Shooting portraits outdoors can be a real challenge in the summertime. The available sunshine and longer days allow you to work in the elements but they don’t always cooperate. In this article we will explore a few of the ways that the 7-in-1 MultiDisc Reflector can help solve summertime’s lighting challenges.
During the middle of the day, overhead sunlight can be too bright and create unflattering shadows under the nose and brows. One way to combat this is to shoot in open shade. However, shooting in a shady area can sometimes result in flat looking exposures that lack contrast. Positioning your subject right at the edge of the shade can help with this issue but for even more control, consider adding a reflector to bounce additional light onto your subject’s face.
In the example below, the subject was placed in front of a hedge in an open area of shade. The test image on the left was looking a bit lackluster so a LiteDisc Holder with a 42” 7-in-1 MultiDisc Reflector was added. The SunLite panel was positioned in front at a slight upward angle to bounce some warm light onto the subject’s face. This resulted in a brighter, improved complexion and greater overall contrast. Because of the large size of the reflector, the hedge behind was also illuminated with additional light. If you want to limit the reflection to just your subject, consider trying the 32” or 22” 7-in-1 MultiDisc Reflectors.
For the next shot we chose an area of shade with some sunlight breaking through the trees. In this spot we were getting a nice highlight on one side of the subject’s face but the other side was too much in shadow and we were losing detail. We added a 7-in-1 MultiDisc with the shiny silver panel on the darker side. This 7-in-1 MultiDisc comes with a matte silver panel as well but we are saving that one for later.
With the 7-in-1 added using a LiteDisc Holder, the silver reflector bounced plenty of light onto the subject’s face, acting almost as a key light. The resulting image shows an increase in detail on the shadow side of the face while still preserving the nice highlight on the other side. The wind also picked up, adding a nice effect to the subject’s hair.
For the next shot, we wanted to execute a more traditional looking headshot. We moved into an area of open shade with patches of sunlight behind and opened the lens up to f4 for a nice bokeh effect in the background. The test image was not bad but we were gong for an even exposure on the face to really show the subject’s bone structure.
The matte silver panel of a 42” 7-in-1 MultiDisc was added on one side to fill in the shadows and bounce more light onto the subject’s face. The resulting image shows a more even exposure with a dynamic bokeh background that doesn’t distract from the subject.
As we mentioned before, it can be a great idea to position your subject on the edge of a patch of shade in order for light to spill softly into the frame. However, this can sometimes result in too broad of a light on the subject’s face and can appear flat in a different way. When you are faced with this issue, consider using the black panel of a 7-in-1 MultiDisc to add some dimension to the light.
In the example below an assistant held up a 42” MultiDisc on one side of the subject to absorb some of the light. The resulting image shows soft and flattering shadows on the face and a more dynamic exposure. This look isn’t for everyone but the 9 panels of the 7-in-1 MultiDisc really give you plenty of options to experiment with until you get the look you want.
The biggest challenge during midday is shooting in full sunlight. If it’s not an option to move into the shade, you can diffuse the bright light using the translucent panel of the 7-in-1 MultiDisc, positioned above your subject.
In the example below, the sun was so bright that the subject could not keep her eyes open. The translucent panel of a 42” 7-in-1 MultiDisc was positioned between the subject and the sun, creating a soft, even light. The white panel of a second 32” 7-in-1 MultiDisc was added in front and below the subject’s face to bounce more light into the frame and add a catch light to the eyes. The reflective backdrop was left undiffused to maximize the sparkly effect but if you want a less dramatic look you can use a large Translucent LitePanel to diffuse the light on both your subject and the background/backdrop.
Here is another example of using both diffusion and reflection for a beauty portrait. You can see in the image on the left that the bright sunlight falling onto the assistant was almost directly overhead, creating harsh shadows. The soft light created with the translucent panel allowed the subject to open her eyes all the way and not worry about shadows when posing.
The Photoflex 7-in-1 MultiDisc Reflector was awarded the Digital Photo Editor’s Choice Award in 2014 and remains the most versatile reflector on the market today. With 9 panels in all, there is no limit to the ways that you can bend and manipulate light to get the results you want. Right now all sizes of the 7-in-1 are on sale through September 30th. Call to order yours today while they are still in stock: 831-786-1370 PST.