Tech Tips : White Reflector

esterday I woke up from being under anesthesia for four hours and started hugging strangers. Why was I under anesthesia? It's a long and boring story, but let's just say I got in a fight with a lion with my arms tied behind my back. And won. When I awoke, JD rubbed my shoulders and asked if everything was okay. I smiled and asked if we got the discount. What discount, he asked and then I hugged him. And if what he tells me is true, I started hugging everyone around me.

After I was placed in a wheelchair, I asked to hug my doctor. Twice.


Seeing how I'm a fan of spreading love, I'm thinking today might be a good day to launch a new segment on the blog called Tech Tips. Every so often, I'll dissect a photo someone asked me about and walk through the process of how the photo was captured and corresponding meta data. If this is a bad idea, I'll simply blame the anesthesia and pretend it never happened. If you think it's a good idea, I'll probably hug you.

50mm f/2.8 1/400 125 ISO

After posting Helen and Eric's Los Angeles Biltmore wedding, Carrie Joy asked, I ADORE the invitation in the window. Could you share what lens you were using? Were you shooting wide open?

Part of the reason I was able to capture this photo was because it wasn't too bright outside of the hotel room. It was an overcast day, but still gorgeously illuminated. Of course, it was brighter outside than inside of the hotel room I was shooting in, so once I placed the invitation in the window, the face of the invitation became underexposed (almost shadowed, if you will). If I exposed for the invitation, then the background would become overexposed (and blown out) and the cityscape wouldn't be visible.
   The Solution: I needed to find a way to shed light on the invitation in a way that looked natural. I didn't want to use flash or a metallic reflector, so I looked around for something white I'd be able to use to bounce natural light. I noticed that the hotel curtain was white, so I simply stood in front of the invitation, grabbed the curtain with my left hand and pulled it behind my head, then took the photo holding the camera with my right hand. Essentially, the curtain became a white reflector and I was able to expose both for the face of the invitation as well as the cityscape in the background.

Feel free to let me know if this makes sense and/or ways to make Tech Tips better in the future...I appreciate it!

Happy Thursday!
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Farida - More tech tips would be awesome!!!  07.15.13 - 7:25pm
Nicole - Umm.... GENIOUS! (Good, Lord!)  02.23.12 - 6:09pm
Abby Grace - I always feel really stupid when I forget that natural reflectors exist. I think I'm going to write "NATURAL REFLECTORS" on my hand in red Sharpie for my next wedding.   02.22.12 - 1:15pm
Jason - What a cool idea! Way to improvise in a tough spot. Cool!  02.21.12 - 6:28pm
Mireya - Makes perfect sense!!! And it's awesomely helpful :)   02.21.12 - 5:51pm
Sam Allen - What an amazing tip! You are so resourceful!  02.21.12 - 3:43pm
Kevin - Thanks for sharing JS!!  02.20.12 - 3:34pm
patricia - Love the first tech tip! Looking forward to more...Great stuff. Can I hug you for sharing your wisdom with us? You're the best :)   02.20.12 - 12:05pm
Biju Oommen - Jasmine, love this new section. Great tip. Thank you and big HUG  02.20.12 - 4:57am
Jas A - Love this tip!! More pls  02.19.12 - 3:21pm
Penny - You are brilliant!! I was considering purchasing a white reflector when I really just need to be more aware of my surroundings. Great lesson. Thanks!  02.19.12 - 2:43pm
Faith - Im officially UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF LOVE! Thank you Jasmine, I love this post. Did I mention i have an aunty named Jasmine? I have an Aunty named Jasmine. Bula (Hello) from Fiji!  02.19.12 - 1:30pm
Riaan Roux - When i first saw the photo I was wondering where the extra light was coming from and assumed it would be a bounced flash, but it looked to natural. Even bounced flash lets certain things look a little unnatural. Using the curtain certainly brought that natural feel to the image. We often, especially a strobist such as myself, tend to forget to look for things that add the natural feel.  02.19.12 - 10:57am
Denise Prichett - This is so great!!!! I never would of thought of the curtain I would have just tried different angles. Thanks Jasmine you rock!!!!!  02.18.12 - 5:45am
Denise Prichett - This is so great!!!! I never would of thought of the curtain I would have just tried different angles. Thanks Jasmine you rock!!!!!  02.18.12 - 5:43am
