Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Save a strobe: use a reflector!

with reflector
With reflector (f/4, 1/160, ISO 100)

without reflector
Without reflector (same settings)

Recently, I have been using reflectors much more than I used to...and I must say that they're quickly becoming my new favorite way to light! I guess I am the last to figure this out. I mean, reflectors are pretty much the most basic lighting tool you can use (besides nothing at all). You can use the white side of a reflector to add soft gentle light and fill in shadows, or the shiny side with direct sun to give a main light that is indistinguishable from a strobe. I have also been using them to block direct light and prevent harsh shadows when shooting in mid-day sunlight.

Here's the rundown on reflectors...

Pros: they're cheap, very portable and lightweight, and only require sunlight. You can shoot at any shutter speed (unlike strobes, which are limited by a sync speed). You can't really overpower your main light with a reflector-so it's hard to overdo it.

Cons: you need someone to hold your reflector (unless you want to carry a heavy reflector stand and still have it sail away in the slightest breeze). You are limited somewhat by where the sun is in terms of what angle you can use the reflector.

In the example above, you can see the huge difference that a white reflector adds to the lighting. The exposure settings are exactly the same...the only difference is a small reflector held a few feet away. These are straight out of camera. Cool huh?

BTW, you don't need to go out and buy a reflector. Anything that is flat and white or reflective will work...a big piece of white cardboard, some foam core (used for art projects), those shiny things that people put in their cars windshield to block the sun, a white wall, a big sheet, look around and be resourceful!

Model: Olia Ann

1 comment:

  1. Good points. I have a 32" 5 in 1 that I really should use more often. Thanks for the reminder!


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