Big Light Tutorial: Reflections and Reflectors

Aliona Kuznetsova
Jul 14, 2018 · 3 min read
Warm light from the window, pink fill of shadows due to carpet (reflected in glasses)

Ok, everyone knows this little thing:

When the light is still too bright for the model to face it, we place the sun behind model’s back and reflect part of the light back to models face. Another use-case: we have 2 studio lights coming from up and the shadow from model’s chin it too deep so we place a reflector under it to make it softer.

Reflectors differ in color and texture, here’s why:

Colored material reflecting just part of the spectrum, mat material making light softer by reflecting it in many directions (the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection still, but microstructure of material gives us many small reflective surfaces not parallel to each other)

When white light falls on golden reflector, only golden component reflects and falls on the model — blue component gets absorbed. Mat reflector softens the light more then foil one because it doesn’t preserve the direction of the beam. Structure of light of mat reflector is like a very low brightness soft-box. A big one if reflector is big, a small one of it’s small.

Center — white light of the street, sides are filled with red and blue of walls

The last bit of information — reflector is no different then any other surface. Place model near white wall — the wall is your reflector. Pink carpet with direct sunlight on it (lead picture) — another reflector. Water, snow, sand — all can be used as reflectors if you get them close enough. Green leafs reflect (and filter to be fair) the light of the sky filling your shadows with that (sometimes nasty) greenish hue.

Golden direct light and white reflected by walls

At the same time, place a model near black wall and you have a feeling of additional shadow cast on her cheek. It’s not that the wall “adds shadow”, it just remove (absorb) light that would be there from other far-placed reflectors. We call such object a flag. Finally totally black empty space (night forest or a tunnel) is also equivalent to a flag — it doesn’t absorb the light, but doesn’t reflect it back at the model either.

Back to the beginning

For questions>>

Next chapter>>

NextUp: Question about Hard Light and Skin Defects

Aliona Kuznetsova

Written by

http://alionakuznetsova.com/info

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