Sue Gauthier - Jas Thank you for sharing!!! I wear alot of white or off white in my business attire, to allow a natural reflection for those closeer up things like invitations, other details like rings etc. Even during baby shoots, I wear off white to Reflect a natural window light without the hassle of dealing with a reflector.  02.17.12 - 10:22pm
Synergy Photography - I want to hug YOU - Genius!!  02.17.12 - 6:15pm
Diana - Okay... hug me now!!! Lol  02.17.12 - 5:37pm
Cy Gilbert - LOVE the idea of Tech Tips! It's really neat to hear first-hand how you create your images. :)  02.17.12 - 1:19pm
Sonal - Thank you for sharing this! Simple and easy to understand.   02.17.12 - 12:16pm
Jess - I ALREADY love your TECH TIPS!!  02.17.12 - 10:30am
Jessica - Thank you so much for the tip! I'm looking forward to future ones to come!  02.17.12 - 9:49am
Tara - haha! What a great tip! I love how you are so creative in these things! :)   02.17.12 - 9:01am
Rose - I am learning sooo much. Keep it coming and if i ever meet you at WPPI i'll take a hug too. :)  02.17.12 - 5:51am
Rudi - Yes! This makes sense! Great tip that I wouldn't have thought about. So thank you. I'm sure you're really helping a lot of photographers to improve there skills with these kind of tips. Looking forward to more Tech Tips!  02.17.12 - 12:52am
Mandy - High 5 for Tech Tips!! Tx a mil for sharing!! Keep on huggin' :-)  02.17.12 - 12:07am
Lydia - Love the idea for this series! This tip made perfect sense and reminded me to think creatively about natural reflectors next time I'm in a pinch!  02.16.12 - 9:57pm
Tina Nandi - Very innovative and very helpful! This is a great section... thanks!  02.16.12 - 9:56pm
Tatiane Barauna - LUV IT! Cool to know your insights(especially for the ones of us who's beginning ;)  02.16.12 - 8:45pm
Mandi - Keep these coming! Love! So, we can't talk you into telling us more about your surgery??? What if we all think it's some aweome plastic surgery??? ;) ;)  02.16.12 - 8:13pm
Melbourne Wedding Photography - There are natural reflectors everywhere, which is great. Once you start using them you wonder how you managed before!  02.16.12 - 6:36pm
Becky - Yay tech tips are awesome! It's really helpful to see how other people deal with common location issues. Thank you!  02.16.12 - 5:31pm
Yuliya M. - So simple and brilliant, love the tech tips, keep them coming! And I'm expecting a hug at the fix ;)  02.16.12 - 4:17pm
Matt - Jasmine, after watching your creativeLIVE wedding week, I think it'd be very informational and useful to see how you use the various and sundry implements of destruction around you! :) Since you don't tend to carry the lights and reflectors others might, just seeing what you use to get the light where you want it and get the exposure you want would be very educational.  02.16.12 - 4:01pm
Ashley Perez - Genius! Way to use your surroundings. Hope you're feeling better!  02.16.12 - 3:07pm
vera - Love it!!! Will be waiting for more to come!!! thank you so much for shasring so much!! <3 <3  02.16.12 - 2:39pm
Andrea Paris - Oooh, this is a great post. Thank you for sharing such a practical tip. Now I want my hug.  02.16.12 - 2:31pm
Christina Graves - That is brilliant! Thank you and yes your Tech Tips are always helpful : ) Always be true to who you are. Loveyaalot's  02.16.12 - 2:10pm
Feather Midgley - Your like the McGaver of photography lighting, lol....I love it! Such an awesome idea, thanks for sharing and for reminding me to think out of the box, or circle if you're backwards like me. ;) And I think you're even more awesome for spreading the LOVE...we all need the spread the love a bit more in our days.  02.16.12 - 1:35pm
Smartie - Thank goodness for wikipedia. So do you think through every photograph like this or do you "test the light" and then naturally adjust your settings/impromptu reflectors to make the picture better?   02.16.12 - 1:16pm
Jenelle Sewell - Always love your tips on using natural light and reflectors...thank you.   02.16.12 - 1:15pm
Bashar A. - I really like the simple and easy to read explanation. No need to use "big words" :)  02.16.12 - 1:04pm
Pallavi - very nice idea Jasmine ! Thanks for sharing ....  02.16.12 - 12:45pm
Pete - Cool, nice quick little tip post. I like the's not the drugs...keep em coming.  02.16.12 - 12:17pm
Haley Johnston - You are so clever! Thanks for sharing!   02.16.12 - 12:12pm
Hunter - Wishing you a speedy recovery - glad you won the fight. Thanks much for sharing your knowledge and expertise, I look forward to future dissections.   02.16.12 - 12:10pm
