I imagine that upon reading the title, you are expecting me to say something like my nifty 50 lens or my new flash head. While those are most definitely must haves, they are not my most important piece of equipment in my kit. Do you want to know what it is? Of course you do or else you wouldn’t still be reading this!
My most important piece of equipment is….a sheer white curtain. Wait what?
Yes, you read that right. A curtain. Some of my best images are made with a cheap sheer white curtain. I originally got the idea from portrait photographer Sue Bryce. The sheet is incredibly versatile, packs well and is handy both on location and in my Charlotte studio.
In the studio, I hang the curtain on a window to diffuse or soften the light. We all know that I adore soft lighting and tend to shoot wide open but am always in need of bending the light to how I need it. This curtain is the best way to do that. I can use one for a soft diffusion or I can add multiple to stop down the light further.
My favorite studio trick is to place my subject directly in front of the window for a natural light high key image. I love shooting my contemporary portraits this way because there is this beautiful, soft halo around my subject that brings out the sexy in every woman. Add a bit of reflection to the front end and shoot away. You’ll thank me later.
When on location, I use the curtain as a diffuser. I do not use the curtain as often on location but it does come in handy on those harsh sunny days. You simply place the curtain above the client to diffuse that harsh lighting that creates terrible shadows. I only use this option when I have extra hands on location. I can also use it for a soft reflector if I needed it.
Not only is the curtain used to diffuse and reflect light, but it also doubles as clothing. I make a dresses out of multiple curtains or I create a soft boudoir look for my client to wrap herself in.
There you have it. My most versatile piece of equipment in my photography kit. You can get yours’ at any Dollar Store or Target. It does not matter the material. I tend to use the sheer curtains for a small stop of light but others use a thicker curtain for greater stops of light. You may even use a sheet but I find that sheets are too big and cumbersome. There are reflectors that do this but if you are truly on a budget or just want to simplify your kit, I highly recommend the curtain.
I hope you enjoyed this part of my What’s in My Kit series. Stay tuned as I write about my 50mm lens, new strobe, and many others.
Thanks for stopping by!