FAQ : Finding Pocketed Natural Reflectors

I
often feel badly for being unable to respond to every email I receive...no, really, it keeps me up at night and I craft responses IN MY HEAD, but never have the time to write back. I could probably be a professional emailer if I didn't restrict how much time I'm tethered to my laptop. I often use blog posts to address questions I'm repeatedly asked, one of the most popular being: How do you shoot in hard or tricky lighting?

I've referenced my use of Natural Reflectors (here, here, and here), and I go into depth about finding Natural Reflectors in harsh afternoon light during my photography workshop. I'm actually hosting a workshop here in Orange County in November, so if you'd like to attend, be sure to register!

At a shoot last week, JD and I were photographing the bride indoors, but it wasn't the best lighting conditions. Whenever I'm faced with this difficulty, I immediately look for natural light...and reflectors. What I found was a outset window with white paneling. The natural light streamed in and created a pocket of reflected light...and then I died.

Here's an UNretouched snapshot JD captured of my working condition and to show what I'm describing...yes, that's my camera on the left side....


Using the 35mm lens, I was able to crop to the photo in-camera in a way as to not reveal where the white paneling behind the bride ended. I asked her to tilt her face slightly toward the light source and the white panel behind me (the natural reflector) bounced light back in her face so one side wasn't too dark.
f/2.0 1/200 200 ISO


I refer to this type of light as a pocketed natural reflector (light that's bounced from two or more light sources). I hope this helps and if you'd like to learn more about my approach and how to use difficult light in small areas, I'd love to meet you personally at the Jasmine Star photography workshop....ugh...I just referred to myself in third person. I'm ending this post now before it happens again.
Comment (18)
Share on


Thank you! Your comment has been saved.
Derek Martinez - Love her look and beautiful portraits!   09.24.12 - 1:51pm
Amanda Webber - I love her headpiece.   09.21.12 - 11:33pm
Sydni Jackson - When looking for natural reflectors, where does shade come in to play? Do you look for shaded areas? Do you like shade?  09.20.12 - 9:18am
Lilah - Natural light photos are by far my favorite and these turned out really fantastic. http://lauragaylorphotography.com   09.19.12 - 7:06pm
Ginger Brie - Just so you know, once you explained how you used a white curtain to bounce light back on an invitation in a window that you were taking a picture of....then I tried it to make sure you knew what you were talking about...and you were right...you so smart....I wish I heard your high school valedictorian speach.   09.18.12 - 7:48pm
Christina Hastings - A. That hairpiece is amazing. B. I love how you can find a little spot that's perfect, and however imperfect the rest of the surroundings look, you can crop down on that little jem and create perfect pics.  09.18.12 - 6:12pm
Tatiane - I would love to oneday be a good photographer and do great photos as you. But i cant afford the workshops :( thanks for the posts!  09.18.12 - 3:02pm
Lydia - Jasmine, you're just so smart!  09.18.12 - 2:00pm
Jessica Lamulle - I always love your posts on lighting! I work with natural light whenever possible, so it's cool finding new ways to capitalize on it, even in difficult situations.   09.18.12 - 1:56pm
Emily - I love your posts where you explain how you capture a shot, I always find them so informative and helpful. I will be trying this out as soon as I can.   09.18.12 - 1:55pm
rich - very cool - such a beautifully lit portrait!  09.18.12 - 1:16pm
Jessica Vidmar Photography - Thanks Jasmine! Beautiful pic!!  09.18.12 - 11:33am
Aaron Nystrom - Thanks for the great tip Jasmine. I'll be looking for pocketed natural light the next time I'm in the field.  09.18.12 - 10:37am
Allison - Ohhhhh I love those natural little lighting pockets, it's like architects have photographers in mind when they build them.   09.18.12 - 9:35am
Sarah - I am so appreciative (is that a word?) of this post, especially with the links back to your other posts too! Whew..what a challenging topic! Bravo! I never really considered the pavement before! And the boat shots..when I saw what you had to work with..I would have had that same.."God please help me!" Attitude! Your images turned out incredible!!! Thank you Jasmine! We love you tons!  09.18.12 - 9:25am
Alex Sablan - Beautiful use of available light.  09.18.12 - 9:11am
Dallas Curow - Eee! This is such a great tip. I love this post, thank you Jasmine. Also, I'm pretty psyched to see the rest of this shoot.  09.18.12 - 9:10am
Tiffany Farley - Beautiful :)   09.18.12 - 6:58am