Jessica Chavez - First off, I hope you are feeling good! Then I have to say that I love that you share tips like this one with us, `cause it helps us think differently while we are out shooting =) thanks for that!!   02.16.12 - 11:59am
Bobbie Brown - Makes perfect sense! Thanks for sharing and I look forward to seeing more of these posts :)  02.16.12 - 11:49am
Janeane Melton - I love this! (photo and post)  02.16.12 - 11:47am
Barb - Resourcefulness : ) Good thinkin'!  02.16.12 - 11:36am
Maxine - That was a great tip Jasmine! Very versatile concept and can't wait to try that out. I think sharing tech tips on dissecting photos is an excellent idea, thanks as always!  02.16.12 - 11:04am
Nikki McKenzie - Thank you so much for posting this! I'm photographing my first wedding this May and I need all the tech tips I can get!!   02.16.12 - 10:55am
Lucia - I think it is a fantastic idea doing Tips and Tricks and I loved this one!  02.16.12 - 10:51am
Jennifer Johnson - Brilliant! Thanks for sharing! I love this new idea of yours. :)  02.16.12 - 10:45am
Monika - I love this! I just watched Zach & Jody Gray's video on [b]school about their 5in1 reflector and now this! Great great tips. So simple but can make SUCH a huge difference. I wanna hug you for sure!!   02.16.12 - 10:44am
Andre - Love the concept of this segment  02.16.12 - 10:44am
Emily Bishop - This was a great post! I love the Tech Tips idea, it's perfect. Thanks so much!  02.16.12 - 10:35am
Jeni Brower - Love the idea of Tech Tips. And I totally have a visual of you NOT using a reflector - all Scarlet O'Hara style with the curtain :) Thank You for the Tips - Keep em comin, please...  02.16.12 - 10:14am
Richard - I like this new section on your blog. I follow you some time ago from Argentina. Thanx Jasmine for all your shares!  02.16.12 - 10:04am
Ashley Goodwin - OOOoooOOO aren't YOU smart! (and silly looking!). That's good! While I'm a huge fan of the "blown out" look (highlights, hair, etc.), this photo is way way better without it. Love the soft background.   02.16.12 - 10:03am
alexandra - Thank you!! love this!   02.16.12 - 9:58am
cassandra-m - brilliant~!!!!!!!! :)  02.16.12 - 9:55am
Scott Eng - Looking forward to the Tech Talk series. I have a request: Would you be willing to put up a few pre/post processed image? As an aspiring photographer, I always see what people post on the blog but I always find myself wondering what the image looked like prior. Some need more work than others but I think it would be a good compass to see what came out of the camera and what the final result is. Thanks for all that you do for us.  02.16.12 - 9:53am
Brenda - Brilliant!  02.16.12 - 9:51am
Nancy Mitchell - Thanks for the helpful tip! I look forward to more Tech Tips! And I am glad you are feeling better:)   02.16.12 - 9:48am
Donna Good - thanks so much for sharing this. looking forward to more!  02.16.12 - 9:46am
Vanessa - Great tip and very inventive, will need to remember this next time I'm in a similar situation. BTW, love tech tips!!   02.16.12 - 9:41am
Liz Lovi - (hope you are felling better) and I think this segment is awesome, and you are amazing for sharing all your tips with us!! And you are just pretty amazing in general :)  02.16.12 - 9:28am
Jessica - Immensely helpful!  02.16.12 - 9:13am
Megan Hayes - What a good little tip. Seems the anesthesia has worn off and this is another great idea of yours to start this new segment of your blog. :-)  02.16.12 - 9:11am
Susan Evans - YES! This is a great idea! Please keep it up! It would be great to get a hug but I'll take tech tips without too.  02.16.12 - 9:09am
GallerybyLaura - I like tech tips!  02.16.12 - 9:05am
Carrie Joy - Jasmine! Oh my gosh!!! You are awesome! I feel so honored to have my question addressed on your blog! And it was soooo timely because I've really been trying to learn how to use reflected light as I shoot... I'm totally going to try this nifty approach! :)  02.16.12 - 9:04am
Juli - Brilliant! Love this new section!!! Please continue!! :) And I'm right there with ya - I hugged all the nurses after I went under anesthesia, too. :P  02.16.12 - 9:03am
Christine Gosch - You are hilarious. I would have hugged you! haha   02.16.12 - 9:03am
Catie Coyle - I am already LOVING the Tech Tips. Can you do it once a week? :)  02.16.12 - 8:51am
Jana - Quite creative!!  02.16.12 - 8:44am
Tami Inoue - I love this...I'm super excited for this new feature!!!!   02.16.12 - 8:43am
Gina - umm... a window never looked so good, cheers!  02.16.12 - 8:40am
