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How many reflectors do you need?

Posted on Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 11:28AM by Registered Commenterkennethlinge in , , | Comments12 Comments | References2 References

I been in love with reflectors since long before they made fold ups. Remember working on a movie in Paris the first time a saw one pop open, so did my eyes! We used to buy silver cooking foil, step on it on the asphalt or cement to make mini bumps in it then tape it to foam boards. Still works great today. Then I remember I found actual sheets of reflection foil from Rosco, and I could tape them on. Reflection of light have always been used in photography, reflections from walls, windows, snow, water, a silver car in the parking lot etc etc .

My question today was HOW MANY do you need? It's not one correct answer to that question of course, but I want to bring up some points why I find a need for many. If you look in the image you will see some of mine along the camera room back wall. I think I  have about 30 total? A brand new reflector reflects so much more light light then it will do after a few months use. About every 10 months I keep buying the same silver reflector in my most used size 32" I write the date I bought it with a black marker on it for fun to keep track of their change.

By having many silver reflectors with different ware I get many choices of brightness, especially great when I can't choose the distance to the subject. It's kind of having a flash with one output or variable outputs. I also love using soft gold a lot, but I use them all even my blue one I bought from a german photographer. Color correction is a huge issue with them, getting to change color on a part of your image, create minorities. Like on a bride I might want to use a large white or silver one on the dress and a smaller soft gold just for the face. Keeping the dress white, while giving her a nice skin color. Often I will just use a different one on the face because the face need more brightness then a white dress.

This is such a huge subject I can write on it forever. In my seminars and workshops you will learn a lot about reflective light, but this blog post should get your mind running? NEVER trow away an old reflector it might be the only one weak enough on close distance on a bright day, you can also spray paint it in a cool color and you have a new portable pop up backdrop for portraits :-) 

In situations of low light or cloudy days a brand new silver reflector will almost be like a mirror to add some great catch lights in the eyes. What is so beautiful with reflectors is that what you see is what you get vs flash. This image is about 20 years old shot on the wonderful Polaroid Polapan B/W chrome film, loved it!!! I keep using old images for fun these days if I can. Show how great results we could get straight out of a film.Happy shooting, hope to see many of you around Europe in February.


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    Photography, Lighting and Influences - Kenneth Linge's Journal - How many reflectors do you need?
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    Photography, Lighting and Influences - Kenneth Linge's Journal - How many reflectors do you need?

Reader Comments (12)

I really do need to start using my silver more often, it pretty much just sits in my bag taking a back seat to my Sunbounce, but I need to get more creative! Thanks always!

January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

We used to buy silver cooking foil, step on it on the asphalt or cement to make mini bumps in it then tape it to foam boards.

Awesome! I am going to go make one right now!

January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy

Yes, Jeremy, give it a shot, step on it in socks
or barefoot :-)

January 9, 2010 | Registered Commenterkennethlinge

Great read! Thanks for the tips.

kenneth, your so freaking creative! the things you think of to get good shots and get good light.. you amaze me!
Thanks for all your awesome tips!

January 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterashlee Raubach

The Sun Bounce is the ultimate drewl object in 'reflectiveness' in my book. That combined with a Lastolite Skylite kit w/a 1.25 diffuser.
But the one that gives me the best results is a 8 dollar 5-in-one 43'' from ebay (China). The easiest is often best...

January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJørgen Bjerkøe

I agree sunbounce are the ultimate light modifiers....

January 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkarl bratby

Very informative posting for those who are willing to make a career in photography

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermark

Which ebay 43" one did you buy Jorgen?

February 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristian James

Wonderful post... Very informational and educational as usual!

Acai Optimum

March 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAcai Berry

I am new to all this reflector stuff but looking at getting one. Is there a good size to buy? Is bigger better or is it ease of use that makes more sense? Thank you

June 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJZ

it is one of the most needed tool. it is impressive what kind of thing they can do with reflectors. In the last documentary about Buy Viagra they had a problem with illumination.

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDan

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