Whenever you create large, flattering, directional light, you are creating light that imitates types of light you see in everyday life. How do you make directional light when you do not have it? In this video, author Levi Sim demonstrates how to create directional light with one light and a reflector.
- Every time we make big, flattering, directional light, we're basically imitating the light we see in our natural lives. We see light coming in from a window, from the side, and that gives us direction and softness. We also find this kind of a light under a porch where we're shaded from overhead so that we still get directional light coming in from the sides. But if I'm standing in a big, open field like this, I don't have that directional light. It's everywhere, and ideally I'd be shooting at sunset so that the light is low, or sunrise earlier in the morning so the light is low, but frequently I'm stuck just making pictures at noon with the light beaming straight down from overhead.
In cases like this, I can use my reflector as a improvised porch. I can just hold it right overhead and create the shade so that I don't have light beaming straight down on my subject, and giving me, kind of like, the raccoon eye shadows under the eyebrows. And then I can add light from the sides if I need to. Or, if I face towards an open part of the sky, I'll get the brighter light shining on my subject, and I can still get directional light with a shadow on one side. Maybe I'll add a flash here, maybe I'll use another reflector to shine light back in.
But using this reflector overhead gives me an improvised porch that I can use to redirect the main light. Also, when you're outdoors and you're making pictures, try to have your subject facing a bright part of the sky, even if you're shading overhead, because you'll end up with better catchlights in the eyes. If you face towards a big bank of trees, that's not reflecting much light back into your subject's eyes, and you'll end up with very dark eyes, and you won't have that highlight and sparkle that really helps the eyes stand out.
Whereas if you turn towards an open area in the sky, or just a dip in the trees, if that's the situation, then that little bit of sky will shine into your subject's eyes, and give them more liveliness, and more vitreous quality to their eyes, and it really helps make the portrait appear more flattering. So, whether you're adding light or using a reflector, using this overhead porch will really help you make great portrait light in any situation.
This course was created by RHED Pixel. We're honored to host this training in our library.
- Leveraging different types of light
- Finding the right light for the right mood or effect
- Taking portraits for business and family clients
- Making the camera and light work together
- Helping people look their best