How to achieve ultra-soft lighting with flash

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There is nothing more beautiful than some buttery natural light at just the right time of day. But what if you want to get that ultra-soft looking light when using flash? Many times flash can look, well, “flashy.” But, if we really know how to finess it and move that light to the right position, we can truly get some very soft light that looks incredible. We have starting using what is called Feathering, in order to make any light modifier (large or small) look softer that it normally does. We do this by moving the light off-center so it is not directly pointing at our subject. When you do this, you help even out the light (since light tends to be strongest in the center of most light sources), and the results can be stunning. In the video below that we shot with our friends over at Westcott Lighting, you will notice that instead of shooting the light straight at her and above (glamour lighting) I tilted the light so it was almost pointing downward to the floor, then moved the light slightly in front of her so just the very edge of the light source was hitting her. When done properly, this evens out the light source and lets just the ultra soft edging of the light hit and light her face.   Check out the video below which showcases just how we accomplished this lighting!

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Light pointing down and slightly in front of our subject.

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with reflector underneath (Clam Shell Lighting)

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No reflector underneath.

  To see another example of what else  light feathering can do, check out this post! Lighting 3 guys with your main light REALLY close