Reflectors & How to use them

I’m sure you’ve seen a photographer taking portraits of a bride or groom and saw someone holding a giant white circle. Ever wonder what that was for?

A reflector comes in handy when shooting both indoor & outdoor photos. Using a reflector you can bounce existing light onto your subject. Most reflectors come with 3 colors: white, transparent white & black. Others have 5 variations of bouncing light that are: White, Black, Transparent White, Gold and Silver.

White: is most common because it add an even amount of light back into the subject.

Black: Used to absorb light. Most commonly used to reduce reflections on glass but also used to assist in creating a more dramatic single side lite photo.

Silver: Much stronger then the white.  Great for catching window light and reflecting for subjects indoors. Some photographers use this outdoors, but personally I think it makes the image look a little fake or gives it too much of a look like it was from a flash.

Gold: similar strength but more natural tones outdoors than silver. Adds warmth to the reflection to better imitate the sun’s rays.

Here are some examples of how different one subject can look, using different reflectors.


No Reflector


White Reflector


Silver Reflector


Gold Reflector

I hope these photos give you a little bit of a visual in the different lighting techniques. You can uses these techniques without buying a professional reflector too! I’ve seen some photographers paint a big piece of cardboard one side silver and the other gold, because she just wanted to practice and see if she’d use a reflector before she bought one. OR if you keep your eye open, while your shooting outdoors, you can use light reflecting off white or silver buildings! Just get your creativity flowing and try it out! It will definitely help your photography!



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