View Full Version : how do you deal with hats?

08-18-2011, 09:03 PM
Disclaimer. I have about 1 years experience in portraiture. I consider myself an advace hobbyist who has learned a lot, but still has a lot to learn.

The problem. Do you find it difficult to create portaits of people in hats? The brim seems to provide a difficult dilenma as it can cast a harsh shadow on the eyes.

Lighting solutions?
No matter how soft i try to make the light it seems to cast a harsh shadow.
If i put the light too low i seem to get vampire results.
Is the only way. . . To use a sofy direct light at eye level? What are some other creative ways?

Will this work?
A string of small diffused leds below the rim of the hat?

08-18-2011, 09:07 PM
Have you tried using fill flash? With a nice diffuser or bounce, you can get just enough fill to take care of the shadow.

I wouldn't get too creative like the led arrangement. It may work but it's impractical in actual use.

08-18-2011, 09:13 PM
"on axis" fill or a reflector under the chin for tight shots, lower for wider but keep in mind the reflector will diminish it's effect the farther away from the brim area.

Put it where it can reflect the most light in relation to the main light.

08-18-2011, 09:13 PM
Bigger soft boxes, bounce with reflector or large foam core directed up from the bottom, and or ring flash. Also maybe choose new poses, slightly lifting the chin and turning them, may move the brim of the hat out of the way enough, and still be flattering.

08-18-2011, 09:19 PM
Fill the shadows from a "natural" angle using any variety of tools. I prefer reflection to aiming a light directly at the shadow. No matter how diffuse that light is, it is still direct, and looks like it. If I need to use a separate lamp to provide the fill, I bounce it off a board or an umbrella.

David A. Goldfarb
08-18-2011, 10:18 PM
Low-angle reflector, diffuse fill, or low-angle fresnel spot for a more Hollywood/theatrical look.

Rick A
08-19-2011, 06:21 AM
If you are posing the subject, have them wear the hat high and tilted slightly up in the front. Don't try to tilt too much or it will look stupid, so be careful and experiment. If it's a candid shot you're stuck and nothing will help.

08-19-2011, 06:35 AM
More than just a single light.

08-19-2011, 07:06 AM
Get your subject to hold a small reflector in their lap if seated or at waist height if standing to cast gentle reflected light upwards. This doesn't work too well with flash - which I don't like terribly for portraiture anyway.

08-19-2011, 07:26 AM
Overexpose and develop with water bath
(But I would start out with some kind of bounce like others have suggested above)

08-19-2011, 09:04 AM
Ask your subject to remove their hat! ;) Works every time.:laugh:

08-19-2011, 09:33 AM
I say slave flash, but that is just me and my GAS is pushing me toward slave flashes.