Amanda Swafford - I think this is a FANTASTIC idea! I've always wanted more technical info. Thanks! I hope you're recovering well from your procedure!  02.16.12 - 8:38am
Abe - Love the new segment (mostly cause I'm a techie, not to be confused with a trekie (not eeeven in the same galaxy)) and love to gab about what it takes to make a photo. I vote you keep on with it...or...keep on keepin' on!  02.16.12 - 8:37am
Laura Stricklin - THANK YOU.. I for the life of me was wondering how you pulled this photo off!!! Already loving "Tech Tips"!  02.16.12 - 8:32am
Leslie Davis - love the idea of tech tips! such a great first post ... totally makes sense :)   02.16.12 - 8:28am
Rima Berzin - First - LOL - LOVE your story about anesthesia & hugs. I did the same thing after I woke up from a hospital procedure. I was walking around the recovery room hugging patients. They must of thought I was a looney tune! Now, your photo tip. Genius result and the tip makes sense. But I have a question.You've got your reflector working but when you expose, do you expose for the cityscape and let reflector compensate for invites underexposure?  02.16.12 - 8:28am
ilo photo - Makes a lot of sense! And is a great idea; you could even do that with a bride's portrait-against-window shots for some added fill light (as long as she's not claustrophobic!) -Dana and Nik Fiorito  02.16.12 - 8:27am
The New Diplomat's Wife - love this! anything that sheds light on where you were standing in relation to the photo is always helpful!  02.16.12 - 8:26am
Christina Gressianu Wedding Photographer - This is a GOOD idea... and the hugs are too. Definitely good ideas.  02.16.12 - 8:25am
Joyce - Makes TOTAL sense. I think it's a great idea to post more Tech tips. I've gone through all your posting hoping to find more and when I read this posting I could not help but SMILE... HUGE SMILE!... Now i'm gonna run home and HUG everyone!!!! big hug back to you! J   02.16.12 - 8:24am
Lukas - Hey Jasmin! I hope you get well soon! Sometimes things are just as simple as catching reflecting light with a curtain. But i must confess that this wasn´t the first thing i would have thought about at this moment :-D Your idea of sharing those tech tips is great!! Keep it up!! Cheerz Lukas   02.16.12 - 8:23am
Jessica - Ooooh... So excited for this! Tech Tips and Nutella sounds like my kind of relaxing ;)  02.16.12 - 8:22am
bethany - I love tech tips! This one was helpful and I love the opportunity to learn any time and any way that I can!! Thank you so much for sharing!!  02.16.12 - 8:22am
Miriam Corona - What a great idea. Thanks for sharing these tech tips! Hugs ;)   02.16.12 - 8:21am
janelle marina - Yay I can't believe I am the first comment! Woo hoo! I just wanted to say that's some good outside of the box thinkin! :)   02.16.12 - 8:19am
Jasmin Hunter - I think this is a brilliant idea. Thank you for sharing, and yes, it does make sense. Your work inspires me. I look forward to getting a hug from you some day. :)  02.16.12 - 8:19am
Rachel Marie Photography - Hurray for Tech Tips! i think its a great idea and definitely had nothing to do with the anesthesia. ;)  02.16.12 - 8:19am
Meghan - I love it!!! Such a good tip, thank you so much Jasmine!  02.16.12 - 8:19am
danielle - Brilliant and extremely generous of you to share!!! That is an awesome tip. Thanks!  02.16.12 - 8:18am
Kimberly - Love when it is simple as that! Awesome tip for all situations. Thanks sooo much-my turn to hug you!  02.16.12 - 8:16am
darling paumen - Hug Me - I think is a brilliant idea!!! Hugs,  02.16.12 - 8:15am
Sarah - Awesome job at explaining. Totally made sense. Thanks for sharing I'll have to try this out! :)   02.16.12 - 8:14am
Schiavonn - Makes total sense. I have done something similar in the past. :0 ) ((hugs))  02.16.12 - 8:14am
Libby K - I'm a natural born hugger. I love when you hug someone and you feel them go rigid in your arms. So then I hug harder. Hahahaha! I get to hug you in Chicago! Woot-woot! Oh yes, and thank you for the tip! I will take as many tech tips as I can get! HUGS!  02.16.12 - 8:13am
anouschka - awesome new segment!  02.16.12 - 8:12am
Abby Hacker - It makes perfect I get a hug now? :)   02.16.12 - 8:12am
Linda Tamarpirat - Thank you for sharing this post with us Jasmine!   02.16.12 - 8:11am
marissa nicole - I have heard you talk about natural reflectors before & started to place white sheets on the floor just outside of my frame when I shoot indoors. But I really noticed the difference by accident one day when I moved a blanket from one side the the other & my son's face was so amazing illuminated it was unreal. That was the day natural reflectors really made sense to me.   02.16.12 - 8:10am
