding days.

So, dappled light. This is probably one of the worst types of light that a photographer can come across. And yes, in general, I would say that you should avoid it at all costs in most situations. (Note, I would absolutely avoid this kind of lighting with big groups.) However, if you’re working with a couple, it is workable.

First things first: your camera settings and equipment. This kind of lighting can leave “hot spots” on the couple, which may or may not work for you. If you can find a way to make it artistic, absolutely go for it. If not, here’s what I recommend.

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Image credit: Angie Candell

Contemplative empath who sees wonder in the curious world. Has a habit of hiding behind books and occasionally dabbles in games, Netflix and YouTube. Is permanently attached to bubble tea.