Sun part 2 | An Education

It’s the second Wednesday of the month (oops…we’re a week behind!) and we’re excited to share with you all how we learned to deal with the sun part 2! Check out part 1 if you missed it. If you’re new here we like to write once a month to share what we’ve learned because our thought is…if we learn something we should tell someone else about it so everyone can grow! As promised, this month we’ll be showing how we learned to use a few pieces of equipment on a sunny day. There are two awesome things about the 2 pieces of equipment we’ll show you today!

1. They are super easy to use, even if you’re just one person.

2. They’re not expensive!

We would certainly rather not use a ton of extra equipment if possible since we both like to be photographing at the same time (when we use one of these pieces generally one of us is holding it) and it’s definitely possible to achieve what both of these pieces do naturally, BUT we do use them sometimes and they’ve helped out heaps!

First up is the diffuser. What it does is takes sunlight and filters it so that it’s not as harsh on your subject. If you’re standing in open shade, but a small piece of someone’s shoulder has sun on it and there’s literally nowhere for them to stand to get it off you can use the diffuser to soften the harsh hot spot (“hot spot” means sunny or really bright spot created by a splash of sun). This happens to us sometimes with a big wedding party. We’ll be standing in open shade and then Bam…one of the groomsmen has sun on his head and no one else does! We can’t move them because there are 10 bridesmaids and 10 groomsmen and it’s 2pm and we’re in the only piece of shade on the property. Soooooo, we whip out the diffuser and one of us (or we ask a family member who is bound to be standing by) to hold the diffuser between the person and the sun and the light is softened! We’ve also used the diffuser to help with a squinty engagement couple or baby lying on the ground.

Here’s Erik with a before and after picture using the diffuser. Under these two you can see how Erik’s holding it against the sun so the spots on his shirt disappear.

Next up is the reflector. This piece is amazing because not only does it give a substantial amount of light in a darker situation, but it also softens the skin and is super flattering…we’re talking less wrinkles and shadows under the eyes are gone! We mostly use the reflector on ladies because it takes shadows away (and we like shadows on dudes) and makes for an extremely beautiful soft light. Beware, if you bounce direct sunlight off this you could blind someone! (Not literally, but we’ve done it and these babies can produce a lot of light.)

Both diffuser and reflector come in all different shapes and sizes with or without handles and can fold up super small to fit in a handy bag that we hang on our camera bag. The reflectors also come in all different colors, most are two-sided. Our reflector preference is white, but we also enjoy the sunlight/white striped combo. Personally gold is too yellow for us and silver can look cold, although it does give more light than white. Everyone has their own preference and style though! We suggest going to your local camera store to test them out before purchasing so you can see what size and colors you like best. (We’ve ordered online in the past and didn’t realize the size we were getting!)

Lesson Learned: A reflector and diffuser are super cool tools to use on a sunny day.

If you have any tricks for using a diffuser or reflector feel free to share below! ~Erik & Marissa

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