Light reflectors: A cheap alternative to flash


I brought a 5-in-1 light reflector set to photojournalism class and we experimented with it in the parking lot behind the Communication Building at Flagler College. I haven’t used reflectors and I was anxious to try them out.
Student Phil Sunkel, an accomplished photographer, was a great help and showed everyone how the semitransparent or translucent reflector could be used to diffuse the bright sunlight. I mistakenly tried to use it to reflect light at one point. Sunkel spotted that and said “that’s the opposite of what” that one is supposed to do.
Then we started using a gold-colored reflector and saw instantly what a great tool it can be. It worked even better than fill flash to light up two back-lit subjects, Angela Biggs and Victoria Choeff.
I like the way the gold reflector cast a warm light on the subjects. My conclusion: These things are worth having. They can be difficult to use when you’re shooting alone, Sunkel said, because have to find someone to hold the reflector while you take pictures. Fortunately, you can buy clips to hang the reflector in place while you shoot.
The reflector set I brought cost $14.72. I found it on a website called Neewer. Shipping was free.
The five surfaces included in the set are:

  • translucent for softening
  • silver for the contrast
  • gold for a warm, healthy tone
  • white to fill shadows
  • black to block out unwanted light

As we walked back to the classroom, I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures of us reflected in a mirror aimed at helping drivers see oncoming cars.

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