Ok, I’m well aware of the fact that I just dated myself by using that title for this post. For those of you too young to remember that cartoon, simply “Ricochet” will suffice instead! What I’m really talking about here is finding and using direct sun light which has been bounced off a window, or other reflective surface to your advantage. Usually when you encounter this scenario, it will produce a very narrow band of bright light. You can either use that bright spot to light your subjects directly, or you can use it to backlight them. Either way, I think it can produce great results which should really serve to highlight your subjects nicely. The great thing about using this band of light directly is that you can expose for that bright spot (usually their faces) so that everything around your subject gets a little darker.
In this example the sun was reflecting off of two windows. Those two windows were relatively close to this orange wall, so the “bands” of bright light were somewhat defined and it becomes fairly obvious the light is coming from the window reflection.
In this next shot the sun was also reflecting off of a window, or it might have even been several windows. The main difference between this shot and the one above though is that in this photograph the window(s) were much further away, and the reflection was coming from a different angle, so they aren’t clearly defined as “window reflections”. The street and background were dark colored to begin with so they sort of just “melt” away when you expose for that bright spot on her face. You can see how this just naturally brings all the attention onto my subjects.
Now here is an example of using that bright sunlit window reflection as a backlight. I still tried to expose for those bright highlights and let everything else darken up a bit. By the way, I usually find that if you post process these types of window reflection shots a little warmer (yellow) than normal, they look nicer, but that could just be me though!
Here is the last example of using the bright spot to light your subjects directly and exposing for those bright highlighted areas.
So, the next time you’re out and about and you see the sun ricocheting off a window, go find where it’s hitting and place your subjects carefully, expose for the brightness, and Bing Bing Bing, you come back with gold!
Don’t be shy now, chime in with comments or questions. Also, if you think this might be useful for someone else you know, please send them a link to it: http://lafflerphotography.com/blog/?p=4654