Join Megan Andersen for an in-depth discussion in this video Tools for diffusing and reflecting light, part of The Art of Craft Photography.
When you're shooting your crafts outside, you're going to encounter all different kinds of lighting scenarios. And knowing whether you need to add some light to your craft or diffuse the light that's above it, is going to be a huge benefit to you. But there's also all kinds of options as far as what materials you use to add or subtract lighting. And we're going to talk about a couple of those right now. They don't necessarily need to be really expensive professional tools. You probably have a lot of these already just around your house. For instance, this is a trash bag that I use for my kitchen but it's also great for diffusing light. Check it out.
Right now you can see that the direct light is just kinda coming down dappled through the tree. But when I add this plastic bag, it's nice and soft, it looks great. So, I'm just going to take a quick picture of that and see if it makes a big difference on my camera and I'm suspecting it will. (audio playing) Oh yeah, that's much better. So, that's one option. Another option is using a tea towel that you might have in your kitchen, or some bed linens, some muslin, just very thin gauze.
You can use organic fibers, you can use polyester-based fibers, anything that's got a clea-, like a thin white cottony feeling and you can kind of see through it when you hold it up to the light, is going to work really well. Just to avoid patterns and if it's got a really deep wrinkle in it, that could possible cast a shadow, and you don't want that. So, keep an eye on the materials you're using. If we want to diffuse light, this is an interesting way to go about it because it's actually reflecting shadow, and sometimes you're going to need that.
So. by having a big piece of black paper handy, you can really do an interesting job just working the light and kind of cutting things down. It's pretty handy when you're working on reflective crafts. So, right now you might not be seeing a huge difference but it's a handy tool to have. And this is just black heavy-stock craft paper from any art store. So, another good tool for the toolbox. Speaking of working from below, adding light, this is not diffusing. This adding light because our craft is just not, this bottom of this tree right here, it's in some shade.
It could use a little help. So, this is a piece of foam core, and you've probably already seen this in the art store. It's got this thick layer, of almost a styrofoam, it's kind of squishy. And then it's got these two pieces of laminated cardboard on the outside, or just heavy paper, rather. And these are great to keep around because on windy days they're very stable, they're very sturdy. But they're super light, so you can hold it with one hand and it's not a problem at all. So, you can direct the light just like that. Very nice. And another (audio playing) homegrown trick is found in your kitchen. And this is just using aluminum foil and wrapping it around a piece of cardboard. Also super light, super easy, and I'm sure you already have this. So, let's take a picture with the owl lit up with some extra aluminium foil. There we go.
Nice. That really adds a little punch. And it's not expensive and it's just a really great thing to have around. So, another option, if you don't want to mess around with crafting all these different options for reflecting and diffusing light, you can buy one of these nifty 5-in-1 reflector diffusers. Pop them out like this, and right over here, there's a zipper with more options in it. But this is, you've got some cool great options here. You've got the silver reflector, you can see how that adds some great light.
If you don't want to use silver you can get kind of a nice warm reflection by using the gold option. That makes things look nice and warm, honey colored. You can unzip that a little more, show you better. (audio playing) And then, you've also got this great diffuser inside, so there's all kinds of things that you can use, if you don't want to look around your house for some hand crafted options. And speaking of handcrafted options, while we were just sitting here chatting, I thought of even more.
So, you could use frosted glass if you wanted to diffuse. You can use pocket mirrors if you want to add light. There's so many different ways that you can add and subtract lighting from your outdoor situations. It's just a matter of thinking about what materials you have to work with and then think about your lighting situation. And if you can get resourceful with what you've got, your going to get some great results from your photography outside, whether its bright light or shade.
- Getting familiar with the camera
- Basic composition and staging tips
- Making and buying helpful tools
- Image editing with Photoshop
- Compressing images
- Using the cloud for image storage
- Tagging images for search engine optimization
- Uploading images for blogging, selling, and printing