Tuesday, July 7, 2009

photography 201 - 2 ways to improve lighting

Right now, the Photo 201 series of lessons is dedicated solely to my need to devour any and all information on lighting before I play wedding photographer (which is less than two weeks away...) Last lesson we discussed how light "sees" your subject, and how angles and light affect your photo's composition. Lately I can't go anywhere without really analyzing the light and how it creates shadows on various objects. This week's lesson is sort of a prelude to the next series of lessons over at Strobist. Some of you out there may be very comfortable shooting in natural light, but you wish you knew how to improve the lighting in certain situations. Here are two ways (the two I've been focusing on in preparation for the wedding...)

Light Reflector

You may have seen these at the camera store before - they look like the shades you put in your car window to protect the interior from sun. Now that you have an adequate visual...a light reflector can be used to capture available light and redirect it toward your subject. Reflectors help to minimize shadows and even out the lighting on your subject. There have been several instance where I wished I could eliminate the shadows on someone's face without resorting to flash - this is where a reflector comes in handy.

Here's a quick tutorial on light reflectors that I found over at youtube:

Anyone can use a light reflector to improve lighting - point and shoot or SLR camera owners alike - but for those of you DSL owners itching for some more camera equipment, read on.

External Flash Unit


The bad boy pictured above is one example of an external flash unit. It is a flash unit you purchase separate from your camera body (as opposed to the flash that is built into the camera body). The external flash unit offers much greater lighting flexibility - you can determine how bright the flash output should be and from what direction the flash should be coming from (when using your flash off-camera - another lesson for another day). You can even get fancy with it and create light sources from directions other than from the top of your camera - you can bounce the flash off a wall, off the ceiling, or you can attach the flash to a tripod and move the flash to the left or right of your camera.

Check in 2 weeks from now for another Strobist inspired lesson on lighting, using my external flash...


Amy July 8, 2009 at 1:06 PM  

This was so helpful. I have just started to get more serious about photography and bought a reflector last week. The video clip is great and I can't wait to try this out on some product shots I'm doing.

Melissa July 9, 2009 at 6:53 AM  

I'm so glad Amy - let me know how it goes with the reflector.