I have been into photography for about a year now. I am very grateful I can use a studio of the local photographer here. Together we have build a cyclorama wall and the photo shoots are going pretty well lately. However, I noticed something strange happening with my photographs.

I have two amateur studio flash heads, 200W each, and they both have a 60cm x 90cm soft-box. I am using these to light the background. They are positioned at both sides of the model and point towards the back of the cyclorama wall. I am also using a Canon 600EX-RT also in a soft-box as a key-light positioned in a Rembrandt setting.

Now, everything works quite fine and the photos turn out to be great, but I notice the pictures are fuzzy. Can anyone guess just from my story what could be the problem? Unfortunately I cannot share any pictures, because I am shooting pictures of children and their parents.

EDIT: I have been searching through photo's that have this particular issue and decided to use one to show you, what I mean by it. enter image description here

I have learned yesterday that this might be caused by light spill or something, as you can see there is some haze on her contours. It is best noticeable towards the camera right side. can anyone explain me more about this issue? By the way she was wearing a beautiful deep red dress, because of this light spill the nice color has faded away in all the photos


2 Answers 2


You have flare. That's the light wrapping around the edges of her body, particularly pronounced in her left (camera right) armpit and hand.

The background is spilling too much light onto her. Light the background completely separately from your subject. You want to get your subject farther from the background and light it with a more directional light and/or flag the background light - block it from shining on the subject - with a large opaque object (foamcore is common in studios I've been in).

Your focus and tones look fine, at least in the shot you posted.


Edit now that an example photo has been added to the question:

Please see the section below headed with Are you sure the photo is blurry at all? Please pay particular attention to the first linked question here at Photography StackExchange, Blown out blue/red light making photos look out of focus .

The image is overexposed. This is the cause both of your loss of detail and loss of color. If red can only go to "255" and you continue to expose hotter than that then green and blue are catching up fast, making the overall color of the dress closer to white. When even one color channel is fully saturated you start losing details. When all three color channels are fully saturated you lose all detail. That's the basic concept behind blowing out the white background. But you have to be careful not to blow out your subject as well. The light on your subject must be of lower intensity that the light on your background. The light on your background should be just barely enough to blow it out and not any more than that unless you can create enough separation to prevent that light from spilling and reflecting back onto your subject.

Are you sure the photo is blurry at all?

Sometimes other issues, such as improper exposure or poor white balance settings can make a properly focused image look blurry. Fixing the exposure or WB can often show the image was more in focus than it first appears. In challenging light be sure to save the raw data, it can allow you to draw out more detail than an in-camera produced jpeg will begin to show.

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