Photographic reflectors are among the most important tools any photographer needs. The reflector comes in many sizes, shapes, and colors. For beginners, it may be hard to see what’s so great about this reflector. To enlighten you, let’s look at these 6 tips to use photographic reflectors for your next shoot.
How To Use Photographic Reflectors Correctly
1. Choose the Right Photographic Reflector
There are so many different shapes and sizes of reflectors that you can choose from. There are rectangular, round, and even triangular reflectors, each with different sizes and colors. Of course, it depends on what kind of photography you will take. Is it going to portrait photography? Or just simple studio photography?
Many reflectors come in 42” size one. With this size, the reflector is easy to use and reflects the light just perfectly. You can choose from the silver, gold, white, black, or a combination of white reflector and silver reflector for photography. For versatility, make sure you pick collapsible reflector. You can easily change the surface of the reflector to suit your needs.
Then there are diffusers. The diffuser is a multi-surface reflector that will usually be based around a translucent diffuser panel. This is great for softening direct light. Even there are 5-in-1 reflectors. A pretty useful reflector kit, that made us easier to take anywhere. Some photography reflector are also detachable, enabling you to change the screen to any color or dark shadows of your choice.
2. Using The Photography Reflectors on an Outdoor Shoot
When shooting outdoor, you just cannot always expect having a good weather. Sometimes, the sky is clear, but there are not enough light. This is where you can use photographic reflectors as a fill light. You can use reflector to reflect a soft light and make an even more softer light.
Or, in the case you find yourself working with too much natural light, you can use reflector to diffuse light. Simply put your reflector between your subject and the sun to create a balance and flat lighting.
Reflectors are also great for photographers who want to capture backlit photos that create this beautiful rim light or halo effect but still draws attention to the front side of the subject. Simply put the reflectors right in front of the subject. You can play around with the angle to find the perfect one for your photos.
3. Using the Reflector on an Indoor shoot
Don’t think that reflectors are only useful for outdoor shoots. In studio environment, even with big lamps and glares, you can still find reflector to be useful as your key light. Using side reflectors as key light is even normal in many indoor shooting.
Why use reflector on an indoor shoot? This is because you may see plenty of harsh shadows in indoor shoots. That’s why a lot of beauty shots or product photography done inside a studio heavily rely on reflectors. For example, you want to soften the shadow around the neck. Just position the reflector underneath it or on the lap of the model.
4. Using the Reflector to Adjust Shadow
In relation to the previous point, it’s true that photography reflectors can be used to soften the shadow. However, it functions far more than just that. Inside a studio with a heavy lighting set, it’s a common problem that the photos turn out looking flat. Here’s how you can make the photos look more dynamic; use black reflectors! You can position the black reflector on one side to create a smoldering effect.
5. Using the Reflector as the Light Source
Perhaps you have limited resources or a difficult location to shoot photos at where it’s hard for you to bring all the lighting equipment that you need. Now, you don’t have to worry because you can just bring a speed-light and photographic reflector.
Together with the reflector, the speed-light can be used to create a soft light source. Simply flash your speed-flight and and let your reflector reflects light to hit the subject nicely.
6. Using the Reflector to Block Light
Reflector is not used to reflect light only; it can be used to block unwanted light. Make sure to use the black reflector since it is the best one when it comes to block and subtract light.
But, why do you need to block available light? Well, sometimes to many light, especially bouncing light, is unwanted.
A bright day with blue sky is always welcomed, until you saw many reflected light coming from every tall building you can find. This is where reflector can be handy: it can bring you all the light you need for your photos, and it can block reflected light you do not need. Whether it is natural or artificial light, reflectors can help you block all of them.
In the studio, you can also utilize black reflector to create dramatic shadows which can give your image an extra edge when needed. Simply put the black reflector and aim it towards the part that you want to cast a shadow on.
Try to Use Photographic Reflectors for Your Photo Shoots
Those are some tips on how to use photographic reflectors. Blocking and reflecting light is a necessary skill if you want to master your photography. It can be hard at first. However, practice often and you will find yourself naturally manipulating lights around your subject.
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