When I give a seminar on making outdoor portraits, I suggest using a reflector/diffuser kit – the single most important accessory for the outdoor portrait photographer.
Sure, a speedlite is a valuable accessory, and I have one with me at all times. But if you are on a budget or want to travel very light – and can take ONLY ONE accessory – the reflector/diffuser kit is the way to go.
What? You thought a leaf blower was the most important accessory? Well . . . it can create a beautiful "wind in the hair" effect. :-)
Reflectors and diffusers enable us to control the light – turning bad/hard light into good light. I used a large reflector, like the one pictured above, to illuminate the model in the opening image for this post. The reflector filled in the shadows on the models face created by the harsh sunlight. It also added some nice catch-light to the model's eyes.
Quick Tip: When using a reflector, the subject often becomes brighter than the background – so you need to meter the scene carefully.
Above is another example of how a reflector enhanced a portrait. Below is a behind-the-scenes shot of me using my Westcott Lighting Kit and Tote.
Quick Tip: When using a reflector, tell the subject NOT to look at it: the reflected light can be blinding.
Diffusers soften harsh light.
Above is an example of how a diffuser turns harsh light into pleasing light.
Above is a behind-the-scenes shot of me using the diffusion panel in my Tote Kit.
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