Light Shaping Photography Techniques

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The manipulation of light is one of the most important things to learn as a photographer. If you can shape light in whichever way you wish, you open up more opportunities to capture the images you want to create. Through the use of reflectors, softboxes, and other lighting modifications, you can shape light and direct it wherever you’d like, rather than shaping and directing the photo shoot around what type of lighting you have to work with. Photographer Tim Wallace demonstrates such techniques while shooting photos on a yacht in mid-day sun:

For a classic and nearly symmetrical photo of the model standing on the yacht, Tim Wallace had to work with the 1 o’clock afternoon sun which was slightly behind the model and yacht. To achieve this, he used a Magnum Reflector to reflect the sun back toward the model and yacht. This created enough natural, diffused light to illuminate the subject well.

tim wallace light shaping techniques

In another shot from the same photo shoot, the model sat on the yacht under a canopy. This meant that the background was much brighter than the subject, who was under shade. He used a Profoto Softbox to bounce the light back toward the model. The light that was reflected kept the model well lit enough to balance out the daylight in the background. This also ensured that the light on the model was natural and well-diffused.

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