Lighting: Using reflectors outside

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Julie Babcock | March 2nd, 2011



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Lighting for video: Using reflectors outdoors

Lighting outdoors can be tricky at times due to a lack of readily available electrical outlets. The sun works great as a natural light source, but sometimes the sun can create shadows that are too harsh. Putting your subject in the shade can alleviate the dark shadows that the sun creates, but can also lead to an image that is too dark or muddy. A great way to solve any of these outdoor lighting issues is by using reflectors.

Reflectors can be used as a key, a fill or a back light. One way to use a reflector outdoors is to place your subject in front of the sun. Using a the sun as a back light will create a nice rim of light on your subject’s head and shoulders. Then, to avoid a silhouetted appearance, use a reflector to catch the sun’s light and bounce it back onto the front of your subject. The reflected light will help combat any shadows caused by the sun. This setup can also be used with two reflectors. Use one of the reflectors as a key light, and a less reflective one (i.e., a white board instead of a silver reflector) for the fill.

Another way to use a reflector outdoors is by placing your subject in the shade. The shade will act as a natural diffuser, eliminating the harshness of the sun’s light. You can then use reflectors to bounce additional light onto your subject. This will help fill in shadows and separate your subject from the background.

The possibilities are practically endless when using reflectors outdoors. Well-placed reflectors can help you create a nicely lit scene while separating your subject from the background and adding depth to the overall shot.

Check out Light Source: Using Reflectors Like a Pro for more ideas on how to use your reflectors outdoors, as well as picking the best reflector for the job.

Interested in more tips on video lighting? Sign up for Videomaker’s free Video Lighting Course. This free tip series is designed to help you improve your video production skills, fast


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