A neutral density filter for your background? Using fabrics to create better outdoor portraits


posted Friday, August 5, 2016 at 2:30 PM EST


Full sun is not always the easiest condition for capturing portraits, but with the right gear, it can work very well. Photographer Joel Grimes has made a video for F.J. Westcott showing how to use their Scrim Jim Cine Frame to your advantage in harsh lighting conditions.

By utilizing diffusion fabric, you can soften the light dramatically and avoid harsh shadows caused by overhead lighting. This works very well and creates beautiful, soft light. However, the background can end up being far too bright when exposing for the face -- which is being lit by soft, diffused light. What can you do? Get a neutral density filter for your background, of course.

That is essentially what F.J. Westcott's Double Net Fabric does. While a bright background is not always a bad look, the background fabric offers a very natural-looking way to make your background darker when you're using natural light. Check out the set-up and results in the video below.

For the gearheads among us, Grimes used a Canon 5DS R with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. He used an 8 x 8 Scrim Jim Cine frame from F.J. Wescott and their 1-stop diffuser fabric in addition to the double net fabric mentioned above. 

To see more of Joel Grimes' work, visit his website. You can also see more of his videos with F.J. Wescott here.

(Seen via ISO 1200)