Four easy outdoor natural light portrait setups using just one modifier

Aug 2, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Four easy outdoor natural light portrait setups using just one modifier

Aug 2, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Many photographers occasionally (or often) find themselves outdoors having to shoot a portrait. We don’t want to lug a ton of light gear around, so we rely on the available natural light to give us what we need.

Usually, it feels like the sun has a vendetta against us, though. In this video – a video whose title does not do it justice – Jay P Morgan shows us four ways we can shape natural light using just a single modifier. The 5-in-1 reflector.

Even though it’s “only” four different setups, the video is nineteen and a half minutes long. It’s about as extensive as a hand-held reflector tutorial video can get for such a use case. But in a world obsessed with flash and LED lighting, the humble reflector is an often-neglected modifier.

New to 5-in-1 Reflectors?

If you’ve never used a 5-in-1 reflector before, maybe you’ve been intimidated by the massive variety available online, and it can be difficult to know where to begin. What shape of reflector do I need? How big does it need to be?

Jay starts off at the very basics in this video, talking over firstly what a reflector is, what type you should buy, ways to hold them and how to mount them to things. He then goes on to demonstrate the four different setups.

Extremely versatile

Each setup is built from the ground up, starting with the positions of you and your subject relative to the sun. From there, the image is built up one step at a time, pointing out the problems and then demonstrating how a reflector solves them.

5-in-1 reflectors are one of the most versatile modifiers – if not the most versatile – out there. Whether you’re a natural light shooter or you use strobes and LEDs, reflectors can be extremely useful. And if you ever find yourself forced to shoot portraits in bright sunny conditions, it’s certainly one of the lightest modifiers you could take!

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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