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Photography Question 
Jessica 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/12/2004
 

Reflectors: Buying One Vs. Making Your Own


I would like to purchase a reflector. I am a novice who uses primarily natural light. What would you all recommend? Thanks.


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1/10/2006 4:34:54 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings Jessica: Instead of purchasing one, make one. The easiest thing is to just get a large piece of foamcore, available at many camera stores, art stores, etc., and cut it into whatever size you want to work with. OR...
You can also paint a sheet of 1/4 " plywood white or any other color and use that. Or...
You can buy material of any color you want at a local fabric store, and any reflective value you want, and just attach it to a sturdy backing like poster board, foamcore, even plywood, and use that. Gold, white, silver are popular. If you've got a light stand, you can attach your home grown reflector to that using any number of spring clamps available in a hardware store or B&H sells a number of clamps by Bogen made for the purpose.
Aside from homemade reflectors working well with available/natural light, they also work fine with studio flash or even hot lights. Get the picture? ;>)
Mark


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1/10/2006 5:03:17 PM

 
Jessica 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/12/2004
  You're funny, Mark. How about aluminum foil on a core board? Too harsh? Have both right here, as well as two little friends who would like nothing more than to help me! Isn't there something magical about the parabolic shape of the umbrella deal? Can you tell I haven't a clue what I'm doing?! :)

Thanks!


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1/10/2006 5:09:56 PM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
  Hello, Jessica. For outdoor portraits, my choice is white. Gold is too soft, and silver is too harsh. You can purchase a collapsible reflector and, after a week learning how to fold it up, you should be set to go. lol, just kidding. If you take a reflector on a hike, your youngest daughter looks old enough to be your assistant and cast some light into a shadow to illuminate a flower. She'd like helping mommy, I'm sure. Just a suggestion. (I viewed your gallery.)


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1/10/2006 5:09:59 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  As Gary said, silver produces a hard, kind of cold reflection on people. Gold is nice and simulates late afternoon or early morning sunlight ... or jaundice. Depends on how it's used.
The light discs that can be folded up into a small pack are OK, but a bit pricey depending on the size you get. And, although not widely reported, a number of photographers have been attacked by discs with very high-strung bungee cords while trying to fold them up for storage. I hear this is true for the especially larger sizes.
BTW, you should experiment if you make your own. Sure, you can use some spray adhesive or tape to attach whatever reflective surface you want to a piece of foamcore or anything else for that matter. Sometimes a pattern, mixing say gold in strips with white strips softens the effect a bit.
Umbrellas are light modifiers as well, but usually used with an accompanying light source like a flash directed either into it or through it. Umbrellas (depending on the kind you have) are nice for wrapping the subject with diffused light. But I have to tell ya, using an umbrella (or a reflector panel for that matter) on a stand on a breezy day can be a rather exciting experience. Almost lost a perfectly good assistant last year who was holding a reflector panel out on a roof top behind a window blocking reflections for a food shot. YIKES!! Poor guy almost got blown half way to Big Sur. Fortunately, he let go of the panel in time.
Mark ;>)


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1/10/2006 6:10:04 PM

 
Rodd    I purchased a couple of the sun shades people put on the front window of cars to keep them cool in summer , you know the ones that fold out along the dash.
cost me $1.95 each come in silver or gold and fold down to the size of a small newspaper. if I lose one or what ever its just back to the auto parts store and replase it..
hope that helps.
Rodd


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1/17/2006 1:17:21 PM

 
Steve Parrott
LightAnon.com
  I can attest to the large discs that fold up being a HAZARD! It is all but impossible to fold one back up into its cute little pouch. So don't buy one with the idea of how convienant they are. Once you try to fold it back up once, you will never do it again!!!


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1/17/2006 1:30:32 PM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
  lol, Steve, come on, it's easier than tying shoes.


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1/17/2006 1:37:05 PM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
  Rodd,,,I still use the automobile sun shades also. You can't beat them in some lighting situations that no other reflector is going to work in. and, you don't want to go to fill flash.


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1/17/2006 1:41:22 PM

 
anonymous 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
  I made my own. I bought a windscreen reflector, it was silver on one side, and gold on the other, I cut two big circles out of it and then sewed bias binding around the edge to finish it off. They work great, only time they looked a little off was when I held it too close to a baby once, cause she couldn't hold her head up well, and she looked a little jaundice, but that was it.

Total cost about $12 AUD


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1/17/2006 3:17:02 PM

 
Michelle  Heath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2006
  I am an amateur pet portrait photographer that gets talked into people portraits by friends (and they turn out great) I had to make one for an indoor shoot over last weekend. I had a 12x12 piece of cardboard (I saw this on photo show on tv)I covered it with aluminum foil. It worked great. The friends had two standing lamps and some outside light from one window. I was afraid I wouldn't have enough light but with that and my flash it was perfect. I have not tried gold yet. But am going to.


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1/18/2006 11:58:54 AM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
  watch reflected light off a gold reflector Michelle, it can make a person look jaundiced. Balance it out with flash. If you do it right though, especially when being used to photograph the female complection, it can really really stand out. Good Luck with your new challenge.

Regards
Gary


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1/18/2006 2:49:51 PM

 
Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2005
  For what it's worth... the fold-up reflectors are definitely the best way to go. They are quite cheap (considering), fold up easily, they do the job.... and even a child can hold it.


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1/18/2006 5:21:18 PM

 
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