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How To Use A 5-In-1 Reflector

11 February, 2021

How To Use A 5-In-1 Reflector

It’s amazing how many photographers own a 5-in-1 reflector and rarely use it. We’re not surprised because the first time you try to put one back in its bag you’ll feel like you’re wrestling a snake!

However, if you persevere, you’ll find it can do magical things and transform your photography, so let’s take a look at some uses for your reflector.

Your reflector is an extra light source on location

If you’re a natural light photographer, you’re generally at the mercy of the elements and have to make do whatever the weather gods have offered you! Clever use of a 5-in-1 reflector can equalize the odds a little and give you back some control of the light:

Provide shade – if you’re caught shooting portraits in blazing sunshine, you can set-up a reflector over your subject to provide some soft shade. Remove the covers and use the semi-opaque white disc and you’ll have a portable shade that allows you to take pictures in front of any background.
Bounce sunlight – it’s called a reflector because it’s excellent at reflecting light. Take advantage of this by bouncing a little of the natural light back onto your subject to provide fill, or even an accent light behind them. White is best in full sunlight because it limits the light a little, whereas silver and gold are more reflective and great on cloudy days.

Your 5-in-1 reflector is a friend in the studio too!

Just because you have a selection of fancy speedlights and studio flash equipment, it doesn’t mean that there’s no place for a humble reflector! There are times when it’s the perfect addition to your lighting set-ups:

Butterfly lighting – there’s nothing more flattering than butterfly lighting, with one large light source above and in front of your subject and another coming up from below. With the model sitting and holding the reflector as the lower light source, you can experiment with different fill directions, light intensity and temperature with ease. It’s also a great way to get the model involved in the shoot!

Makeshift background – did you know that a decent-sized 5-in-1 can be pushed into use as a background? It works great if you need a quick headshot on either black or white, but don’t try to use the silver or gold sides – they’ll reflect light back at you and look terrible.

As you can see, this simple bit of kit can be put to use it loads of useful ways – and these are just a few! Maybe it’s time to get out your dusty 5-in-1 reflector and see if you can come up with some images worth printing to canvas and hanging on your wall?

11 February, 2021


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