HARD­WARE AND SOFT­WARE

Give the light a lit­tle help on lo­ca­tion and in post-pro­duc­tion

NPhoto - - Niko Pedia -

■ You may not have con­trol over the light it­self, but you can have a say in how it reaches the cam­era’s sen­sor. If you shoot por­traits, for ex­am­ple, a fold­able re­flec­tor can be a valu­able way of mod­i­fy­ing the light, ei­ther for lift­ing shad­ows or adding a catch­light to hair. The most use­ful kind come with an as­sis­tant at­tached, so aren’t much use for street pho­tog­ra­phy. If you have one or more as­sis­tants to hand, you could also use dif­fus­ing pan­els to soften di­rect sun­light. Oh yes, and you can use por­ta­ble flash, if you must.

Next, fil­ters. Once pre­dicted by some to have had their day with the ar­rival of dig­i­tal, they are still thor­oughly rel­e­vant. Grads help to bal­ance the con­trast be­tween sky and land when there’s a clear hori­zon line, while heavy­duty ND fil­ters al­low slow­mo­tion wa­ter and the blur­ring of passers-by in day­light (see our fea­ture, start­ing on page 26, for more on this). Soft­ware helpers in­clude shoot­ing RAW for the ex­tra data you can re­cover, and 32-bit pro­cess­ing of com­bined HDR files. Re­flec­tors like the Las­to­lite with grip here, and grad­u­ated neu­tral den­sity fil­ters in a va­ri­ety of strengths and hard­nesses, are tra­di­tional mod­i­fiers of light. The first fills in dark shad­ows, the sec­ond dark­ens bright skies

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