Reflectors are very useful tools for portrait or fashion photography. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they also come in a few different color/reflective material options. If you’re wondering about the difference between the different color options (white, silver, gold), then this post should give you a very good starting point.
First, here’s a self-portrait taken without any reflectors.
This is our baseline image. The only bottom reflection that I get in this case if from the pale wooden floor. The photo was taken using a silver beauty dish placed directly in front of me and pointing down at about a 45-degree angle.
Now I’m holding a large white reflector right under the frame:
As you can see, the shadows are reduced quite nicely and evenly when using a white reflector.
Here’s the portrait, but now using a silver reflector:
With a silver reflector the highlights will be more specular, and anything reflective/shiny will be accentuated even more compared to when using a white reflector. In the portrait here you can notice the extra specular highlight in the eye.
Now, this is what the image looks like if I use a gold reflector:
It adds a warm tone to the image. That can be useful when trying to imitate the sun, but most of the time I stay away from using a gold reflector, unless the additional gold/warm tone is something that I’m looking for.
Bonus: Negative Fill
Many of the 5-in-1 reflectors also have a black side that can be used as negative fill. Here’s the result:
This ensures that I’m not getting any reflections from the floor and makes my neck and some facial features darker compared to no reflector at all.
For an easier side-by-side comparison, here’s a montage with the different options all together:
My Suggestions for You
✨ Here are some of the top photo retouching courses from PHLEARN:
- Frequency Separation: How to Master Retouching in Photoshop
- Better than HDR – Master Luminosity Masks in Photoshop
- How to Master Dodging & Burning in Photoshop
* Note that these are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase something from PHLEARN. It doesn't cost more to you and helps directly support this website! 🙏🙏
I've learned a ton from PHLEARN myself over the years and love the simple and straightforward teaching style of Aaron Nace, the founder.
Hey there! 👋
I'm Seb and I'm creating Purple11. I'm into photography (duh!), but also music, design, meditation, healthy living and just spending time in nature. You can read more about what I'm up to on my Now page.
Thanks for stopping by the website! I hope that what you find here is helpful to you.