Table of contents:

How to use a reflector for photography?
How to use a reflector for photography?

Many believe that a real photographer needs only a camera and nothing more. But it's not. As a rule, a professional in his field, in addition to the camera, has a whole arsenal of additional tools. Alas, it is not always possible to get truly beautiful photographs with only a camera. In this article, you will learn about such a device as a reflector for photography.

What is a photoreflector and what does it look like

What is the most important tool for a photographer? This is the light! So, it is simply impossible for a photographer to do without a photo reflector. If you are new to this business and have never held this gadget in your hands, and indeed have no idea what it looks like, let's sort it out in order.

A photoreflector is a structure that consists of a frame and a reflective material stretched over it. It is completely mobile and easy to use. With its help, the photos are much better and better quality. The described design is also called a reflector, light disk or screen, but the term "photoreflector" better conveys the whole meaning and principle of its use.

Reflector forphotography comes in many shapes, colors and has its purpose.

photography reflector usage rules

What do you need a reflector for when shooting?

The principle of operation of a photoreflector, as the name implies, is to reflect light. Basically, this device is used when shooting a portrait to highlight the details that are in the shadows, thereby aligning the overall illumination of the frame.

Also, under certain conditions, the reflector can be used as a light source. For example, you are taking a portrait of a model who is standing sideways by the window. What will happen in the end if you do not use additional funds? Of course, the part of the face that is directed towards the window will be light, and the other part will be in shadow. Accordingly, half of the face will simply fall into darkness. The frame is not exactly perfect. And if the side that is in the shade is illuminated with a reflector, you will notice a significant difference. The overall illumination of the frame will be even.

Another option is to shoot outdoors on a sunny day. The photo will definitely have ugly shadows from the sun's rays. This trouble can be easily corrected by a reflector. Now you have seen how important this accessory is not only for a professional, but also for a beginner photographer.

reflector for photography

What kind of reflectors are there?

As we have already said, they make reflectors of different shapes, sizes, colors and purposes:

  1. The shape of the reflectors are round, square, oval and rectangular.
  2. They also have the smallest sizes,and big ones. The most optimal is a reflector with a diameter of half a meter to a meter. Of course, the most practical option would be a 5 in 1 photography reflector, which, in addition to the base (white fabric), has 4 more covers in different colors.

Each color of the photoreflector has its purpose:

  • White is used in bright sunny weather, perfectly diffuses light.
  • Black is used in the opposite case, for example, when you have to remove glare surfaces. That is, it absorbs the excess part of the light.
  • Silver reflector is used more often than others. It is indispensable when it is overcast and cloudy. On a clear day, it is not recommended to use it, as it can blind the eyes.
  • Golden reflector is rarely used, but it is still desirable that it be present in the arsenal. With this accessory, you can add warmth to the picture or create a sunset effect.
photography reflector 5 in 1

How to choose the right reflector

If you decide to purchase such a useful accessory for yourself, then most likely you will have a choice of what size and what shape to give preference to. If you are working in a studio, then of course it is better to get large reflectors or screens. If you shoot outdoors and don't have an assistant to hold them, it's better to get a small accessory.

As for the shape, the triangular reflector with a handle is considered the most convenient option. If you have a helper, both round and oval will do.

At the price, the spread is alsogreat. It all depends on the brand, so choose a light disc not only for its intended purpose, but also for your pocket.

How to use a reflector correctly

Now you know what a photography reflector is. How to use this device? There is nothing complicated in its application. Even the most inexperienced photographer will quickly understand what the point is. So, how to use a reflector for photography? The rules of use are presented below.

  1. Try to keep it above the subject, at a natural angle. The "bottom-up" option does not always justify itself. You can shine in this way only in order to even out the shadows under the chin or on the neck. Many of these rules are neglected and as a result they get the effect, as if they were shining a flashlight from below. If the subject is a person, then bruises under the eyes in the photo are definitely inevitable. As a last resort, use two reflectors, and the one below can be smaller.
  2. The smaller the reflector, the closer it needs to be brought to the subject. If the screen is large, it is better to place it further away.
  3. Try not to shine the model's reflector into the eyes. So it is unlikely that you will get good photos, but leaky mascara and wet eyes are guaranteed.
photography reflector how to use

How to make a reflector with your own hands

If you don't want to spend money on professional equipment, you can make your own photography reflector. For example, if you urgently need a reflector, but you don’t have it, you can take a largesheet of white paper. True, this option will not serve you for a long time, so it's better to do something more serious.

So, before you make a reflector for photography, you need to choose a frame for it. Remember that it should be as light as possible. You can use a small diameter children's hoop or make it out of stiff wire.

how to make a reflector for photography

Now about the reflective surface. Glue a sheet of white paper onto cardboard - here's a white reflector for photography. And on the other hand - slightly wrinkled food foil - here's a silver screen for you. If you want to get a warmer picture, paint the foil with golden paint.

By the way, you can find an old umbrella in your attic and wrap it inside with crumpled food foil. You will also get a great reflector for photography, and even with a handle that makes it comfortable to hold.

DIY photography reflector


If you think that it is quite possible to do without this accessory, then you simply have not come across it at work. Even the most experienced photographers, alas, cannot always adjust the exposure compensation settings on the camera so that the photos turn out perfect in certain conditions. That is why useful devices come to their aid. And buy a reflector or make it yourself - it's up to you. May your shots always be successful!

Popular topic