In this article and video, I want to demonstrate how shooting with the sun, a scrim, and your flash can add a night and day difference to your photos. Don’t believe me? Check out this awesome before and after image!
OUR GEAR LIST
- Flash Budget: Yongnuo/Neewer ($70-100)
- Flash Favorite Manual: LumoPro LP180 with Pocketwizard Plus 3 ($350)
- Flash Favorite Full Feature: Phottix Mitros+ ($399)
- Bracket Favorite Cold Shoe: Westcott Triple Threat ($30)
- Bracket Favorite Hot Shoe: Cheetah 3 Speedlight ($50)
- Light Stand Budget: Cowboy Studio Light Stand ($30)
- Light Stand Favorite: Manfrotto Nano Stand ($50)
- Light Modifier Budget: 5-1 Westcott 40″ Reflector ($40)
- Light Modifier Favorite: Westcott Scrim Jim Panel ($300)
- ND Filter Budget: 82mm Tiffen 1.2 ND ($60)
- ND Filter Favorite ND: 82mm Tiffen 1.5 Water White ND (140+)
- ND Filter Favorite HT ND: 82mm Tiffen 1.2 Digital HT ($160+)
- ND Filter Favorite IR ND: 82mm Tiffen 1.5 Water White IR ($180+)
THE ALMIGHTY SCRIM
If you have watched any of our workshops or videos, you’ll know that we love to use the scrim inside our 5-in-1 Westcott Reflector to cut down or soften the light. For Lighting 201, our most advanced lighting workshop to date, we wanted to raise the bar on our scrim game, which is why we’re using the Westcott Scrim Jim!
Disclaimer: We could have easily shot this with the scrim from the Westcott 5-in-1, so if that’s all you have, don’t feel like you need to go out and buy a Scrim Jim. In this scenario, the larger Scrim Jim allows us to completely cover our model in shade, and it enlarges our flash’s light source, giving us a softer light.
3 STEPS TO PERFECTING OUTDOOR PORTRAITS WITH SCRIM + FLASH
Now, let’s get to the good stuff. Taking outdoor portraits is easy; you just need some practice and patience.
STEP 1: PLACE YOUR SUBJECT FACING THE SUN
This may seem counterintuitive if you’re used to using the sun as a hair or back light. For this shot, we’re working with the sun.
STEP 2: SCRIM YOUR SUBJECT
The scrim is going to diffuse all the light falling on our model. The keyword here is Lighting Ratio. Look at the image above without the scrim, do you see how bright her skin is compared to her hair? Now look at the scrim’d version below. Notice how the exposure difference between her skin and her hair are much closer.
STEP 3: ADD YOUR FLASH
Now you add your flash, shooting through the scrim alongside the natural light. This is where patience is required because you may have to tweak your lights in order for the exposure to be perfect.