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Tips For Shooting An Outdoor Headshot Using Fill Flash And A Reflector

Brittney Outdoor Heashot

Fill Flash Plus 5-in-1 Reflector

The details in this post are not meant for the beginner. A photographer that is familiar with his or her camera and using a flash should understand the details just fine. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me David [@] dwppc [.] com ... coded to avoid SPAM.

The image on the right was shot outdoors in the shade, but thanks to fill flash and a 5-in-1 reflector, it has a bright dynamic that it would not have had without the flash and the reflector. If this shot had been taken under the natural conditions that the model was in, it would have been a far different image because she is in solid shade and the background is very bright. Don't get me wrong, solid shade is nice and can still work well; however, when possible, I choose to use a fill flash outside which I do most of the time. In this case, I had an opportunity to also use a 5-in-1 reflector as well.

I chose to put the subject in front of a bright outdoor background but wanted her in the shade to avoid squinting and harsh sun. I set my f/stop to f/5.6 on my Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens so that I could get the shallow depth of field you see (out of focus background). Although my flash has high speed sync which is often good for outdoor shooting with fill flash and will allow the camera sync with the flash beyond 1/200th, I wanted to be below 1/200th. So I made sure my ISO and the f/5.6 helped me achieve a shutter speed of around 1/100th. My Canon 600 EX-RT TTL flash was attached to the camera with a small rogue flash bender. I turned the flash head upward because I shot in a vertical position. The bottom line is that I got my camera reading to where I wanted it and let the TTL (communication of flash and camera) work it's magic. I do tend to shoot a little overexposed, so my camera was likely set 1/3 higher than the meter and my flash was likely set a little stronger as well. In addition to the fill flash, I had an assistant hold a 5-in-1 silver reflector at waste level to reflect additional light back up on the subject... All Done!

5 in 1 Reflector

5-in-1 Reflector - Click The Image To Visit Amazon

The 5-in-1 reflector pictured on the right can be purchased for under $30 on Amazon. If you don't own one it would be a nice addition to your equipment at minimal cost.

The reflectors are called 5-in-1 because there are many ways that it can be used. There is a silver and gold reflective option. When you reverse that, you'll have black on one side and white on the other which you can find many uses for. The final option which is very nice is to take the cover completely off and have translucent white which can help you create your own shade in bright sun by holding the reflector above the subject and letting the sun shine through the white.

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David Williams

Short Bio About The Author: I'm David Williams a professional commercial photographer focusing on corporate and business clients with some personal branding, lifestyle photography in the mix. My love for photography began in late 1981 while still in High School. I started making money with his camera in 1982. Brenda, my wife, and I started working together in photography in 1988 shortly after we met. Brenda and I married in 1989 and have two adult daughters. Please be sure to get a quote for services if needed. Call or Text: 919.723.8453. Please reach out to connect with me on LinkedIn.