Practical Light Setups

How to shoot a thing without any expensive gear.

Use Window Light

Start sitting with your back to a window, and looking around whatever room you are in. Start noticing pretty light all around you.

Just a window behind me

Build A Reflector

Reflectors are one of the most useful, versitale, and cheapest ways to improve photography. They are collapsable, portable, and nearly indestructible. I recommend buying nice ones, like those buy Wescott, as the cheaper ones do the same job but are less versitale and don't last as long.

Get a 5-in-1 reflector. These are reflectors with a reversible cover. They can be shiny silver, black, white, gold, and act as a diffuser - all very useful things. I often use mine as a backdrop.

But we don't want to spend any money. Do you have some cardboard and tin foil? Sure you do. Crumple up the cardboard and uncrumple it, then tape it to the cardboard. I've made huge reflectors this way and it costs basically nothing.

The reason you crumple and uncrumple the tinfol is to scatter the light around more randomly, creating more diffuse light. We don't want a mirror.

Shot with a reflector The sun is behind the subject, as evidenced with the extreme rim light. A reflector brings enough light back to the subject to get a usable image.

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