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.

The reflec­tor is a basic light-shap­ing attach­ment that is in any pho­to stu­dio / Source: unsplash.com

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.

Such reflec­tors are direct­ed both at the sub­ject (a per­son or object) and at the back­ground in order to high­light it or, togeth­er with a col­or fil­ter, col­or it in a dif­fer­ent col­or / Source: fotosklad.ru
  • 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.

The spe­cif­ic shape of the noz­zle gives a uni­form light spot — with a con­ven­tion­al reflec­tor aimed at the back­ground, it will be brighter from the side of the source and will begin to weak­en as it moves away from it / Source: fotosklad.ru

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.

Tubes are used to place accents. For exam­ple, high­light a back­ground, a detail of a com­plex com­po­si­tion, high­light a sep­a­rate object in a set­ting / Source: fotosklad.ru

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.

Reflector Modifiers

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.

Using mod­i­fiers for noz­zles, you will expand the pos­si­bil­i­ties of the light source / Source: unsplash.com

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.