How to use Reflectors in Portrait Photography
A reflector is an important piece of equipment in photography; it is used to reflect light. It doesn't create the light; instead, it redirects it, or sometimes, it can redirect from a studio strobe. It is essential to fully understand the concept of reflectors for two major reasons. First is, the light from a reflector isn't brighter than what already is present, so it means you can’t increase the light unless you use a flash or some lighting source. The second is, the quality of light in the scene is superior. Let's suppose; you are shooting during a sunset, the light reflecting from the reflector will be the same as sunset, which is orange blue.
There are some exceptions; they come in different colors and types, so the reflective color may change based on the type of equipment you have. A tradition reflector bounces back the light, which looks nice and soft in photos. Silver reflectors are capable of enhancing the brightness of the light which can be suitable for a number of scenarios. A Gold reflector is designed to change the color of the light, making it a little bit orange.
When it comes to photography, light is an important element. Two types of lights that professionals work with are natural light and the artificial light. Some photographers use artificial lights to change the scenario to their advantage, and some use natural light whenever they find it. A reflector is an important tool that has made the job of photographers much easier. Let's discuss a few things about reflectors and how can you use it.
Selecting the Right Reflector
If you are buying a reflector for the first time, there are few options to consider. You will find a bunch of types which can make things difficult for you. Reflectors come in different sizes, shapes and in different colors. As we discussed above, there are gold and silver reflectors, or a combination of both.
The first thing that you have to keep in mind while buying one is the size. If you are someone who shoots photographs of individuals, a small reflector will work best. Of course, a bigger reflector gives you a larger area of soft light, but as any larger equipment, they are difficult to carry around, so you have to compromise. A 43" reflector is a general size that will give you easy access and softer light.
Once you have pinned down your size, the next thing to consider is shapes. There are some reflectors with frames, brackets, and handles. There are some without any fancy looking features. You can save money and buy a reflector with little options, but it is worth to buy something that is easy to use, even if you have to pay extra money for it.
The last thing you have to check in a reflector is the material. This is something you have to decide based on personal choice; it is not something that BnW collection strictly recommends. You can buy based on the conditions that you work in. We think that the white or silver mix is a pretty good option. Silver can be too reflective for some people, and Gold can be too warm. Good news for the newbies is, you can change the covers of reflectors.
How to Use a Reflector in Portrait Photography
Using a reflector for Portrait photography is a straight forward thing, just hold it at the right angle. You can see how light is changing and then adjust it. Find the best angle for your portrait photography.
Hold the reflector opposite to the source of light; it will give you a brighter light. Check how much light is available, you can reflect the light from various angles and positions. You just have to understand how to work with it.
You can easily fix shadows with a reflector. In case if it is behind your subject, then reflector can help reduce it. You can use it directly at the front, and it will eliminate the shadow. If the light is only at one side, use the reflector at the opposite side to get rid of the shadow. Sometimes an object can block the light, so place the reflector really close to the object, it will help.
A reflector is not only for upright angles. You can also put it on the ground when taking portrait photographs; it will get rid of under eye shadows.
There will be situations when you can’t use the reflector at the right angle; there is one thing you can do; attach it to a stand.
One last thing, distance is an important factor. Keep in mind that bigger light sources and close sources create softest lights. Use reflector close to your subject if you find the light too hard to deal with.
BnW Collections Conclusion
In our opinion, a good reflector is cheapest, versatile, useful, and simplest piece of equipment to enhance your photography experience. There are many ways to use a reflector; there are a variety of shapes, materials, and sizes available. There is surely one that suits your type of photography.