WHAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT DIFFUSERS AND REFLECTORS

If you usually drop by the blog, you will know that we are not very supportive of large teams or recommend the most expensive cameras. We are of the opinion that the camera does not make the photographer, you will have read it many times in the different articles. Indeed, we think so. Not for having a better camera or a better team you will be a better photographer. Obviously if you dedicate yourself professionally to photography this aspect is something more important, although surely it will not be the case

Now, that having a super team and all the accessories in the world world is not going to make you a better photographer does not mean that using certain gadgets does not help, and I do not mean expensive ones. Sometimes we get scared with some terms, or we limit ourselves to our camera because we can’t make big investments, or we just get so excited about our first camera that we stay there and don’t take another step. Has it happened to you?

KEY LIGHTING FIXTURES

What you should know, just landed in this world or take some time, is the importance of light in photography. Controlling lighting is crucial when it comes to getting a good picture. This does not mean that you have to have a super lighting studio, in fact, to think this is something that slows us down when it comes to taking steps in expanding the equipment as far as light fixtures are concerned. Sometimes it’s just about having the key accessories, those that can get you out of more trouble and that also have an almost ridiculous cost.

Today I am going to talk specifically about two of them, reflectors and diffusers, what they are, what they are for and where to find them. Knowing them will mark a before and after in your picture I assure you. And I don’t tell you anything in portrait photography

REFLECTORS

Some people think that the reflectors are a matter of professionals or photography friquis. Nothing is further from reality. They are very unobtrusive, yes, and there is no professional worth his salt. Does that mean that an amateur or beginner should not aspire to them? Not at all, its use is very simple, its cost very affordable and the immediate results. I’m going to introduce you «Hello, here reader, here reflector …» hehe, I’m kidding

What is a reflector?

A reflector, as you can guess, is any object that serves to reflect the light and fill in shadows. It serves to achieve balance between light and dark and function as a second light when there is none. And when I say “any object” is because although there are reflectors manufactured specifically for it, if you do not have them at hand you can use any other material that reflects the light as an improvisation, for example, a white cardboard, a white wall or even A tetrabrik can serve as a silver reflector for small motifs.

The best known is the 5-in-1 reflector , which consists of a flexible ring with different surfaces for coupling:5 in 1 reflector

  • White. The light bounces smoothly and does not change the color temperature.
  • Black. In this case, rather than reflect, what it does is absorb excess light and intensify the shadows.
  • Golden The light bounces providing a warmer tone.
  • Silver The silver reflector bounces more light than white and like this does not change the color temperature.
  • Diffuser. The disc to which these four reflectors are attached is translucent and will serve as a diffuser (later we will talk about the diffusers).

To give you an idea of ​​the effect of the different reflectors, here is a very explanatory scheme:

Check out this video so you can see how the reflector works (no need to listen to it ).

I’m talking about records, because the best known or the most commonly seen are those with a round shape, although you can also find them with a rectangular and triangular shape . There are also different sizes, smaller and larger depending on the needs of each. You can find them on Amazon from 19 euros the 60 cm in diameter or 18 euros the 110 cm. , a very small investment for what it offers, don’t you think?

Other types of reflectors

1. Circular reflector. Small circular reflector for when the light comes from behind the subject. It has a white and a silver surface and folds.

2. Reflector panel. For more advanced or professional users. They are reversible panels with support that rotates 360 degrees to use horizontally and vertically. And we talked about other prices, around 90 euros (I already warned that it was for more advanced or professional users )

3. Umbrella type reflector. The umbrellas are used to blur the light and also to reflect it, like this one that costs about 17 euros and is silver and black.

4. For advanced. Especially if you are a portrait lover and want to go one step further, you have to know the beauty dish. Ideal to highlight the beauty of your models.

Drawbacks

Unless you have a support to place the reflector, it is very likely that you need a charitable soul that acts as a helper.

Tricks

  • For small surfaces you can use pieces of mirrors , although carefully because they can reflect the light very hard, it can be a good exercise to practice and play with them for a while to see the effects and possible results
  • Wear white clothes to reflect the light on the subject you are going to photograph, especially if you are going to photograph closely.
  • An aluminum foil on a cardboard can serve as a silver reflector.
  • Do not limit yourself to your usual use, in addition to filling in the shadows, you can use the reflector to enhance or raise the brightness in the light areas.

DIFFUSERS

Unlike the reflectors that I just presented, a diffuser that will allow you to blur the light, or what is the same, soften it. In this article I explained the difference between hard light and diffused light, in case you are not sure what I am talking about when I say soft or diffused light. And if you are in bad weather, I put an image, in a blink you will see the difference.

Diffuse light (above) and hard light (below)

The difference between one and the other, (in addition to the hat and clothing ) is that in the image above a white tissue paper has been placed on the glass to diffuse the sunlight that directly hits the window. Well, that’s a diffuser. In this case a simple tissue paper. There is also the 5 in 1 diffuser that I have presented before with reflectors and other professional diffusers, such as umbrellas or others for the flash that we will see now. In addition, you can make your own diffusers with a translucent material and some support (if you want to avoid looking for a helper ) depending on your needs.

Diffusers for the flash

There are different types of diffusers to use with the hand flash and get more natural results. The flash light is usually quite hard and can give aggressive results. (I don’t talk about the built-in flash because we never recommend it, but if you use it at least put something similar to this  )

Ah! You still don’t have flash? And you have not thought to buy one? Here you have a great guide to help you in such an arduous task ; P Here are the different types:

1.Type tab: usually come incorporated in any hand flash and unless you need all the power of the flash because you are a considerable distance from the subject, better use it if you are not going to use another or bounce the light. The result will be softer and more natural.

2. Window diffuser. It has the effect of light windows but in small size. Not worth even 3 euros on Amazon. You also have them in larger size for study, such as this one .

3. Box type diffuser. It is a small plastic box that fits into the flash. Nor does it reach the euro . As you will see the investment is not excessively important and to make portraits with flash it will be essential.

4. Strobella type diffuser. For short distances. It is a mini umbrella, somewhat more spectacular than the others but its larger surface makes it more appropriate for closer shots. Unlike the window, which emits light only from the front, the umbrella, by its shape, lets out the light in all directions.

5. Double diffuser. This diffuser has two faces, one white to achieve a softer light and another silver for greater range. And it costs less than two euros !

6. Folding diffuser. For product photography or the most creative shots.

ONE LAST TIP (OR TWO)

If you think that these “gadgets” are expensive, you cannot miss the article in which my partner Iaio tells you how you can make some of them for very little money.

Finally, I would like to give you the last advice. These accessories won’t help you if you don’t use them. I explain myself, although today you stay with the theory, as you do not put it into practice shortly you will forget the subject. If you do not do any test (even at home with a white cardboard, a piece of aluminum foil or a white tissue paper) and check the effects, this article will evaporate in your brain between so much information you receive daily, and you and I will have wasted time. We don’t want that, right? Well, come on, let’s practice !!!

And if it has helped you, please share it on Facebook, Twitter or Google + so that others can benefit from this information . Thank you and see you next time!