Friday, December 31, 2010

If I had to choose 1

If you asked me 10 years ago what single piece of gear I wanted if money was no option, I would have said a monster professional camera. Back then, as a novice, I though by simply getting a "better" camera I would take better pictures.

For many budding photographers this feeling lasts for years. That is until you take that "killer" photo and realize it isn't the camera, it's the skill. Of course good quality equipment is important, but it isn't everything. In fact, if you paid me money to take a high quality family portrait and told me that besides my camera and lenses, I could only take ONE piece of gear....I'd take your cash! It wouldn't take me more than a second to chose one of my reflectors. If you don't know what a reflector is, please google it and come back to this post. They come in all shapes and colors and are great to use indoor and out! This article shows how I used it outdoors with nothing else. No strobes. BUT you can also use it inside WITH strobes as shown below. Below is the setup shot for the portrait above. Shoftbox on right, gelled purple flash clamped to the bookshelf (look for it) and a white reflector on left.
Below shows how the reflector makes this shot MUCH better. It FILLS in with light instead of ADDING light. A major difference. I could have added another light on the left side to fill in shadows but you have to work harder to adjust the lighting to balance it correctly without the subject looking too "hot". Below is a test shot for the lighting. The first does NOT have the refelctor and the second DOES. Notice how the shadow on her arm is gone and the shadow on the side of her face is significantly reduced? (click the pictures to see them larger)

Don't have a strobe? You could replace the softbox with a bright window and set it up the same way. Reflectors can be found for less than $100 and I own several because I love their effect. Below is one last shot (without a setup shot unfortunately) but a gold reflector is used under their faces. You can go uber cheap and use a piece of white foam board from the craft store. I've done that too!

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