In this Slanted Lens lighting tutorial we take a look at the basics of lighting reflectors and how to use them on location. This is a beginning look at reflectors, the different colors and practical application examples on how to use them. As a beginning photographer, using a reflector is an easy way to start to modify light and learn where to place the light source in relationship to your subject. Using reflectors and becoming good at placing them will teach you how to place strobes. Good light placement is the same for both strobes and reflectors but easier to see with a reflector than it is with strobes. The color examples used in this video are all based on Photoflex reflectors which can be seen at http://www.photoflex.com.
JayP: As a beginning photographer, I would start with a reflector because when you put it up and you use it, you see exactly what the light’s going to do. Hi, this is Jay P Morgan and I have been lucky enough to be chosen to co-host with Liz Hernandez this photo shoot today.
Liz: He’s so official. It’s me and JayP, we’re hanging out in the desert.
JayP: Liz is on E! TV and is giving us just a few minutes here so we can show you the different colors of reflectors and how you can use those on location.
Here’s a close-up of the different kinds of surfaces that we use for our reflectors. There are four different reflectors we’re going to look at today. We use both square reflectors and the popup or round reflectors. So you use reflectors just like you use a regular light. You place them in the position where you want them. It’s a little tricky because you’re reflecting the sunlight, which sometimes reduces the options that you have. First thing we’re going to do, we’ve got a shot here of Liz. There’s no light on her. Our sun has given us a nice little rim around her body but we need to brighten her face, so we’ll put a white reflector in. The reflector pushes in. That’s our white light. It’s a nice soft light. It’s lighting her arm, it’s lighting her leg.
Let’s now go back to what’s called a soft gold or white gold reflector. It has a little bit of warmth to it, so you may not have to be quite as close with it. We’ll just get a little shot here. I really like this look, it’s the reflector I probably use the most. It just gives us a nice look.
Now we’re going to go to a hard gold. This is a much harder light. if you don’t have a lot of sunlight in the sky and it’s overcast, this is a great reflector to use. You can get back a lot further, which makes it easier to use them at a distance, so there are a lot of advantages to using this hard gold. You can pick up some highlight even when there’s very little light, but it still has that nice warm gold color to it.
Now we’re going to put our silver in. Silver is a little harder highlight, it doesn’t have the warmth of the gold. It really creates great contrast and it’s excellent for black and white. Reflectors are just like lights. If you put them in at a flat angle like that, it’s going to light from the side. It’ll be very flat. But in this case, it’s lighting her face, it’s lighting her arm, it’s lighting her leg.
To fold a popup reflector is really quite easy. You just grab one hand at the four o’clock position, one hand at the eight o’clock position, then you twist your right hand real hard until your right hand knuckles are going to touch the wrist of your left hand. As you do this, it brings it together into three sections.
In this shot of Liz, I have Liz looking into the sun using that as our key light, and then we’re going to use a light shining board to open up the shadows on her back and behind her. A shining board’s nothing more than a Hollywood version of a reflector. For our camera settings, we shot this at F16 at an eightieth of a second, at 160 ISO. In this setup with Liz, you can see that the sun is acting as a rim on her from camera left, but now we need some kind of source to key in on her face. This shot was done for a clothing company that’s called Dime Piece.
Liz: I want complete control.
JayP: We use that white gold reflector, it really brightens up her face very nicely, gives us a nice key coming in from camera right. Here’s our shot with the key light. Our camera settings are very basic. We’re doing F13 at an eightieth of a second, still at 160 ISO. In this shot we put Liz inside of an old airplane fuselage that was sitting out at the ultimate graveyard. Because of the distance from our light source, we’re using a heavier reflector, a gold reflector to be able to really bounce some light in. Our camera settings changed on this just a little bit. We wanted to open up for the inside shade area that we’re working in. We’re at F5 at one hundredth of a second still at 160 ISO. We quickly set up outside to take advantage of that late-day sun as it’s starting to soften a little bit. The sun is acting like a rim on her from camera left, but again we’re going to have to get some light in on her face. Here we added a white gold full body reflector to brighten up her face and her legs. We shot this at F11 one hundredth of a second, 160 ISO.
I enjoy working with reflectors because you see what you’re getting when you put up a reflector. It’s not hard to figure out where the light needs to be and what it’s going to do. As you learn to know where it should be and how it’s going to light the face, that becomes a guide to help you make that transition into strobes. I hope you can use that information. It’ll be very helpful to you. So just keep on click’n.
Good luck and keep on click’n! Jay P. Morgan