Learn by Doing Photography – Practice your photography skills with weekly photography assignments. I will post a new assignment every Friday, you can post your pictures at the bottom of this post or on the DigitalCamFan Facebook. If you have any questions please refer to the guidelines, if you have no questions jump right in any time!
Learn by Doing Photography #37 Using a Diffuser for your Portraits
What can a diffuser do for you… A lot! Mid-day sunlight can be incredible harsh and be extremely contrasty. So how do we soften the light when you take a portrait in bright sunlight, a diffuser. I used the Neewer 43″ 5-in-1 Multi-Disc Light Reflector. The Newer is a extremely useful since it comes with 5 different sides white, silver, gold and a black side. For the photos below I was using the diffuser side.
The first set of pictures were taken on aperture priority with evaluative metering. Neither image is adjusted. The only difference is the one on the right Cade is holding the diffuser between Kat and the sun. The picture on the left has a shutter speed of 1/2500 @ f/6.3 while the one on the right is 1/640 @ f/6.3
This next set of Cade I did the same thing. This time Kat is holding the diffuser between Cade and the sun for the picture on the right. I did have my settings a little different this time. I still had the camera set for aperture priority, but I was using spot metering. I was metering for the face at +1/3, that is why there is such a difference in the background. The one on the left was taken at 1/8000 @ f/5.6 while the one on the right was 1/1600 @ f/5.6.
Below are my final edits, what is interesting is when you put the pictures side by side.
Kat was in all sunlight including her background. The diffuser covered her and gave her a great skin tone, but the background is still in direct sunlight. In post editing I tried to give some life to the colors behind her. Now for Cade I had him sitting in direct sunlight, but the background was completely shaded. So the background makes a difference, but I also changed my metering between the two which also contributes to the different backgrounds.
This is a quick video by Bryan Peterson to show the difference between using a diffuser and not using a diffuser in the mid-day bright sunlight. Take a look at what a big difference it makes!
My big question was if I didn’t have two helpers helping me, how would I take the picture and hold the diffuser?
Next week on Learn by Doing Photography Assignment #38 – Backlighting your subject