- Golden Hour The end of the day, when the sun is setting, is called the golden hour. This is usually an excellent time to shoot portraits because the light is warm, soft, and the shadows are long. The light may be nice for the background but insufficient for your model. This is when a fill light can come in handy.
- Exposure Expose for the background and cast the fill light as you wish on your model. This way, the sky will remain true to color and won’t be overexposed or blown out. Your model will have sufficient light with the fill light, and your shot should be evenly exposed.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight Avoid placing your model in direct sunlight, as this will cause squinting and unflattering facial expressions. Look for shade or use a diffuser and fill in the light with a fill light when necessary.
- Catch Lights Using a fill light when doing portrait photography can add catch-lights in your model’s eyes.
photo by Ridofranz via iStock
Photography is all about light. We all know that. But light can be tricky or non-sufficient sometimes. What do you do if you don’t have the best lighting situation when doing outdoor portraits? Do you suck it up and wait for better conditions?
No, you absolutely don’t have to wait.
There are a few simple ways to add some light and still keep your outdoor portraits looking natural. Fill light for outdoor portraits can be an easy solution when you want to lift harsh shadows, expose your subject and background evenly, and even add lights in the eyes.
What Is Fill Light
photo by MStudioImages via iStock
Directing the light and having control over how soft or how harsh it hits your subject is essential in portrait photography. Sometimes there simply is not enough available natural light, and sometimes the light is too bright and your model has dark shadows appearing on his or her face.
An excellent way to remedy lighting issues is to use a fill light. A fill light can be the flash on your DSLR, a strobe light, an LED light, or even your smartphone.
What type of fill light you use will depend on your photo project at hand. Knowing your needs will determine which fill light is best for you.
Maybe you need something light and portable because you’re heading outside to do portrait photos?
Fill Light for Outdoor Portraits
Fill light is useful when shooting mid-day when the sun is high. Shooting in these conditions may create shadows like dark circles under the eyes of your model.
That’s when a fill light comes in handy to cast light to soften these shadows. Watch what happens to the facial features when you add fill light.
Some new and exciting lighting options have been introduced in the photography industry in the last few years. One of these lighting solutions is the affordable, pocket-sized, rechargeable LED lights that have hit the market.
These small and convenient LED lights are perfect to use as a fill light for outdoor portraits. Sometimes you don’t have the possibility of being able to carry heavy gear like flash, softboxes, and tripods on your portrait shoots. These small and light LED lights are perfect for those occasions.
We personally like the Hakutatz Pocket Size RGB+AW LED Light because it’s versatile, has different lighting options, and lets you get creative with your portrait shoot. And it really does fit in our pockets! It has different colored lights that let you achieve the mood you want. All this can be controlled through the app on your smartphone.
Editor's Note: The Hakutatz Kickstarter campaign was a huge success! Their Amazon store will be open and ready for orders in early December.
Outdoor Portrait Lighting Tips
photo by Ridofranz via iStock
Here are a few simple outdoor portrait tips to help you get those fantastic shots that look professional.
You don’t have to wait for the perfect exterior lighting conditions to shoot portraits outside. There are many lighting solutions that you can bring along with you to achieve the perfect portraits
that you want. You can get those professional-looking portraits by using affordable LED lights like the Hakutatz Pocket Size LED Light as a fill light for your outdoor portraits.