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Photoflex Lighting School

Monday, July 09, 2012

A Flat Reflector = Optimal Results

Lighting Equipment

Reflectors work at their best when the reflective surface is flat and smooth. If a reflector is twisted, it is difficult to get great results.

We will show how a smooth, even reflection of your main light source comes from having a flat reflector.

(Click on any thumbnail image below for an enlarged view.)

Topics Covered:

  •     Results of a Twisted Reflector
  •     Results of a Curved Reflector
  •     Results of a Flat Reflector

We set up our fill reflector to catch the light from our main light and give us a nice smooth reflection on the front of the breadbox (figure 1).

Figure 1

Because our reflector was twisted like a potato chip, our reflection was light in some areas and dark in others. The dark areas are due to the areas in the reflector bouncing light away from the subject instead of toward it (figure 2).

Figure 2

We set up another reflector that is curved and took another shot (figure 3).

Figure 3

As you can see in the results, this does not work either. There are still both light and dark areas in the reflection on the breadbox (figure 4).

Figure 4

Lastly, we set up a reflector that was flat, positioned it to catch and reflect light from our main light onto the front of the breadbox (figures 5 and 6).

Figure 5

Figure 6

Finally. A nice even, smooth reflection that complements our subject (figure 7).

Figure 7

As you can see, a twisted reflector won't give you the results that you want when filling in the shadows on your subject. This holds true whether you are shooting a portrait or a product shot.

A twisted reflector is something a professional photographer should never consider using. At Photoflex, we instituted our "Flat Guarantee" over 15 years ago.

If you purchase a Photoflex LiteDisc, MultiDisc, or Oval LiteDisc reflector and it is not flat, we will replace it at no charge, guaranteed. After 15 years, we are still the only company that offers this guarantee.

Figure 8

Figure 9

Figure 10

Related Lessons

Following are Web Photo School lessons related to this topic.

Taking Professional Portraits of your Child at Home
Just a couple of easy lighting tricks can transform your child's portraits taken right inside your own home.

Creating Reflective Shapes with a LiteDisc
Learn to use the shape of your reflector to add form and visual interest to your product shots.

Bouncing and Reflecting Light through Glass
Learn some tricks of the pros for adding sleek reflections and pleasing highlights when shooting glass objects.

Creating Cinematic Lighting the Easy Way
LitePanel reflectors and existing light can offer great results outdoors.


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