Friday, 3 August 2012


Reflectors is any material used to bounce light off it. A reflector could be of any size or shape. The word ‘reflector’ is familiar to most of us as the term more commonly used for the silvered dishes fitted behind household lamps, torch, auto mobile headlights etc. to control and direct the light. The large flats commonly used in the movie industry are referred to as ‘bounces’.


The surface of reflectors can be white, translucent, silver foil, black (for subtractive lighting effects), or gold foil. The silver- and gold-foil surfaces provide more light than matte white or translucent surfaces. Gold-surfaced reflectors are also ideal for shade, where a warm-tone fill is desirable.

The most common use of a reflector is to bounce light off into the shadow areas of the subject, bringing out details. They act as fill light sources. Using a reflector to bounce light back at a subject is pretty simple compared to setting up an additional light. Doing so fills in any unwanted shadows, and you can easily adjust the angle of light by changing the reflector’s angle.

The most effective and innovative designs among that of reflectors is the tri-flector. A three panelled reflector which has two “wings” that can be angled individually; thus making it possible to wrap light around the subject. Lasolite makes a collapsible version which is imitated by many.

Lasolite Tri Grip Reflector
Lasolite Tri Grip Reflector

A variety of reflectors are available commercially, including the kind that are made of collapsible metal frames and store in a small pouch. When opened they spring open and have a reflective material stretched across them, ready to be used. The latest version has five interchangeable surface materials which comes as a single package, they have matt white, translucent white, silver, gold and black material.
Situations that call for the use of reflectors.

The following list gives you a good idea of when to break out that reflector and put it to good use.
  1.     When a scene has too much contrast.
  2.     When the tonal range of the scene to be photographed is well beyond the limits of your digital sensor.
  3.     When you want to reduce the shadows under your subject’s eyes, chin etc.
  4.     When you intend to highlight your subject’s dimension and shape.

Photography Reflectors
Photography Reflectors

Reflected light ‘works’ in just the same way as light from any other source and obeys the inverse square law. So if you want to double the amount of reflected light, move it in half as close to the subject as it was originally. And if you wish to reduce the amount of light reflected off the reflector, move the reflector away from the subject.

In the next article we will discuss about Light Modifiers - Cuculoris

Related Reading

  1. Grid Spot
  2. Barn Door
  3. Gobos, Cutters and Flags
  4. Snoot
  5. Dish