Our Guide to Working with a Reflector

Using a Reflector for Fill Light

If you’ve ever taken any portraits, you’ll know how often unflattering shadows show up, particularly across a subject’s face. This can ruin an image. However, you can use a reflector to redirect soft light, avoiding those shadows. There are two ways to avoid this: use a silver or gold reflector. (Having a reflector that comes with multiple reflective surfaces is a big plus.) Also, the amount of light or where you’re shooting can dictate which one to use:

  • Silver for shade: If you’re shooting in the shade, we recommend using silver, the most reflective. In the shade, you’ll be working with limited light, and silver helps you capture the most light to bounce. You can try various angles or distances.

  • White for sunlight: When shooting in bright light, you might need to use white instead of silver. Silver would probably reflect way too much light, resulting in a harshly lighted image. The white side of the reflector will help soften the light and diminish shadows. It’s a more flattering look for the subject, particularly on the face and skin tones.

Best Reflector for Headshots

If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably realized that reflectors are ideal for portrait headshots. You can diffuse, block, or divert light to obtain the most flattering look for any subject. If you specialize in portraits or headshots, we recommend keeping on hand several colors or types of reflectors, giving your more options and flexibility.

Don’t be shy about experimenting and moving the reflector around to play around with the light. You can start with placing it immediately opposite your light source to bounce the fill light or right in front and below your subject to soften the light.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you’ve found our tips on photography reflectors useful! As you gain more experience with reflectors, you will find selecting sizes, colors, and positioning easier. You’ll also find them one of the most impactful tools in photography, well worth your time.

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