How To Use A Light Reflector

By | 22/11/2022

Having some proper lighting equipment is a central office of
taking professional-looking photos. It can give yous more than control over your photography and assistance you lot achieve better results.

Some examples of that equipment are speedlights and studio strobes, merely that kind of gear tin can exist expensive. If you’re looking for a simple style to start, reflectors for photography offer an affordable choice that tin assistance you manipulate the lighting in your shots. And even if you have a great set of lights, reflectors will still come in handy.

They are versatile pieces of equipment that tin can exist used in natural or artificial lighting to add together, remove, or diffuse light. Well-nigh photography reflectors are also durable and easy to ship.

Only there are many dissimilar types of reflectors for photography bachelor, and they’re not all created equal. So let’due south take a expect at some of the unlike reflectors you can get and how to all-time use them.

photo studio with lots of reflectors
  • White reflectors are platonic for
    fill light, which means they can be used to soften or eliminate shadows. The white surface provides natural-looking and neutral-colored light.

  • Silver reflectors tin provide the most lite, then they’re useful for situations where you accept dull conditions and want to reverberate as much light as possible. They tin also exist used to increase highlights and contrast. But you lot should avert using them in direct sunlight, equally the lite will be much likewise harsh.

  • Gilded reflectors can add a warm, gilded lite to your photography, and they are also useful for providing fill low-cal.

  • Translucent materials are used equally
    light diffusers, which can make your lighting less harsh and more even.

  • Black materials can be used to block or remove light from your composition.

Photography Reflector Sizes

Reflectors for photography come up in a multifariousness of sizes, and you’ll need to brand certain you lot become ane that’s large enough to suit your bailiwick. And then here’s a basic rundown of the dissimilar options and what they are used for.

  • Reflectors that measure out well-nigh 50″ (120cm) or larger are capable of handling total-length portraits or group photos.

  • Reflectors that measure at least 30″ (fourscore cm) are a expert fit when it comes to taking headshots or three-quarter-length portraits.

  • Reflectors with sizes smaller than 30″ are all-time used for close-ups and modest production photography.

With reflectors, information technology really is the bigger the amend, because having a larger reflector gives you the freedom to identify it farther from the subject and go more even lighting. The only existent benefits of choosing a smaller reflector are that it will be easier to handle and more affordable. And go on in listen, unless you purchase a photography reflector stand, you’ll need either an assistant who tin can hold information technology or a style to prop information technology up.

Photography Reflector Shapes

Most reflectors for photography are flat and either round or rectangular in shape, but there are some other options to consider. One example is curved reflectors that are popular in portrait and
fashion photography.

They can provide even lighting from multiple angles, and are typically used to light a subject’s face from underneath. This can remove shadows from the face up and neck, and aid to define the cheekbones and facial features.

One of the nigh popular models is the
Eyelighter from Neewer, simply there are other like reflectors available. They are sometimes chosen “clamshell” reflectors because they are perfect for utilise as role of a clamshell lighting setup. That’s a mutual technique in headshot photography that uses two lights, with one higher up the subject and i below. But if you’re using a clamshell reflector, you lot only demand 1 light above the bailiwick and the reflector acts as the second light source.

Low-cal umbrellas are another type of reflector and their shape tin make the reflected light easier to control. That’s because they reflect the lite on a more than focused area than a flat reflector. In reflective umbrella photography, the light source such every bit a studio strobe is aimed away from the subject and direct into the umbrella, and the umbrella reflects information technology back onto the subject.

man lying on light reflector

How to Utilize a Reflector in Indoor Photography

Reflectors are a key piece of equipment for studio photography. They are frequently used for portraits to soften shadows. For example, to soften shows under the subject area’s chin or eyes, you tin place a reflector just in front of them or in their lap.

Reflectors are too ideal in product photography as y’all can employ them to soften shadows on the background or a surface that the production is sitting on. Try placing your reflector opposite to your main light source to create fill light that softens the harshest shadows in your composition.

How to Employ Reflectors in Outdoor Photography

Reflectors for photography are as well very useful when shooting portraits in natural light.

If you want to shoot an outdoor portrait where the subject field is backlit, you’ll probably find that you too need a light source in front. Otherwise, your subject’southward features will be hidden in shadow.

Try using a reflector directly in front of the subject to provide more than even lighting. To create a dramatic effect, endeavour moving the reflector to one side to experiment with how it lets y’all manipulate shadows.

