Photography Lighting with Reflectors and Strobes

Professional photographer Jay P. Morgan delivers a pair of information packed video tutorials, this time showing viewers the in’s and out’s of using light reflectors, then combining the reflectors with strobe lights and natural lighting to deliver perfectly lit scenes. In the first tutorial, Morgan discusses white, gold, soft gold, and silver reflectors and explains in which scenarios each color should be used in. Take a look at the first video and we’ll recap the key points:

Light Reflectors:

  • White –  Gives a soft white lighting on the subject, reduces harshness from sunlight.
  • Gold – Excellent to use when there is minimal sunlight. It is capable of casting a warm glow on the subject even from far distances.
  • Soft Gold – A softer version of a gold reflector. It is not as powerful, but when used within close proximity of the subject, gives a warm golden glow.
  • Silver – Produces a hard light capable of producing high contrast in black and white photography.

The importance of using the sun as a rim light and reflectors as key lights are also stressed in this tutorial. Morgan suggests that reflectors can be great learning tools because their results are immediate. Learning where to place reflectors to achieve precise lighting helps those interested in learning strobes setup because reflector placement transfers over into artificial lighting as well.

Now, let’s take a look a the second part of the series, where we are introduce strobe lighting into the combination. In this case, the Hensel Porty Pack is utilized and praised for it’s long battery life and portability.

The two setups Morgan used in this tutorial are:

Setup One:

  • Hensel Porty Pack strobe w/beauty dish as key lighting to bring out facial highlights
  • White reflector is used as a fill light
  • Sun is used as the rim, or hair, light

The benefit of this setup is that the strobe allows the models face to be exposed properly without having to overexpose the background.

Setup Two:

  • The Porty Pack strobe is used as the rim lighting.
  • A gold reflector is used as the fill lighting
  • And the sun becomes the key lighting.
lighting with reflectors and strobes

Lighting with Reflectors and Strobes

The benefits here can be found in the versatility of the lighting arrangements. By simply moving the model or camera angle, the role each type of lights play will shift and more lighting options open up.

For Further Training on Supplemental Lighting in Photography:

These are the best books I have found; they contain extremely valuable information designed to help you learn and master the complicated art of adding artificial light to photography.

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

One response to “Photography Lighting with Reflectors and Strobes”

  1. Bruce says:

    Picture Correct,

    Great videos because you showed the two main ways to add fill light in one post, natural fill light and from strobe. I shoot 95% of my outside portraits with bounced fill and white foam boards. I find the gold and silver reflectors in direct sun make my subjects squint and feel uncomfortable being blasted with such brightness.

    I am sure it is more tolerable for a professional model like Liz than with the young kids I often photograph. As you first video stated the gold reflectors are great for overcast days. I always shoot alone as might some of your readers so I just wanted to add that the reflectors can always be clamped to sturdy light stands.

    These can blow over with even a small level of wind so I add sand bags to my equipment list and drape them over the legs of the stands to prevent them from blowing over.

    Keep up the great articles!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever