Need some help with outdoor lighting while doing portrait photography

13 years 9 months ago #2945 by Gabriel Photos
Hi everyone. Just signed up here.

I have been working on getting my foot into the photography industry and have been taking portraits of people from around my town. Generally speaking I don't earn much, it's mainly for the experience right now. Any way I was wondering what can I do to enhance portrait lighting for outdoors? Would a diffuser or softbox work?

My set up currently is:

Nikon D80, SB600 flash, 10.5mm, 18-55mm, 55-200mm VR, 18-105mm oh and a 50mm.

What would be a good next purchase? Diffuser, softbox, or ??

Thanks for the help.


Photo Comments
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13 years 9 months ago #2952 by Joe Photo Daddy
I would suggest reflectors they can really enhance images, and they are relatively inexpensive also. You can get 5 in 1 reflector that include silver, white, black, gold and a diffuser as well.

Unless you get a stand for this, you may need someone to help you place and hold it for you though. Depends on how windy and the situation.

Good luck!


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13 years 9 months ago #2967 by flyingv
I agree relfectors will be a great help, they will give you that perfect balance of outdoo lighing. Good luck with all your photography.


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13 years 8 months ago #6382 by Myfairephotos
I shoot a lot of events and portraits outdoors. I try never to need to use flash unless it is absolutely necessary for fill because of shadow such as the person is wearing a hat. Since most of my shoots are done at venues, I need to travel light because I'm walking around for 7-8 hours. If you find you need to use fill lighting, a softbox diffuser on your pop up or hot shoe flash will work wonders.


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13 years 8 months ago #6388 by herbg
Definitely get a diffuser for your SB600. They are cheap and make a huge difference, especially for event photography. When shooting events, I prefer having an assistant with me. They hold a diffused flash mounted on a monopod. This get's the flash off the camera and gives much more pleasing light.

I agree that a good reflector can help tremendously with outdoor portraits. You can even get a holder for a light stand so you don't need another person to hold it.

In lower light situations where you need to add more light, a good start for portraits would be a light stand and umbrella. They can be had for not much money and it gives you soft light with decent control. Some umbrellas are convertible from shoot thru to reflector so it offers a lot of variety. A softbox is the next step up from the umbrella. It gives you much more control of the light. But don't go too small with the softbox. Remember, the larger the light source the softer the light. With the SB600, something in the 24" range should be a good start.

Just remember that these light modifiers dramatically effect the light output of your flash. So your going to have to have to adjust for that. Also, don't expect something like a SB600 to overpower bright daylight. You need much more power in those situations.


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13 years 8 months ago #6398 by rprphoto
I'm with the first few people who have replied. Learn to use that one big FREE light in the sky and fill in with reflectors. You'll be much happier with the results :)


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13 years 8 months ago #6476 by PhotosGuy

rprphoto wrote: I'm with the first few people who have replied. Learn to use that one big FREE light in the sky and fill in with reflectors. You'll be much happier with the results :)

I agree. Here's an excellent example of what you can do with a cam, lens, & the right natural light with manual exposure. A couple shots have flash fill. Notice the detail in the black coat & white boa.
Angeline outdoors


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