How to Use a Sun Bouncer or Reflector for Action Sports Photography

Using a reflector such as a sun bouncer is an effective way to light a subject. Photographer Leo Rosas explains how you can use this tool in a variety of ways; give your subject a warmer look, use a faster shutter speed and fill in unwanted or harsh shadows. It’s a great way to test your creativity and to really go the extra mile with the light that you do have:

For starters, you can try to adjust your white balance to suit your subject which is bathed in the warm gold-silver reflection from the sun bouncer. You’ll end up with a neutral-colored subject against a cooler-toned background.

portrait of athlete

Because the sun bouncer redirects more light towards your subject, you can shoot at a faster shutter speed which is very important when it comes to freezing the movement in action shots such as this photo shot at 1/3200, f/2.8. Had it not been for the additional light provided by the reflector, perhaps Rosas would have had to make do with a slower shutter speed and risk getting a blurry image.

action shot of professional skateboarder

Even from ten feet away, the sun bouncer is still effective at making the shadows appear less harsh. This can be especially useful when shooting in broad daylight, when the sun is directly above. The ‘money shot’ in action shoots can occur in a split second, so it pays to get your lighting just right so that you’ll turn out a well-lit set of images.

action shot skateboarder

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