When it comes to photography, nothing will work unless you have light. In the photographers world there are two different types of light, the artificial and natural light. Natural light is usually a preferred setting for many professional photographers, but you work in a less controlled environment unless you utilize things like a photography reflector or photography umbrella. Here are some simple tips to use a photography reflector effectively and help enhance the photographs by bouncing that natural light.
Choosing the Right Photography Reflector
If you have not shopped for a reflector before, this process might be a little overwhelming for you. These reflectors come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The first thing that you will need to do is decide on the size you will need. If you are only shooting individual portraits, a small reflector works best. The larger the reflector, the larger area of softer light you can work with. Next you will need to consider the shape of your reflector. Some of these have handles for easy moving and adjusting, brackets, and frames. The more features, the more you can expect to pay. The 5 in 1 reflector will obviously cost a little more due to the fact it can do five things as opposed to a smaller unit that only does one. Lastly, consider the material you prefer working with. Silver material can be too reflective on sunny days but perfect for indoor shooting. Some models come with several cover choices to allow you to change depending on the outdoor conditions.
Using the Reflector
There are just as many ways to use the reflector as there is different type reflectors. There units you can hold yourself, have the subject hold, have an assistant hold, lean against something, or ones that are utilized in a stand. The photography umbrella will help to either enhance the images once the reflector is in place. The larger the light source in comparison to your subject, the softer you can expect the light to be. The reflector basically reflects your light source to the subject, so instruct the subject to not look direct at it, especially direct sunlight. Once you have the subject and reflector in place, move the reflector back and forth until the light hitting the subject is ideal. After moving the reflector back and forth a few times you will easily see the difference and be able to select the ideal conditions. A photography background can absorb a tremendous amount of light while directing just the right amount to the subject.
Working With Natural Light
Every photographer will have their own personal preferences when it comes to dealing with natural light. If you are using the reflector correctly, you can begin to incorporate more of the photography background into the shoot. In many outdoor situations you will find that there is not adequate light on the face of the subject and dark shadows will appear. Simply place a large reflector in front of the subject on the ground or a specific angle. Adjusting the reflector will eliminate those dark areas without blinding your subject. On overcast days you will notice that dark shadows will form under the subject’s eyes, a quick fix with a small reflector placed right on their lap or just out of the shot. Outdoor shooting can be very difficult for a beginning photographer because lighting is never the same at any given moment. Having a wide variety of colored reflectors on hand will ensure that you can maintain some normalcy in the shots regardless if the clouds start rolling in right in the middle of your shoot.
Working with Artificial Light
Working in the studio has one distinct advantage over outdoor shooting, you can easily control the lighting so that it is more consistent throughout the shoot by utilizing things like a photography umbrella or photography background. Even for something as simple as a headshot, a reflector allows you to get the right amount of light on the subject and automatically gives you the right ratio-correct fill light. One of the advantages to using a photography umbrella is that the flash is reflected off the umbrella and then to the subject, so the light is not as glaring as it would be coming from direct sunlight off a reflector. Bouncing the artificial light using a soft-box provides you ample lighting for just about any type subject. Experimenting to get the right mood is easy with reflectors, you can bounce a small flash off of a larger reflector to create soft, large lighting. Small reflectors are ideal for outdoor shoots because they can easily be placed just outside of the range of the camera but still improve the lighting on the subject matter.
Working With Landscape Shooting
Working with landscapes means you are now shooting a larger area that you obviously can not control the lighting for. The best photographers however utilize the landscape as their photography background, then use the photography reflector to focus the attention to either a key element or a subject placed in the foreground. The reflector is ideal for wedding shoots outside where the couple want to capture the surrounding location in the shots but still want to be the focus of attention. Rather than letting the beautiful surroundings take over the entire image, the reflector will cast a unique amount of light so that the couple almost appear to bounce off the picture. Working with a 5 in 1 reflector allows the photographer to adjust the tone of the light on the subject to produce different shots without anyone moving. Utilizing the different color reflectors can have a drastic impact on the way the pictures will appear when complete.
Jump in and Get Working
The key to taking great pictures is to experiment with your reflectors and understand which types work best in certain conditions. Although you have more control of your light indoors, the lighting can appear fake looking if you are not reflecting it properly. The same can be said for natural lighting. Not using the reflector the right way can cast too much light on the subject and bleach out the final product. The 5 in 1 reflector is probably the most versatile piece of lighting equipment that you could purchase. There really is no limitation to ways that you can use the reflectors, and as you get more experience, you will develop your own style that will help you to create masterpieces when you work.
There are a tremendous amount of reflector sizes, shapes, colors, brands, and styles to choose from. You might not find the perfect reflector on your first try, so experiment small and work you way up. The big advantage to buying the 5 in 1 reflector is you are getting five different unique settings for the price of one. This allows you more control over the conditions regardless if you are indoors or outdoors. Regardless if you are shooting portraits in a studio or working with subjects outdoors, the reflectors give you the opportunity to control your surroundings so that you can develop your own style that will set you apart from other photographers.