Ooooh, Shiny!

June 23, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Ooooh, Shiny!

When should I use a reflector?

OK, so last week we covered the best direction to shoot at when you have a bright sunny day. But what if you have to shoot directly into the sun? Maybe the only decent background is with the sun directly behind your subject. Don't panic there's an easy way to combat that harsh sunlight!

One thing you can use is a reflector. This bounces some of the light back onto your subject leaving them with more definition as they will have some light and some shade instead of all being in shade. This is called fill light.

I prefer to use a Lastolite TriGrip reflector - Sunlight / Soft Silver like this one pictured below:

Lastolite TriGrip reflector - Sunlight / Soft SilverLastolite TriGrip reflector - Sunlight / Soft Silver

Let's just see how much of a difference this can make to an image, you might be surprised!

This is our original image with no reflector. As you may remember it's quite a flat image and not exactly what you may be hoping for!

No ReflectorNo Reflector

This next image is taken using the Soft Silver side of the reflector. The biggest difference is that there is immediately more definition in the image. Another thing you may have noticed is that Dylan now has a reflection in his eye. This is called catch light and it's what helps eyes to really pop in portraiture. Here, it also helps to distinguish which is the dominant eye in the picture and leads the viewers eyes here. In portraiture it is usually important to draw the focus to the subjects face and eyes having one as the dominant eye creates for a stronger image.

Soft Silver ReflectorSoft Silver Reflector

Now let's look at the Sunlight side of the reflector. As you can see the image has a slightly gold tint to it as the reflector is a gold colour. I find that it depends on the colour of the dog's coat as to which side of the reflector I would prefer to use. As Dylan is a predominantly white dog on his front, the Sunlight side can look a little too gold. The Sunlight side works really well on skin tones too.

As you can see in this image, the light coming off of the reflector was so bright that Dylan started to squint! So it goes to show how effective a good reflector can be.

Sunlight ReflectorSunlight Reflector

But I don't have a reflector!

You don't have a reflector? Don't worry! If you think you're going to make good use of one, I strongly suggest getting one as they are so easy to use, although it does help to have someone to hold it for you! If you just want to have a little play about you can use a stand in to have a play around.

Things you can use as a reflector:

  • Bed sheets - white ones
  • Blanket - white ones
  • Reflective sheeting - I'm sure you've all got something in the car to keep the sun off and the dogs cool, that'll work here too!
  • Water - are you next to a river or a pond? If you get the angle right that can help you too
  • Cardboard - a light coloured cardboard box flattened out
  • Scarfs - again, a light coloured one can work

So... pretty much anything light / white can do as a stand in reflector. It won't be quite as effective as the real thing, but it will still help bounce some of that lovely light around and make those images pop a little more!

Don't forget to come and join us in our Facebook group.

Emma Elliott Photography - Pet PortraitsJoin us on Facebook!

If you're not sure you can get to grips with it on your own, don't forget we do offer training as well!

Happy Shooting!


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