What’s the Difference? is a series of video lighting tutorials. Each episode responds to a single question. In this episode, Jared Platt tries using a Collapsible Reflector as a fill light. The entire series, including all videos, articles and lighting diagrams, is available at our website. And feel free to leave a question to Jared in the comment section if you have one!
On location lighting should be simple and lightweight. Regardless if I’m shooting a quick corporate portrait, a senior portrait or even a wedding portrait session, it mustn’t get too complicated.
When I’m operating on my own – or even with just one assistant, the amount of equipment I bring on a shoot is very limited. So the art of economizing lighting gear is crucial.
In the light of this, we set out to compare a portrait shot with and without a Collapsible Reflector as a fill light. Why? Because the Collapsible Reflector is one of the simplest, most lightweight tools we can use to shape light!
With Flash Only
First, we set up a simple headshot in the shade of a building’s large pillars and lit it with a main light and a hair light coming from the right.
Our main light was a Profoto B2 Off-Camera Flash modified with a Zoom Reflector. Our hair light was a second B2 Head connected to the same pack and modified with an OCF Grid. The direction of light was chosen based on the direction of the sun’s light on the pillars in the background.
The final result was not too bad. But this lighting scenario was far too dramatic for a corporate headshot.
With a Collapsible Reflector as a Fill Light
Looking closer at our first shot, we realised that we needed to brighten the shadows on the left side of the subject’s face.
So we positioned a Collapsible Reflector Silver/White M as close as possible to our subject. Using the silver side ensured that the most amount of light possible would be reflected back on the subject’s face to fill in those deep shadows.
With the only difference being the addition of a silver-sided Collapsible Reflector, the contrast between the two images is striking.
Sometimes you use a Collapsible Reflector to modify ambient light, sometimes to modify flash light. Sometimes you add the reflector to a one-light scenario, sometimes to a two-light scenario.
Either way, the Collapsible Reflector is often the most simple solution to the most common lighting problems you face on location. You should get one if you haven’t already. Can’t recommend it enough.