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Using A Reflector For Better Photography

Updated on September 13, 2012

Using Light Reflectors Improves Photos

Photographers are always looking for the next best tool for their kit.

A light reflector makes lots of sense. And a 5-in-1 reflector package makes even more sense.

Reflectors can be a very inexpensive way to improve your photography without having to purchase costly light strobes or flash units.

All you need is some knowledge and practice about how to place them to get the best results.

Improve Your Light With A Reflector

Here is a really good example of what a reflector can do.

The image on the right was taken without using a reflector. The child's face is partially hidden in shadow.

Add a reflector and you can produce much better light for your picture as shown on the left side.

Photo comparison by Rockwell on the Amazon website

Improve Portraits With Reflectors

Many photographers use light boxes and multiple flash setups for their portraits. This equipment is expensive.

Fortunately, there is an alternative.

In this picture, a silver reflector was used to bounce light from the window onto the subject. (photo by Gaby G in Amazon photo gallery)

Just remember, practice makes perfect!

You can take advantage of friends and family members to practice using reflectors in your portrait photography.

One person can be your assistant while another is the model. Move the reflector around to see what each position does in relation to the light source. Just know that even a few inches makes a difference.

If there is no one around to act as your assistant, you can have your model hold the reflector. You will need to position the reflector so it is not in the photo, which may be a bit awkward, but not too bad.

Another option is to use a light stand with a clamp to hold the reflector.

There is always a way to get this done without too much of a problem.

5 in 1 Reflector Kit with Stand

A stand like the ones that comes with this Wescott 304 Reflector Kit and the Cowboy Studio Rectangular Reflector Kit give the photographer much more flexibility for placement when there is no assistant to hold the disc.

Cheaplights 6 PCS 3.75" Spring Clamps
Cheaplights 6 PCS 3.75" Spring Clamps

Clamps are very handy as "extra hands"


Folding 5-in-1 Reflectors For Storage

At first it kind of looks like the old Snoopy cartoon where he wrestles with the folding beach chair, but it really is not difficult at all.

Simple Shot With A 5-in-1 Reflector

This technique is quite simple to use.

Fotodiox 42" 5-in-1 Reflector Pro with Diffuser

When shooting on a bright sunny day, you generally get some very distinctive shadows. Shadows that sometimes make you want to quit shooting because they are so difficult to master.

The 5-in-1 reflector kits also come in rectangular shapes. This is the ePhoto REF4060 40x60-Inches 5 in 1

With the light diffuser included with a 5-in-1 Reflector kit, you can conquer that harsh light. It's really very simple.

The diffuser will act like an overhead cloud. It softens the otherwise unforgiving light and makes you look like a pro.

Of course, you can do the same thing with a homemade diffuser. Just take a piece of transluscent material and stretch it over a frame. But, shucks, for just a few dollars, you can have the diffuser along with the handy silver and gold reflectors, all of which come in the 5-in-1 kit.

Using A Diffuser To Soften Harsh Light

Please feel free to leave a comment or thought. - What is your experience with 5-in-1 reflectors.

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