Have you ever had trouble shooting in full sun? It’s often hard to know if you should be exposing for your subject’s face or for the stunning and bright background behind them.

Luckily, world-renowned commercial portrait photographer Joel Grimes is here to teach us exactly how to capture both your subject and your background in the right light.

Bright Background - Behind the Scenes

When shooting in environments like this, it’s best to first control the light that is falling on your subject. Soften harsh light by placing a large diffusion panel overhead. This will create a more appealing light source and cut down on the brightness of the light hitting your subject. Here, Joel is using a 8x8 Scrim Jim Cine with a 3/4-stop diffusion fabric.

After controlling the light source hitting your subject, you can then expose your image for your subject to see how your background appears.

Bright Background - Portrait without Net

Without Net

If your background still appears to bright, you can then bring in a net. Seamless Scrim Jim Cine nets are available in high-quality single and double versions in sizes ranging from 2′ x 2′ to 8′ x 8′. These fabrics are essentials tools for cutting a busy or bright background by 1 or 2 stops. Here, Joel is using an 8x8 double net.

Bright Background with Net - Behind the Scenes

Joel is then able to expose his image for his subject AND capture his stunning backdrop without either appearing washed out or over exposed.


With Net Portrait by Joel Grimes

With Net Added

Lighting Gear in Use

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