Comparison between reflectors and diffusers for portraits

For those who’ve been trying into portrait pictures, whether or not it’s an informal learn, in depth, as a passion, to enhance your portraits, or as a professional, you’ll have come throughout the usage of reflectors. Reflectors are available in varied sizes, shapes and colors. My favourites are the 5-in-1 round foldaway reflectors and the oblong panels you possibly can lean on or clip to a stand.

Have you ever ever questioned what a side-by-side comparability utilizing totally different reflector colours would seem like? Marvel no extra. Under, you possibly can see the differing types I used. These photographs all share the identical white stability and modifying as I wished the colours to be as true a mirrored image of the results of the reflectors used as a lot as potential. I’ve additionally saved the edits as clear as potential.

#1 Three reflectors, gentle shirt



High left is a pure gentle portrait lit solely by window gentle, half-clear and half-frosted (subtle) however with no different reflectors used. The window is massive sufficient for a giant unfold illuminating each face and background. The portrait on its proper exhibits a relatively apparent heat glow throughout. I used two gold reflectors: digicam proper and within the entrance beneath the face. This setup warmed all the pieces up – shirt, enamel, face and even the background.

Evaluate the impact of the gold reflector to the underside left. This one had two silver reflectors positioned in the identical locations. Discover how cool the colour temperature has develop into. Subsequent to it on the fitting I as soon as once more had the identical setup, however this time utilizing two white reflectors. Discover the colour temperature continues to be cool however softer, much less sharp and fewer edgier than the silver one. Look rigorously and this distinction is extra obvious on the enamel and pores and skin tone being only a contact hotter.

#2 Two reflectors, darkish shirt

I assumed I’d do the identical comparability, this time with the topic sporting black. The distinction is extra dramatic. With the gold reflector, the black is richer and darker, whereas with the silver it’s somewhat extra washed out.

For me these are each a bit excessive, with the gold reflector being too heat and the silver being too chilly. If I have been to edit these photographs with out contemplating the true results of the reflector I’d tone down the heat of the gold reflector by half and I’d be good with that. Equally, I’d heat up the one with the silver reflector in put up, each utilizing the white stability slider. I’d then get the glad heat tone that I’m after.

#three Diffuser reflector and flash

For those who’re aware of the 5-in-1 reflector, you’ll know there are 4 coloured sides: white, silver, gold and black. These sides are made of material all stitched collectively as one zipped wrap. This cloth wraps round a center standalone piece that’s translucent. That is the diffuser and a brilliant versatile instrument. Strictly talking, the black facet doesn’t really replicate gentle however relatively absorbs it, and is sweet for chopping gentle out or utilizing as flags.

This diffuser is nice when capturing in harsh out of doors daylight and also you simply need to lower the sunshine down or tone it down by inserting the diffuser between the daylight and the topic. In impact, you might be making a barely shadowed space for the topic, which makes it perfect for portrait lighting outdoor.

I assumed I’d do that identical method for my indoor portraits through the use of this diffuser to chop down gentle from a flash, thereby performing like a giant softbox however with out the bounce.

Listed here are the outcomes. The left picture was lit with one flash on digicam proper positioned behind the diffuser, which was fairly large and positioned near the topic for a easy, mushy gentle. The precise picture had two flashes, once more subtle, with one gentle overhead to offer hair gentle and lightweight the background for extra separation.

#four Subtle pure gentle vs subtle flash

The ultimate comparability is between subtle window gentle on the left picture and one subtle flash on the fitting picture. Window gentle produced softer shadows right here, with much less distinction and a much bigger unfold of sunshine. In distinction, the subtle flash had extra outlined shadows. It’s smaller than the window with much less unfold of sunshine, however sculpted the face higher.

If I have been to imitate the upper distinction and shadows produced by the subtle flash, one trick can be to chop out the sunshine through the use of the black reflector facet as a flag. I wasn’t in a position to do that, nevertheless, as I didn’t need my topic to be ready too lengthy for my experiment. (He solely got here in for one headshot.)

I hope you discovered this little comparability train enjoyable and enlightening. It’s superb what the 5-in-1 reflector, a small and cheap instrument, can do to your portraits.


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