How to deal with extremely contrasty indoor lighting

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by carlosmiller, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. One of my regular assignments is photographing a group of business people sitting around a breakfast table having a business discussion. The editor of the magazine prefers that I don't use flash because it would be highly distracting and I agree. So I usually turn the ISO on my Canon 5D up to 1600 or 3200. But in many of the photos, I end up with extreme lighting contrasts on the subjects' faces. What is the best setting on my camera as far as metering and exposure go? I've included an example.
  2. In this case, could you use a collapsible reflector to open up the guy's face a bit? I think the rest of it isn't too bad although I might raise the point of view up a it (it's not very flattering looking up someone's nose ;) )
  3. I would persuade the editor to schedule 10 minutes before the meeting actually starts for photos. This way, you can use flash (bounce against the walls) to lessen the contrast, and get just what you envisioned because you can control things. An additional benefit is the people in the meeting will not have to be distracted with you skulking about in the background. You'll have to be fast and know exactly what you want, though, so as not to waste the people's time.
  4. Thanks for the responses.

    Howard, the reflector is a good idea and I do have one, so I might use it next time. As far as the POV, this is just one of many photos I took during the last meeting, but one I wanted to post to give example of the contrast on his face.

    Nadine, the point of the assignment is to photograph them while they are talking because it's part of this monthly function the magazine hosts called Roundtable where the writer writes an article about what was discussed.
  5. You can also adjust the curves in Lightroom or Photoshop (this example).
  6. actually, if you had Nikon NX2, you could set-up some control points around his face and suit and do 10 second local modifications. Similar but different w/ PS curve adj. layer & mask.
  7. Carlos--I still think the talking can be 'faked' just long enough to get your shots. Otherwise, there isn't much you can do that isn't equally as fake or obtrusive (hanging reflector sheets, etc.) to lessen the harsh lighting. How about cutting the overheads or substituting a continuous light on a stand during the actual meeting?
  8. Such as bounce a couple of continuous lights into opposite corners of the room (not ceiling only) and staying mostly perpendicular to the lights.

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