Well hello! I’ve been getting such awesome feedback on these shooting backlit posts so I’m going to keep going as long as I can! Today, we’re going to talk about using reflectors in your backlit photography but first, in case you need to recap:
Shooting Backlit // Using Reflectors
So. Reflectors. In case you’re new to this concept, reflectors are round disks which are white, gold or sliver and their purpose is to reflect light onto a subject’s face. They are my absolute favourite photography accessory and I have them in many different shapes and sizes. My favourite is a Lastolite 5-in-1 reflector so it can be white (nice soft light), gold (warming), silver (super bright, most reflective), black (used to sort of soak up too much light) or transparent (can be used above your subject to filter the light). The size I use is 32″.
Reflectors can be used to create beautiful catch lights in your subject’s eyes like in this example photo below:
When I first started out, the entire concept of light was foreign. I didn’t understand how light behaved and the thought of employing flash in my photography was super scary. But when I started playing with reflectors, it all started to click. The way light affected my photography and the way it could be bounced around, controlled and told where to go.
The photo example above was taken on an overcast day so it’s not an example of reflectors in backlit photography, but check out this photo (click to enlarge) –> This photo was taken by a reader named Jen Golay and I wanted to use it as an example of the most excellent use of reflection in backlit photography. It may be too bright in the face for some, but to me it’s got a very editorial/catalog feel and I love it.
So you can see that the sun is coming from behind the subject because of the way it’s shining through her hair and you can see that the sky is bright and blown out which places the subject at the center of attention. There is a silver reflector lower camera left bouncing the sunlight up onto the subject. This means that she’s totally wrapped in light, being lit from both the front and behind. Jen also overexposed by 1/2 a stop to give it her signature bright photography style.
If you haven’t ever experimented with using reflectors in your photography, try it this week! If you don’t have one yet, try a white foam board, tin foil, a cookie sheet, a bright building. Anything you can use to aim the light back at your subject.