Reflector Fill

When the light is coming from the side or back, usually there are undesirable or unattractive shadows on the face. It may also just be too dark on the front of the model's body. To fix that, you need to add fill light. One way is to use fill flash, and that is quick and easy if you have an electronic flash. If you are using the camera's built-in flash, you may find times when it is just not powerful enough, especially outside on a bright day. In those cases, you can use a reflector instead of a flash, but the principle is the same: Put more light on the face and body in the front. A reflector works by bouncing some of that light coming from the back. Here we use a collapsible reflector that is white on one side and gold on the other to add warmth. The reflectors are also available in silver. If you want to save money, you can make your own with a piece of cardboard and some aluminum foil. Crumple the foil so it is not too smooth and glue or tape it on your cardboard so the dull side is out. The shiny side is very bright when you point it at your subject. If you want to be very versatile in your construction, use a piece of white cardboard or white foam core (available at professional photography stores, art stores, and large stationary stores) so that it is white on one side and has the foil on the other. When you want a lot of light, use the foil side. When the foil is too bright, or you just want less light, use the white side of the reflector. Practice with it until you can focus the light where you want it. Be careful not to blind your subject. You can move it closer or farther away as well as adjust the angle. If you have someone helping you, he or she can hold it. Or, you can clamp it to something, lean it against an object, or use a stand as we did in the outside images.

Indoors A reflector can be used indoors as well. Here it is being used with window light to add more light to the side of the face.

The camera position was close to the double French doors.

Indoors A reflector can be used indoors as well. Here it is being used with window light to add more light to the side of the face.

The camera position was close to the double French doors.

Reflector FillTanya Renee Thrall
No Fill This is what Joanna looks like when the light is behind her and there is no fill light.

With Fill Light Here we have set up a fill light using a reflector. Now there is light on her face and figure, but the shadows are a little unattractive.

Turn Her Face Here we have Joanna turn her face more into the light so that the shadows are more attractive.

Reflector Fill Setup The gold reflector was clamped in a holder, which was mounted on a regular light stand so it could be aimed. This way you don't need anyone to help you. This photograph was taken from the same position as the previous two images. The lens was simply zoomed back to reveal the reflector off to one side.

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