Tech Tips : White Reflector

Photography

Yesterday 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.

Apparently, I was UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF LOVE.

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!