Today we'll continue our discussion on photography lighting with equipment for external flashes. As we've discussed before, external flashes are essential for better photography. But even with an external, you can still fall victim to harsh shadows and over-exposed subjects. Another way to soften your lighting is with a diffuser. Some external flashes have a diffuser built-in, others you will need to purchase the add-on. The device works by spreading or scattering light in order to create a softer appearance, as opposed to a concentrated source --like with a spotlight. It will also reflect the light off ceilings and walls, eliminating harsh light and hard shadows, making it an excellent addition for portrait photography.
Although umbrellas are considered types of reflectors, we'll focus on hand-held reflectors. These devices are used to bounce light and fill shadows with highlights. (Usually you need an assistant to correctly position it for you while you photograph.) If you shoot from a low angle, the reflector should concentrate the light downward. And if you're shooting from eye-level or higher, you want the reflector positioned closer to the ground. Professional photographers typically employ several people to utilize reflectors and diffusers, especially when working outdoors to manipulate the lighting. Experimentation is the key to stunning photographs.
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