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Using Reflectors in Photography

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Using Reflectors in Photography © Liz Masoner 2007 licensed to About.com, Inc.
Reflectors in photography are simply any item used to reflect light towards your subject. Reflectors can be used with a flash or in lieu of a flash. If you do not have the option of using an off camera flash, or a flash with swivel head, reflectors are an excellent way to achieve a professional lighting effect without professional equipment. Reflectors are either placed on a stand or other support, or held by an assistant to direct light onto a subject. Reflectors are generally held at an equal angle from the light source and the subject.

Reflectors vary in size depending on the amount of light needed and the size of the subject. There is also no set shape of reflectors. Some are round and some are square or rectangle shaped. Although there are numerous reflectors manufactured for photography, many photographers use homemade reflectors. These reflectors can be as simple as a piece of poster paper.
    Homemade Reflectors Examples
  • Poster Paper
  • Large Photo Frame Covered in Fabric
Reflectors are also used to change the quality of light in photographs. The color of the reflector will show up in the light reflected onto the subject.
    Reflectors and Light
  • Gold - creates warm tones
  • White - neutral color effect
  • Blue - creates cool tones
  • Silver - creates neutral tones but brighter than white
These changes in light tones are based on color temperature and white balance.

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