When it comes to outdoor portrait lighting, does size really matter? In this article, you will discover a few reasons why size is important on your next outdoor portrait lighting photo shoot.
All jokes aside, your lighting modifier size does affect the outcome of your images, and in this article, you will discover why a 36-inch modifier might just be the ideal size for outdoor portraits.
The first reason is: as a general rule, the closer and larger the light source, the softer the light appears, but anything larger than a 36-inch modifier could be a problem in windy conditions.
That is why I feel and you may disagree that 36 inches is the sweet spot between flattering light and a modifier that is light, portable, and safe to use in most outdoor lighting situations. Of course, you could use a 22-inch beauty dish outdoors even more easily, but a 22-inch beauty dish is not as flattering on older subjects or for people who don’t have perfect skin.
The second reason is the distance of the modifier from your subject is also a factor in the quality of light that it produces, and again, 36 inches is large enough to allow you to move it in close to your subject but not to interfere with you getting that perfect shot on location.
Beside the size, you may also prefer a round soft box over a square soft box because of the type of catchlight it creates in your subjects' eyes. A round soft box mimics a catch light similar to what the sun creates, so it is an excellent reason to choose a round softbox over a square softbox.
In closing, one last thing to look for when choosing a softbox is whether or not it has two layers of diffusion material. Having an inner diffuser helps to spread the light beam from the center of the modifier in a more dispersed way over the entire surface of the softbox.
Using a round, silver, 36-inch modifier with two layers of diffusion is ideal for shooting outdoor portraits for a number of reasons: the contrast, the softness, specular high lights, and portability all add up to a winning combination.
What is your favorite outdoor lighting modifier for portraits? Let me know what you prefer to use and why in the comment section below.