The Beauty Of Natural Light and Reflectors.

Why I Love Natural Light and Reflectors.

“Hey Johnny Mom would like you to call/connect with her about doing photos of her as well.”
Which Mom?
“MY Mom. You met her when you were here at Christmas”.
And thus it began.

Steffany is a very good friend of mine, whom I’ve done some delightfully casual head-shots of every now and then.
Nothing too fancy, mind you but with Steff, it never has to be.
She’s delicious, right out of the box, and one of those ‘seldom seen’ people who’s completely comfortable in front of a camera.

I called Lu, Steff’s Mom, to get a feel for what she had in mind and it was essentially inspired by the few shots she’d seen of her insanely photogenic daughter.
SteffII B-2048

Lu mentioned she had a real affinity for outdoor photography, which worked beautifully for me.

Here in Calgary we have 2 parks where we have real,tall, old growth trees…well, old for a city that’s only been around for 150 years.
The nicest thing about those is that they are very capable of blocking out annoying bright sky backgrounds, and if you use a long lens,wide open, they turn into a gorgeous ‘colour wash’.
Time of day has everything to do with this…. late day sun brings a warm, golden light into play.

The technique is always the same.
1.) Back to the Sun. You’ll get a wonderful rim-light on head and shoulders
2.) Reflector Fill. I personally use a Silver/White 32” Photoflex that’s seen way more of it’s share of use than I care to mention.

This is an interesting fact.
You can NEVER over expose a subject with a reflector because it’s never as bright as the ‘main-light’ which, of course, is the Sun.
N-o-t-h-i-n-g looks as good as Sunshine, at the right time of day.
It’s the most beautiful, natural light ever seen.
Bouncing it back, properly, can give you a ‘look’ that no amount of ‘fill-flash’ can ever do justice to.

Using reflectors, properly is somewhat counter-intuitive.
You don’t point them directly at your ‘victim’.
Rather you, bounce the light ‘in to’ their direction…sort of like a game of Photon-Billiards.
You need to bounce the light in, ‘off the cushions’.
Simply by using a two-legged light stand, in this case the ever accommodating Steffany…by moving around, until you see what you like, the results can change tremendously.

Natural Light Portrait with Reflector Fill

Natural Light Portrait with Reflector Fill

So, here you have a very pleasing Two Light Portrait; the Sun being the main-light, the reflector the fill and nothing,whatsoever, got plugged in.

I’m more than comfortable with using fill-flash in outdoor situations but I’ve never seen more pleasant renderings for Portrait work than the good old reflector.

Reflectors are the BOMB!

Technical: Canon 5D MarkIII, Canon70-200/2.8LII 25th sec/4.5 ISO 160 Gitzo Tripod

John Sharpe C.P.C./Sharpeshots



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