Reflector — a small compact attachment for studio flashes. It gives a directional hard light with deep shadows, which allows you to get a three-dimensional, high-contrast photo. It is used in portraits and subject photo shoots. Often they work with him when shooting fashion.
We tell you what reflectors are, how to modify them, and on what shootings they can come in handy.
What is a reflector
Reflector — a small nozzle made of hard material, which is put on a monoblock and wraps around it with a bowl. As a rule, it is no more than a couple of tens of centimeters in length. Due to the shape and material of the inner surface of the reflector, the light from the flash shines on the model in a directed beam, and is not scattered in all directions.
The reflector gives a hard light. This manifests itself in deep, well-defined shadows, a strong difference between dark and light areas in the photo, as well as bright, pronounced highlights. In addition, hard light better reveals the texture of skin, clothes, objects.
Thanks to this, reflectors use:
— for dramatic, deep psychological portraits;
— for daring stylized fashion shoots;
- in a male portrait to emphasize brutality;
- in a female portrait to show energy and a bright spectacular image;
- in product photography, where it is important to emphasize the material of the product.
Types of reflectors
Reflectors for photography differ in the shape and color of the inner surface. This allows you to use it for different tasks. We tell you what reflectors are and why each of them is needed.
- classic reflector
It is a nozzle made of solid material from 20 to 40 centimeters long. In shape, it resembles a bowl tapering to the bottom. It is in the narrower base that there is a mount that allows you to put it on a flash.
The inner surface of the reflector is covered with silver coating. Thanks to him, the light is better reflected from the walls of the nozzle and directed in the direction the photographer needs.
- Background reflector
It is a wide, smoothly expanding pipe from the fastening to the sides with a sharp oblique cut. Due to its shape, the reflector illuminates only a part of the background — the light is cut off without affecting the model and without getting into the camera.
Inside, background reflectors are coated with white or silver coating. The first is much less common. It is believed that it gives a weaker stream of light, as it reflects a little worse than silver, but it does not distort the color temperature. Similar to conventional reflectors, a gold reflector makes the light warmer, a silver one cools it down, and a white one leaves it as it is, neutral.
As the name suggests, these reflectors are used to illuminate the background. But, more importantly, it excels in situations where there is not enough space in the room where you are photographing. Used in portraiture, fashion photography, product photography, still life and even ID photos.
- Tube, spot or cone reflector
It is a cone that narrows as it moves away from the flash lamp. As a result, the flash pulse passes through a small hole. The output is a narrow, directional beam of light.
Cone reflectors are used in portrait and product photography, still life and creative experimental photo shoots, and they are also often used to place semantic accents in films.
Any of the reflectors can be modified, additionally fitting it to your idea and requests. We’ll tell you what accessories for reflectors will help you diversify your shooting, and, most importantly, why you need it.
Nozzle that is worn over a classic reflector. It is a frame with 4 movable panels attached to it — curtains.
By adjusting the shutters, the photographer can:
- direct light more precisely;
- cut off the light so that it does not shine into the camera, the background or the floor;
- slightly change the shape of the light spot from round to oval. For example, to create a specific pattern on the background.
Honeycombs — a metal round lattice, similar in shape to honeycombs. Due to the fact that the light passes through small holes, it turns out to be harder and more directional.
There is one caveat: the smaller the honeycomb grid, the harder and more directional the light. And vice versa: the larger the grid of honeycombs, the softer the light obtained.
Honeycombs are installed on both classic and cone reflectors. In addition, often reflectors are sold immediately complete with them.
- Color filters
Color filters are translucent colored films that change the color of light, change its color temperature, and can also reduce the power of the luminous flux.
Light filters are attached to the reflector with clothespins, adhesive tape. In addition, there is a variety of light filters, which are a square frame, inside which a colored film of the light filter is fixed. In this case, the light filter is inserted into a special groove on the reflector.
Color filters are used in absolutely all shootings where you need:
- change the color of a solid background;
- add colored backlight — a thin border along the contour of a person’s silhouette;
- paint the entire scene in one or more colors;
- make the light colder or warmer
- reduce the light output when you need a flash output less than the minimum.