When And How To Use Reflectors In Newborn Photography
In photography, everything is up to the light. The life of photographers cannot exist without it. One of the most essential tools that you should have as a professional photographer is reflectors for both outsides and inside the studio. They are crucial for diffusing, bouncing, or flagging artificial and natural lights.
Most photographers don't understand the basic concept. If you are one of them, then you must check out this post that tells the exact difference between speedlight and strobe. After that, you can move ahead with this post and learn more about the reflectors.
Here you will learn when and how to use reflectors in newborn photography.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT REFLECTOR
If you do not have any experience buying reflectors, it can be a little bit intimidating. With so many features, colors, sizes, and shapes that can be a bit overwhelming.
FIRST THINGS FIRST:
For newborn photography, if you want a portable choice or you shoot individual portraits, you should choose one on the smaller side. The light reflector spreads the light over a wide area, and it makes the light softer. They can be a little demanding for trekking around, but a 40'' reflector includes multiple surfaces that can be altered out depending on the needs, they are also collapsible. Reflectors larger than 40" are best for studio lighting, and can be awkward outside.
Gold makes a golden and natural warm fill that is best for indoor or sunset portraits.
Sliver can produce a high-contrast image through increasing highlights. It is essential for white and black photography, product shots, and video.Black is used to subtracting light or used as a flag to block light.White gives a neutral colored bounce and even light that works best as a fill light source.
Translucent fabric a utilized for diffusing light, making a soft effect and broad light source.
GETTING A HANDLE ON LIGHT
Regardless of what reflectors you select you'll need to prop it up. Your choices are either having an assistant hold it, or purchasing a stand intended for holding and positioning them. Another vital aspect to keep in mind while shooting with natural light is to limit how long it is directly aimed at the baby because they do bounces UV light after all.
When shooting with natural light, there are a few factors to take in consideration when deciding where to place your reflector. If you are planning for an outdoor shoot, then my post "secrets to successfully photographing a newborn outdoor" will definitely add a piece of information into your knowledge.
The effects of backlighting your baby with natural light are amazing. The rim light made from backlighting will outline the newborn and give a soft haze to the back. The issue is that it spades parts of the infant in shadow. When you place the reflector directly in front of the subject, you can quickly bounce the sunlight and adding soft lighting to the forefront. By doing this, you can control the number of shadows on the baby while also adding a little dimension and drama to the photograph
The dark reflective surfaces under the subject, for instance, brick or black-top, can actually bounce strange coloring or dark shadows under the eyes or chin of the child. To aid in counterbalancing this, put a reflector, angled up, in front of the subject to softening these shadows.
OVERCAST AND HEAVY SHADE
You can still shoot in these situations as long as you account for the uneven light. These situations can also make heavy shadows below the chin and eyes if you are not cautious. For countering the balance of the shadows, you will need more than one reflector. Two will be used as key lights on each side of the newborn depending on the direction of the sunlight, and one needs to be positioned at an angle under the subject directly.
The goal here is to bounce as much of the light onto the child to avoid a flat image.
While in the shade, you still may need to diffuse light to avoid harsh shadows. You can do this by utilizing a sheer white reflector. This method is also useful while photographing children or infants outside of the studio. It is essential not to expose their sensitive skin to direct sunlight. Utilizing a soft white reflector to diffuse the light will allow you to capture the images while those little bodies free from harm.
Key lighting is the best use of a reflector mentioned so far. One of the best features of a reflector is its portability. When out on a spot shoot, all you need is reflector and a quality speed light. When positioned as the key light, the reflector can bounce any existing light either artificial or natural on the subject and provide a sense of power to the images. It is like having a studio lighting in your back pocket.
You can also make use of a gold reflector to bounce the sunlight and adding some dramatic shadowing onto the child. It aids you in keeping the bokeh in the background without blowing out the exposure of the picture.
STUDIO/ ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING
When a reflector is positioned opposite to the principal light source, it emits amazing fill light. You can also put the reflectors in the lap of the child or in front of them at the angle, for softening sharp features or softening all of the shadows under the chin and the eyes. If you want to learn more about the photography and lighting, then you can check out my informative guide to newborn photography studio lighting.