Take time to reflect
Here are six ways to use your reflector to improve your portrait shots – and not just by reflecting
01 Bounce light back
The standard use for a reflector is to bounce light back at your model. When your subject is lit from one side, holding a reflector up to the shaded side will balance things by filling in the shadows. You will be able to see the difference made by tilting the reflector towards the light source.
02 Light faces from below
When the sun’s overhead, you can get rather unflattering shadows on your subject’s face. Holding a reflector under their chin will bounce the light back in underneath. This fills in those shadows and gives a much nicer soft light across the image, which complements the skin tones.
03 Make a spotlight
You can create a spotlight effect using the silver or gold sides of the reflector, which are highly reflective. When your model is in the shade, stand back and angle the reflector between the sun and the model, creating a spotlight which you can target wherever you’d like to light.
04 Diffuse the light
Take the cover off most reflectors and you’ll find a diffuser that allows a limited amount of light to pass through it. To soften harsh highlights created by strong sunlight or flash, simply hold the reflector between your sun or flash and the model to create some ready-made shade.
05 Fan the hair
For classic windswept hair, bend the reflector slightly into a scoop; this will stiffen it so you can move it without it flapping around. You can then use it to fan your model. Do this from the front, and keep within 90 degrees of the camera to avoid their hair blowing in front of their face.
06 Banish reflections
You can also use a reflector to get rid of unwanted reflections. Eyes will reflect what is around them, but if you hold up the white or black side of your reflector in front of what’s being reflected, this will replace the reflection with the flat, neural tone of the reflector.