Take time to re­flect

Here are six ways to use your re­flec­tor to im­prove your por­trait shots – and not just by re­flect­ing

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

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.

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