5 in 1 Reflector

16th March 2020

Where you might need to practice (and it really is about practice), is in technically using the camera for self portraits whilst also using supplemental lighting to influence the final visual effect.

Tutor David Wyatt

Part of my feedback which arose from assignment three was about how I needed to research and practice supplemental lighting within my work. I already had a reflector set but had lost parts of it as I used them within an artwork I was working on and forgot to put everything back in the bag. I therefore bought myself a cheap set from Amazon made by Neewer.

The set that I chose is a 5 in 1 80cm kit which is collapsable which makes it easy to transport around especially for outdoor shooting. They are a tricky at first to collapse from a large circle of 80cm to smaller circle of 38cm which fits inside a bag. With the help of a Youtube video and my daughter we managed to collapse the reflectors after some comical tries. I have included a Youtube video below called ‘ ‘How to fold a reflector in two easy steps.’

Uploaded by Gavin Hoey 2008

What is a reflector?

Reflectors are used to manipulate and control the existing light within a shoot. Although reflectors are used for any type of photography subject they are used pre-dominantly for portraits and macro photography. They do not create light but are used to fix areas where the shadows are strong therefore lighting up the darker areas. They are not only versatile but can be bought fairly cheaply.

The reflectors are used to redirect the existing light that the photographer already has so it is not like a flash which adds extra light. I have read that the type of light and it’s quality will be the same as the light already within the setting that you are photographing within. Therefore the light that bounces off the reflector will be the same colour hue that it is catching to reflect.

To manipulate the colour and intensity of the rebounding light you can use a different colour reflector. I have written a list of the reflectors below and how they work.

  • Traditional white reflector = simple light bouncer, nice and soft (different soft light obtained to the diffuser reflector) – use as a fill
  • Silver reflector = brighter than the white
  • Gold reflector = changes the colour of the light by warming it a little with an orange tone
  • Diffuser material reflector = Add in front of a light source to diffuse the light to gain a soft light
  • Black reflector = a negative fill – if there is an evenly lit space and everything is perfectly exposed and you want to add a little dimension and shadow put the black reflector where you usually would put your fill as it soaks up the light EG in a bright room and face has no shadow to give a three dimensional image or outside on a dull day/ cloudy use the black reflector to add dimension. The black reflector can also be used to ‘flag’ off the extra light from a light source (block off the extra light) so that it does not spill onto something that you want to keep dark

Using a reflector

To use a simple reflector it is held at an angle so the light is reflected how you need it. This means that the light that is reflected, to a certain extent can be manipulated to suit the needs of the image.

  • If the reflector is in front of the light source = most/ brightest light
  • Layer on the floor helps under lying shadows
  • Increasing or decreasing distance can help to create softer or harder lighting

Reflector holder

To accompany my reflector set up I purchased two light stand attachments with clamps to hold the reflectors. This will leave my hands free and also means that I will not need someone else to help by holding the reflectors into place or to hold them in place by leaning them against objects.

The way that the holder is designed will enable me to move the reflectors into different angles so that I can bounce and fill and block light exactly where I need to.


16th March 2020

Just an additional note: Reflectors can be handmade using EG white card, colour card, tin foil etc….

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