Today's post comes from the book Wes Kroninger's Lighting: Design Techniques for Digital Photographers by Wes Kroninger. For this post we are featuring two of his many lighting designs from the book. In this book Kroninger showcases a number of his remarkable images and breaks them down into how they were setup and what equipment was used to achieve the final result, often times including valuable tips about that shot. Each shot is accompanied by multiple diagrams. This book is available from Amazon.com and other fine retailers.
Photographing high school seniors outdoors often creates a grueling schedule. When we want to get many poses in a short amount of time, it is often impossible to use any kind of strobes or electronic flash units. Fortunately, a simple reflector used properly can create beautiful light that seems as if it were created using studio equipment.
For this image, the model was positioned in the shade of a building. A 3x4-foot reflector was positioned in the direct sun, throwing light back into the open shade. This created a beautifully soft yet crisp light. The simplicity of lighting with a reflector makes it a good choice for photographing high-school seniors and children outdoors.
I chose to create this image with extremely horizontal formatting—and also selected an aperture setting that would result in a shallow depth of field. Doing this can effectively drop the foreground and background out of focus, drawing the eye to the part of the frame that is in focus, which contains my subject.
The image below was taken in direct overhead sunlight. This is generally best to avoid—but sometimes there are limited options as to when a session can take place.
To eliminate the unflattering shadows associated with the overhead sunlight, I used a four-foot square scrim that was just barely large enough to create shade for my model (you can see the area of shade created on the ground below her). A 3x4-foot silver reflector was used from her right to add a directional main light to the image.
Notice that this pose, while also looking relaxed, creates a triangular composition that leads the viewer’s eyes back to my subject’s face.
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