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Contrasty light may cause you to go eek!


Fox Home Entertainment

You've encountered contrasty light.

There are shadows.

The shadows are good for:

• Showing shape and texture.

• The visual appeal of light and dark.

• Adding drama, mystery, and so forth.

But, what if the shadows are detrimental to your photograph?

You can use fill flash.

The optimum solution is to use a scrim.

What's a Scrim?

A scrim is simply white fabric stretched across a frame.

A scrim converts sunlight into the light found on overcast days or in the shade.

And, a scrim may also allow a little of the sparkle of the sun to be present as well.

If you've used a shoot-through umbrella, you've created a similar effect.

The umbrella is placed between the studio light and the subject.


Place the scrim between the sun and the subject.

If you're indoors, you can adjust for sparkle.

Place the light closer to the scrim for more pronounced specular highlights

Are Scrims a Hassle?

Yes, scrims are a hassle.

The light is so pretty you may want to cope with the two hassles.

Hassle #1 - $$$

They're not cheap.




Wescott's Scrim Jim

The Scrim Jim System; Light Control Via Diffusion And Reflective Panels Stan Sholik

However, if the appearance of the scrim isn't important, you can make one.

Home Made

For example, stretch white rip-stop nylon on a hula hoop.

In the tutorial below, the writer uses a shower curtain and plastic plumbing pipe.

Do-It-Yourself Scrim for Better Outdoor Portraits

The following tutorial is for making scrim panels for use indoors.

You may be able to adapt the idea for outdoor use.

Homemade Diffusion Panel Instructions


If color is critical, test the fabric to see how it changes the color of the light.

How Many Stops?

If you purchase translucent fabrics specifically made for scrims, you can choose the stop of he fabric.

A 1/4-stop fabric diffuses the light less than does one-stop fabric.

Hassle #2 - Upright

You'll need an assistant to hold a small scrim.

Or, a stand with sand bags to keep it from blowing over.


James Broome

James Broome uses a scrim when photographing members of sports teams.

Citrus Park Geckos Lacrosse Team Pictures

Stephen Dantzig

Stephen Dantzig photographs a model with as scrim and various reflectors.

Scrims and Strobes on Location

Matt Wright

Matt Wright uses scrims for photographing food.

Scroll down to SCRIMS.

Food Photography