Free Photography Tutorials, Beginners to Advanced

Lighting Reflectors

Using a reflector to soften the shadows in strong sunlight

Faced with strong sunlight, the professional photographer will reach for his reflector. These actually fold up quite small for carrying around but not quite small enough to stick in your pocket on the summer holiday, also you need an assistant to hold it in place for you.

The reflectors come in a variety of surfaces, white, silver and gold are the most usual to see. The idea is to bounce some light into the shadow areas thereby reducing the overall contrast of the shot. By moving closer to the subject or further away you can 'fine tune' the amount of contrast very accurately.

The opposite piece of kit, which is black and is used in the same way but to reflect black onto the subject, creating shaded areas, is called a gobo.

Gobos and reflectors are used a lot in fashion and glamour photography.

Although reflectors and gobos are probably not a practical proposition for all but the most dedicated amateur photographers, it is worth understanding how they are used. Quite often you can find a white wall, or use a piece of card or paper, to do the same job.

back to Photography in Sunlight

Other tutorials in this section


Introduction page.

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Available Light

Getting the best out of the sun.

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Using Reflectors

Filling in the shadows.

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Break away from the in-camera flash.

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Fill-in Flash

Soften those shadows.

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Red Eye Removal

A quick remedy in Photoshop.

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Studio Lighting

An introduction to indoor lighting.

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Inverse Square Law

A bit of Physics for those who feel the need.

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