• May 29, 2017
What purpose do reflectors serve in photography?

"Photography is all about capturing the light. There are many tools and accessories available for the photographers to manipulate light while shooting. Here is one such simple to use accessory and a guide on how to take the best out of it."

What purpose do reflectors serve in photography?

Yes, we are talking about reflectors. Reflectors are used to bounce back, reflect, diffuse or modify the lights in an indoor or outdoor shoot and the light source could be natural or studio lights. They are mostly used in portrait photography to fill the shadows, soften the lights and beautify the looks

Choosing a Reflector:

Reflectors are available in various shapes, sizes, and colors. If you are about to buy or use a reflector for the first time than it’s a daunting task.Let us first talk about the size & shapes and then later discuss the color basics.

Choice of size and shape:

It is recommended to select a reflector which serves your purpose, is easy to carry around, hold and is versatile for usage. 5-in-1 round shaped reflectors of size 40” and 42” are generally used in portraits which are also easy to carry around. In the case of bigger frame reflectors, you may need help from an assistant to hold them.

Reflector Colors Basics:

Reflectors come in white, silver, gold, black, and translucent colors. Each color is used for different results, let’s see;

Silver: Fill light and shine in the portraits. Can increase the highlights and contrast, also fills the shadows with soft light.

Model and Assistant by Garry Knight (CC 2.0 some rights reserved)
Use of silver reflector to shine the shadows and create a contrast. [Taking is help from assistant to hold a reflector is ideal.]

Gold: To give warm colors and fill light. Creates a perfect golden hour look.

A golden reflector creates a warm light and filling up the shadows perfectly.

White: Fill light, diffuser and reduce shadows. Produces an even neutral-coloured light bounce. 

Black: To subtract the harsh lights in outdoor shoots and also to block light.

A white reflector to fill the shadows and lighten up the face along with a Black reflector to block extra light from the harsh light source.

Translucent: It is used to diffuse the light and produces a broad light source and softens the light.

A translucent reflector to create a broad and soft light on the subject.

That’s all you need to know to get started with reflectors in your photo shoots.

Now is the right time to take your portrait shoots to the next level. If you are going to use a reflector for the first time then you will absolutely love them and there is hardly any chance that you won’t take them on every other photo shoot. This not so expensive accessory can dramatically improve the quality and composition of photos.

Reflectors are the backbone of portrait photo shoots and are almost used by all the photographers. Get a reflector for yourself and start your experiments with light. 

Good luck!