Reflectors are a great way to manipulate light, especially for natural light photography. Reflectors allow you to “bounce light” onto your subject when using the sun as your source of light.
Reflector Size and Shapes
Reflectors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be rectangular, circular, or square. Usually smaller reflectors work great if shooting one subject. However, the larger the reflector, the more light it will reflect onto your subject(s). Larger reflectors can be somewhat difficult to handle though.
Reflectors also come in several different colors. Each color produces a different type of light on your subject.
Gold will reflect more of a warm tone on your subject. White reflects more of a soft natural light. Silver reflects a brighter light. The color you choose will depend on the overall look you are going for.
You can purchase them individually, or in a set that includes all colors.
How To Use a Reflector
As mentioned earlier, a reflector does exactly what it says, it reflects and bounces light. You can have someone assist you and hold the reflector, or you can prop it up against something or use a stand.
You simply position the reflector so that the sun or natural light is hitting it and the reflected fill light is hitting your subject. It is wise to instruct your subject not to look directly at it, as the reflection can be quite strong and bright to sensitive eyes.
Choose the color that fits the amount and tone of light you are going for. Make sure that the sun is not blocked by things such as branches or even your subject, as they can cast a shadow that prevents the sun from creating a reflective fill light.
When shooting on an overcast day or using the sun as backlighting (behind your subject), you tend to see shadows on parts of the face and you lose the catch-lights in the eyes of your subject. Reflectors are great for bouncing the light to those areas depending on where you position them.
Using Reflectors In Studio
While reflectors are great for natural light photography, they can also be useful for studio photography.
Instead of reflecting light from the sun, you just bounce light from the artificial lighting you are using, such as speed lights. It’s a great way to give you a second source of light without using multiple flashes.
Reflectors are an affordable easy way to help you get that fill light you are going for whether you are working with natural or artificial lighting. The size, shape, and color you need will vary depending on the tone and amount of reflective light you need. They make a great addition to any photographer’s arsenal of gear.