Soft light with reflector

Sometimes a single light, even if it is softened, casts shadows on the subject that are too dark for our camera's sensors to penetrate. So most professionals add a reflector to the opposite side of the subject to lighten the shadows and reveal the details hidden by the lack of light. Reflectors can be made from many different materials, including polystyrene foam and white card, but remember to keep the surface white as any color present here will be added to your shadows (see Figure 23.8).

Reflectors are often used when making portraits in the environment to help ensure that dark shadows don't ruin a good picture.

In practice, with your main light positioned to ensure good texture and form for the face, slowly bring a reflector in from the opposite side. Watch as the shadows lighten. Be sure that, when framing the portrait, the reflector remains out of view. To make a more directional reflector, try adhering aluminum foil to a piece of card.

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