Photography Tip #2: Use Your Building Like A Softbox

October 05, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

A softbox is used by photographers to spread the beams of light in many directions.  The bigger the softbox, the more "sun like" they appear to be. Having a softbox under, to the right and left shooting a person's face really lights up the eyes and adds depth to the image.

1. Use any big, flat reflective surface like a softbox

So you don't have a softbox or strobes, how can you get that look?  The idea is to make a nice, big light source, the bigger the better.  But what if you just want to take your camera in daylight?  Use your building to your advantage on a sunny day.  You find a large reflective wall to bounce light back in to the eyes.   If you can set your aperture to be pretty wide open (like f5.6 or so) and you position your subject so that the sun reflects off of the building.   A light colored garage door works too.   

2.  Provide shade from direct sunlight

Another surprisingly effective trick is to open your garage door (sunny day of course) and set up a background of some sort behind the subject, camera pointed from the outside into the garage, with the background behind the subject (again, f5.6 to blur that out really good).   I took a set of blinds and hung them up a few feet behind Jake using a background stand (but you can hang from the garage ceiling easily.) The protection of the garage keeps the direct sun from hitting the subject, but the street and driveway apron outside makes a big soft reflector which really makes  the eyes sparkle.  This is especially useful at high noon, when you can't find the angle of the sun to hit the building to bounce off of.

Here is an example of the garage technique!

 

I have even used the reflected light from a glass window to push light into the face of a subject.   If you can see it with your eyes, you can photograph it!

Learn these techniques and more with my "hands on" Photography Mentoring session.


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