But fear not — modifying and shaping your light outdoors is actually not as difficult as it sounds. In fact, if you have an assistant, it can be even simpler than working with those studio lights you have grown so comfortable with. In their latest video, How to Shape Outdoor Light, the crew over at B&H Photo cover the basics of working with natural outdoor light, and how to modify it according to your needs.
As noted in the video, shooting outdoors almost always involves utilizing the sun as your main light source, with the negative side effect being that you have no control over its output. All you can do is diffuse it, and lucky for you, that is actually really simple. All you need is a 5-in-1 reflector with the reflecting sleeve taken off. Then it is simply a matter of holding the diffusion screen over the subject, between it and the sun. This creates a nice and soft light, and depending upon how you frame your shot, your viewer may never even know the diffuser was there.
The other aspect of working outdoors when you can’t or don’t want to diffuse the light is to reflect the light. For this, put the reflective cover back over your diffusion screen on the 5-in-1 reflector. Them you hold the reflector into the light, turning it to reflect the light back at your subject. This is especially useful when you are backlighting your subject with the sun, as it opens up their face and allows you to expose for the background without becoming entirely blown out.
The video is full of even more great tips on working with outdoor light, so make sure and take some notes. This will help improve your photos and videos, from a camera or a phone, and if you do a lot of shooting outdoors, you should see improvement in your resulting photos/video right away.
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