Some other situation where reflectors will assist with outdoor photography is when shooting in weak light. Some examples are when y’all shoot in the shade or on an overcast day. In those cases, a reflector comes in handy to gather the available light and direct it where you lot need information technology.

How to Utilise a Reflector in Brilliant Sunlight

Whenever yous’re using a light reflector for outdoor portraits, you should avoid having your subject look directly at the reflector. Y’all’ll be reflecting sunlight into their eyes, and the UV calorie-free can crusade impairment. Also, remember to avoid using a argent-colored reflector, as it will reflect the sunlight like a mirror and be too harsh.

indoor studio setup

This 5-in-ane photography reflector features removable and reversible covers that provide all five standard colors. This photography reflector comes in a range of sizes, but the 43″ (109 cm) is a good and versatile pick. It’s available for
$44.95 on Amazon.

The Premium Option: Lastolite TriFlip viii:one Kit

If yous desire more features and have some money to spend, this triangular light reflector offers more than color options. It provides all the standard color options plus extras: white, Softsilver (a whiter silvery), Sunlight (a silver aureate), and Sunfire (a darker aureate). If you take the covers off, the surface underneath is translucent and acts equally a two-finish diffuser.

The triangular shape as well makes it easier for an assistant to handle when y’all’re shooting, and it has large, comfortable handles. This photography lite reflector is available for
$119.88 from B&H.

The Virtually Rugged Reflector: Profoto Collapsible Calorie-free Reflector

If you want a reflector for photography that can stand up to abuse, look no further than this rugged model. It’s designed for on-location shoots and has the features to prove it. It has a sturdy collapsible metal frame and comes in a tough carrying case. It’southward waterproof, dustproof, and lightweight—perfect for lugging to your shoot location, wherever that might exist. This photo reflector is 50″ (120cm) and is available for
$145.00 from Profoto
.

Curved Photography Reflector: Neewer Eyelighter Reflector

If you’re planning on focusing on headshots, style photography, or dazzler photography, you should consider picking up this curved reflector. Its arc-shape can provide even more lighting from multiple angles in a variety of situations, merely it’s platonic for providing extra light on a subject field’southward face from underneath. It features professional-grade construction but won’t pause the bank. It is available for
$105.99 from Amazon.

Making a DIY Photo Reflector

If you want to save some money or start experimenting with reflectors for photography before deciding which 1 to buy, going with a DIY reflector tin can be a practiced route. They only require a few inexpensive materials that are piece of cake to discover. Here is a simple photography reflector DIY guide:

  • Buy a large piece of white display lath from an art store. Alternatively, you lot tin can use whatever flat, white, and lightweight lath y’all may take on paw.

  • Choose a silver-colored reflective fabric. You can use tinfoil or a shiny wrapping paper. A mylar emergency coating from a camping supplies store is a more durable option.

  • Crumple the reflective material repeatedly to create small wrinkles and a more even texture. (This will help prevent hot spots, which means when the calorie-free gets reflected back unevenly and creates bright areas on the subject.)

  • Comprehend 1 side of the board in the cogitating fabric, using a glue stick or spray agglutinative.

That’southward it! You at present have a unproblematic, ii-sided reflector with a white side and a silver side. Continue in mind, there are a couple of drawbacks to DIY reflectors:

  • They often don’t look pretty, so y’all may desire to avoid using DIY reflectors when shooting clients. Using a store-bought reflector will assistance y’all look like a professional.

  • DIY reflectors ordinarily don’t stand up upwardly to abuse very well.

  • DIY reflectors are unremarkably not as piece of cake to transport.

Reflect on What You lot’ve Learned

Now you know how to use reflectors in photography and some of the options out at that place for getting started. At that place are many models to choose from to adjust different types of photography, or you lot tin build your own.

Once yous become comfortable using reflectors to dispense low-cal, don’t forget to evidence off your results on your
online photography portfolio. By giving you lot more control over the light and shadow in your compositions, photography reflectors can help have your piece of work to the side by side level.

Want to learn more than about how to utilize low-cal in your photography?


Key Lite Photography: A Beginner’s Guide


Silhouette Photography 101: Chief The Nuts


Cinematographer’s Guide to Using Natural Light


Source: https://www.format.com/magazine/resources/photography/photography-light-reflectors-guide