How to Use a Reflector as a Main Light

When it comes to lighting, you’ve got to be creative. Sometimes a single light will be all you have, but you know there’s a better shot if you could only manipulate that light differently. In this video, Daniel Norton shows us how to turn a reflector into a main light source, completely changing the type of image he’s able to shoot:

In the initial shot, Norton has a model facing a Profoto B1 500 AirTTL light, like so:

one-light-reflector

The shot he produces is simple and effective—a single-light image against a black background, since the light is so bright. To create a different look, he flips his model around so she’s facing the Scrim Jim silver and white reflector, rather than the light. He also raises up his rig, so the light hits the reflector and the reflector lights up her face:

model-photography-tips

Norton notes that you can achieve this effect even without a reflector—a white wall would do just as well. Here are the results: the image on the left is of her facing the light, and the right shows her back to it.

portait-photography

The shadows and emphasis are on completely different areas—yet the single light source and reflector are exactly the same. It’s all a matter of positioning.

“When using one strobe, or one source of light, sometimes you’ve gotta be creative.”

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