Reflecting On Portraits with Steve Davey

Reflecting On Portraits with Steve Davey image
Photographer, writer and host of our Travel Photography Masterclasses, Steve Davey, shares his tips on how to light portraits while travelling. 
You can't always choose the light when you want to take a photograph of someone that you meet on your travels. The light might be coming from overhead, so their face can have unflattering shadows on it. If your subject is wearing a hat, then their face can be completely obscured by shadow. If you are photographing someone indoors, then light from a window will be directional: very light on one side of their face, totally dark on the other. Photographers have long recommended the use of fill-in flash, where you force the flash on your camera to fire, to try to lighten the shadows, but the result from this can be very unnatural, and firing a flash in someone's face can be very intrusive.

A more natural effect can be achieved using a reflector to balance the shadows in a more gentle fashion. Reflectors can be as simple as a sheet of white paper or card, but companies such as Lastolite make fold-out versions, which as well as improving the light, can help to break the ice with locals. They work in a similar way to a pop-up tent, and there is a definite knack to folding them that will intrigue anyone who hasn't seen them before!

Find out more about the Travel Photography Masterclasses at Destinations Manchester, at Destinations London

Steve Davey  is a photographer and writer, whose work has appeared all over the world. Steve leads his own unique range of travel photography tours, with all land arrangements provided by Intrepid Travel. More information on 

Photograph copyright Steve Davey