Reflecting Light for Fashion Photos

As a thank you for being my awesome assistant for my shoot last week, I helped out my friend, Lee,  by shooting some photos of her so she has something professional looking for her work in fashion school.We shot the photos in the fashion building itself, and I thought that the lighting setup could be a tutorial for the site. We start with the final photo here:


I started with the natural light coming in through the window. Of course, that left only half the face lit, while half of her was left in shadow. When this happens, the most effective thing to do is even out the light is with an external flash. I have mine rigged up with sync cord to get the flash to the right angle. However; a direct flash will be too harsh, and make the image look like this:


The solution here is to bounce the light. By pointing the light away from your subject, and at a properly angled reflector. To illustrate, I you may refer to the laughable sketch I threw together below:

Photo Feb 23, 8 08 22 PM

As you may or may not be able to see from my 3rd grade level scribbles, the flash is angled away from Lee, and being reflected from two different directions. First, I have a reflector angled toward her face to even out the light coming through the window. Second, since the flash itself is pointed upward, the light bounces off the ceiling, eliminating any nasty drop shadows from messing up the picture. Bouncing light is a basic trick, but it can make a world of difference when shooting with a flash. While the easiest go-to for bouncing your flash is a ceiling, I’ve used garage doors, tile floors. walls, snow, and bodies of water. Pretty much any pale, reflective surface will work. Give it a try next time you’re shooting with an off camera flash, and feel free to post your experiments in the comments below.










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