How To Eliminate Shadows In Portrait Photography

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How to choose and apply a reflector to get rid of shadows in portrait photography

(Prototype credit: N-Photo Mag)

A photograph reflector will often give you all the control you lot need to achieve perfectly lit portraits, however lifes, macro shots and any other kind of epitome where the subject isn’t too big and y’all tin go upwards close to it.

Reflectors are perfect for those situations where you’ve got a single, strong light source, such as a window or solitary lamp, and need to balance information technology by adding low-cal from the other side and then that the shadows don’t appear too dumbo. All you have to practice is hold the reflector on the other side of your subject field so it ‘bounces’ calorie-free dorsum into the darker areas of shadow.

A reflector immediately improves a portrait lit by natural or ambient light. In the shot on the left (without the reflector) the shadows are strong and unflattering. In the shot on the right (with the reflector) the shadows are much softer, showing more facial detail and providing a more pleasing picture.

A reflector immediately improves a portrait lit by natural or ambient light. In the shot on the
(without the reflector) the shadows are strong and unflattering. In the shot on the
(with the reflector) the shadows are much softer, showing more facial detail and providing a more pleasing moving picture.

(Image credit: N-Photograph Magazine)

How to use a reflector

01: Hold and shoot

(Prototype credit: Due north-Photo Magazine)

If y’all’re shooting a head-and-shoulders portrait, you might be close enough to concur the reflector yourself. If the calorie-free is coming from the left, cantankerous your hands over and rest your camera hand on your left wrist. However, make sure you don’t get so close that your subject’south features become distorted.

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portrait photography tips

02: A helping hand

(Image credit: N-Photo Magazine)

Getting someone else to agree the reflector makes a big difference. Not only does information technology leave you with both easily free to operate the camera, it also enables you lot to stand further dorsum and use a longer focal length. This produces a much more flattering perspective for portrait shots.

03: Pick a color

(Image credit: N-Photo Mag)

A white reflector is usually the best option for portraiture (and for all the same life). Nonetheless,  many commercially-bought reflectors come with two or more dissimilar colored reflector surfaces . This gilt reflector produces a really warm, rich tone, which volition requite paler-skinned subjects a good for you, tanned look. A silvered finish that gives a brighter, more sparkly light.

04: Spotter the catch

(Image credit: N-Photograph Mag)

‘Catchlights’ are reflections of your lite source in your subject’s optics, and they’re what give the optics their life and sparkle. If you’re careful, you lot tin control the size of the catchlights by moving the reflector in and out. You tin can see them here on the right side of our model’s optics.

How to choose a reflector

Commercially available reflectors usually accept a highly cogitating, matt white surface that gives even, neutral illumination. Only yous can besides go other types that provide a range of different furnishings. For case, gold reflectors provide attractive, warm skin tones in portrait shots, while metal silver foil finishes produce a vivid, sparkly calorie-free.

05: Small reflectors

(Epitome credit: North-Photo Magazine)

This miniature reflector folds up small plenty to fit into any gadget bag, just is yet large enough to produce great fill up-in low-cal for caput shots. Reflectors like these are peculiarly handy to utilise because they fold up to fit into a small-scale comport pouch. But bigger reflectors allow you lot to place them farther abroad from the subject, and light larger areas.

06: Reflectors with handles

(Image credit: Due north-Photo Magazine)

This Lastolite TriGrip is considerably bigger, but it provides more than backup calorie-free, and has a solid grip for easy one-handed apply. A handle is particularly useful if you lot don’t have an banana to concord the reflector for you.

07: v-in-one reflectors

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This Phottix 5-in-1 reflector has removable, and reversible sleeves, so you tin can provide a broad multifariousness of reflector colors and effects in the i collapsible lighting accessory.

08: Full-length reflectors

(Image credit: Due north-Photo Mag)

Human-sized Full-length portraits need a full-length reflector. This dual-terminate Lastolite is difficult to handle only packs down into a manageable size. The bigger the reflector, the trickier information technology becomes to fold it dorsum into its patch. With full-length collapsible reflectors there is a real knack to this!

09 Homemade reflectors

(Image credit: Due north-Photo Magazine)

This home-made reflector is fine for head-and-shoulders shots, and you lot tin can bending the  ii panels separately for an all-round fill effect.’ Alternatively, you tin brand your own reflector – y’all just need two sheets of A3-size white cream lath, available from well-nigh stationery stores. You and so tape these together with masking tape.

For smaller subjects, yous tin can utilise information technology folded, while for larger subjects you tin open up it out to A3 to provide more fill-in light. The ‘hinge’ in the middle means you can stand the reflector upwardly, which is ideal for table-superlative and still-life photography.

Yous tin also use a sail, some white paper or whatever other reflective surface in place of a proper reflector. You can even use a mirror, which volition provide a mirror image – literally – of your main light source.

Read more

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Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera Globe and across Future’s entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Caput of Testing for the photography division and Photographic camera Aqueduct editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more than.

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