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Photographic Equipment

Photographic Equipment: The Reflector

Just one white reflector.

Just one white reflector.

When I’m teaching either with my online class with the PPSOP, or with my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, students are always asking me the best way to use fill flash when shooting portraits outdoors. I have a simple and quick response to them.

I tell them that in my forty-two year career, I’ve never, and I mean not once used fill flash outdoors. I don’t even like to use it indoors. I can honestly say that I’ve never missed it because my portraits do just fine without it. So, you’re thinking, what do I do?

Here’s my set-up. How much simpler can you get?

I use a collapsible reflector with white on one side and silver on the other. 90% of the time I use the white side. I’ll occasionally use a larger piece of Foam-board when I have a larger area to cover, as in a full length shot. All I ever need is a stand that won’t fall over, an A-clamp, and a reflector. It’s a hell of a lot easier than figuring out ratios when I’m losing the light. Why complicate my life? There’s enough things I have no control over that does a good job messing with my head. Why cloud it up even more with something that I love and have control over.

It’s unbelievable how many times I see an outdoor portrait lit with a flash. It’s a look that’s been beaten to death, and usually the photographer doesn’t know what he or she is doing which makes it worse. I realize it’s a matter of personal preference, and for me I like a natural look. The kind of look that has never gone out of style and never will.

Take a look at some of my portraits lit with only a white reflector or a larger piece of foam-board:

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2012 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

Don’t forget to send me a question or an image to talk about at: AskJoeB@gmail.com


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