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Reflector Basics

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Reflector Basics

Photography Reflector Basics

A reflector is often seen in the possession of many professional photographers. If asked, they would probably say that it was one of the basic must-haves for every serious photographer. Since light is a major aspect of any picture, it makes sense that the ability to manipulate that light, to make sure it does what you want, is important. That is where the reflectors come in. Think of it as an inexpensive option for a second light.

Reflectors Types

There are four different colors of reflectors that each have different functions and specialties.

Silver Reflectors

This is the reflector that reflects the most light. These are the most often used reflector in studios because the silver doesn’t alter or change the color of the reflected light, and the light remains fairly neutral and balanced. This reflector works well at varying distances from your subject and it is ideal for photographing portraits.

White Reflectors

More flexible between indoor and outdoor use. Since the white reflector doesn’t catch and bounce back as much light as the silver reflector it is the intermediary between indoor reflectors and outdoor reflectors. If you think you’ll be using it often both inside and out, this is your best option. Ideal for product photography.

The amount of light being bounced is lesser while using the white reflector. This effect also produces what would be considered a more soft, less intense look than the gold and silver options.

Gold Reflectors

Best used outdoors where the gold of the reflector catches and amplifies the hue of the sun. If used indoors the same effect will happen as outdoors with one huge exception, the light being reflected will be very harsh yellow. It is best if restricted to outdoor use unless you are wanting that yellowish hue. Ideal for outdoor photography.

A gold reflector is mostly used in sunrise or sunset situations to pull that extra golden light. This reflector creates a tone that is used with intention. Although the added warmth can be visually appealing, it is best to use this sparingly as to avoid a harsh, unrealistic depiction of color and unbalancing of natural skin tone.

Black Reflectors

This is more the opposite of other reflectors. It is able to absorb rather than reflect the pre-existing light. This reflector is good for when you have too much light bouncing area in your chosen photography area, and you need to lessen the amount of light that appears on the subject. Such types of reflectors are often used in studio situations to create a blockage of light that frames the subject more proportionally. Ideal for reflective photography.

When positioning your reflector there isn’t a specific place that is correct. However, getting the reflected light to be where you want it requires it to be positioned. Simply move your reflector around, while you look for the light to reflect on your subject. Once you have found what position best suits you, either use an assistant or a reflector boom arm to hold the reflector in place.

All the possibilities these different reflectors provide ample opportunities to improve and enhance the lighting of your photography.

Why Use a Reflector?

The main purpose of a reflector is to bounce light as well as the option to diffuse it. More times than none, this act of bouncing allows the light to reach areas that would otherwise appear shadowed and dark. The most popular reflector is called a 5-in-1, which has has five different options based on the lighting you hope to achieve. The reflector is adjustable based on varying colors that make up the surface.

Photography Reflector: Quick Photography Tip

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How To Choose The Right Reflector for Your Photography

YouTube video

How to Use a Reflector for Portraits

YouTube video

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  1. i have a lot of interest with photography, i try to learn with many websites, its actually very difficult to learn with web and also i am very strange with photography some terms are bit hard to understand,also i have one request, kindly upload some pics related to the experiments, it will help e to get the point easily, thank you for your effort.

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