LEOLAK - Hug away chick...this rocks! Glad all went okay with whatever Lion you were fighting! ;-)   02.16.12 - 7:59am
susana cristina - Tech tips are always welcome and appreciated! Thank you for being open about sharing your knowledge with all of us that are still learning the ropes...  02.16.12 - 7:54am
Stephanie Stewart - Beautiful! Love the Tech Tips! Keep 'em coming! I hope you are on the mend, and all those people you hugged were so lucky! Please save one for me in Chicago! ;)  02.16.12 - 7:46am
Lillian Chang - Waking up under the influence of love isn't a bad way to come out of anesthesia :) Glad that everything seemed to turn out okay! This is a WONDERFUL new series - it's so funny because I've been practicing a lot with my camera and I have been trying to master this very shot (or something similar anyway - of getting the background while shooting something indoors). Thanks for the tip - I can't wait to try and practice this! Please keep this series going! I'm sure a lot of us can learn loads!! :)  02.16.12 - 7:30am
corey - Clever J* like these tips...   02.16.12 - 7:24am
Cory - First! hehehe ;)  02.16.12 - 7:22am
sherri lynn - This is so helpful to know! I'm looking forward to learning more of your tips!  02.16.12 - 7:12am
Sara - I love tech tips . . . I love you . . . If i was there I would hug you too!  02.16.12 - 7:08am
Jordan - I am so glad that Carrie asked that question! I had been wondering for a looooooong time! Love tech tips. :)  02.16.12 - 7:04am
Whitney Bower - Tech Tips is the best idea ever - I wish I could hug you! Thanks for being so amazing =)   02.16.12 - 7:03am
Molly W. - YES please! I think this would be a great addition to your blog! I'm a fan, I'm a fan!  02.16.12 - 6:58am
Amanda Taylor - I love this! I think TechTips are going to be fabulous!  02.16.12 - 6:57am
Megan Menke - Thanks so much! This is such a simple but crazy effective tip! I really appreciate how down to earth your shooting process is, yet you capture stunning images! Thanks! <3  02.16.12 - 6:55am
Rachel Tatem - Now if you had been under the influence when you took the shot would you have then yelled "I'm bat girl"... cause that't the visual I'm getting ;P Thanks for the tip and what a great way to use the items around you to make a beautiful shot! Question, when you shoot a wedding do you use reflectors or prefer natural reflection? I know that you use natural defusers but what about reflectors?  02.16.12 - 6:51am
Dallas - Oh, Jasmine, I'm so happy to hear you're okay, and came out of it hugging up a storm. Take care of yourself :) Also, this is a great tip!  02.16.12 - 6:48am
Meredith Sledge - Woahhh. That's genius!!!! Thanks for sharing!  02.16.12 - 6:40am
Paco Perpen - I think it's an excellent idea, specially because you have started with a technical improvisation quite simple but very effective which shows that not everything it's in the gear! :)  02.16.12 - 6:38am
Antonis - This is a GREAT idea! I've been secretly hoping you'd start something like this for a long time. The story certainly doesn't sound like it's boring if there's a lion involved...  02.16.12 - 6:37am
LindsayKipp - I love this segment!!! Keep it coming!! You are awesome Jasmine, for always sharing your tips and fabulous tricks with us!!! Thank you!!!  02.16.12 - 6:33am
sonia - i love this segment. Falling in love with photography in a different way. Plus a good way for us to test our own skills at dissecting a photo and we get to gauge our accuracy from the actual photographer. And we get modelled again making do with what one has. Thanks. And here is to a speedy recovery!  02.16.12 - 6:31am
Life with Kaishon - I think huggers are grand : )  02.16.12 - 6:18am
Kristen - LOVE.LOVE TECH TIP THURSDAY!!1  02.16.12 - 6:17am
Gabby / En Route Photography - Great idea! Looking forward to future tech tips! ;)  02.16.12 - 6:15am
Kelly - This is a great picture! I am a beginner so sometimes lighting techniques still allude me. Reflecting the light with white material is a great idea that I understand but why did you decide to put it behind your head? Could you explain why this was the best place to position the curtain. Thank you!   02.16.12 - 6:14am
Wendy Alana - I adore you, your tips and tricks and your copy of Exposed....every once in a while, I find myself in a situation and I remember your words of encouragement and comfort....I'm not even sure you understand the power of the gift that you bring to others.....God bless.....  02.16.12 - 6:07am
michelle white - makes so much sense jasmine!! Thanks for sharing!!  02.16.12 - 6:06am