5-in-1 reflector is a super-handy tool for both bounding and diffusing the light. Arron Nace from Phlearn shows you seven different setups you can create using a single light, with the addition of a reflector or even simple foamcore. Both the reflector and the foamcore are pretty cheap, yet they are versatile and can help you create a whole lot of lighting setups. Check out some of Arron’s suggestions for using them for portrait photography, both in the studio and outside in the sunlight.
The first look is the simplest and probably the one we all use quite often. You can use a reflector to bounce off the light to the opposite side of the models face. This fills in the shadows, and you can use it both in the studio and with the sunlight.
The closer the reflector is to the model’s face, the more light it will bounce off. Aaron shares a little trick: if your model is seeing the light in the reflector, then you’re good to go.
The second look simply adds up to the first one. You can add another reflector underneath the model’s face to bounce off some more light. This will fill in the shadows under the chin and under the eyes.
For this setup, you need the diffusion panel of the 5-in-1 reflector. If you shoot without the softbox, you can add the diffusion panel between the light and the model to soften the light. The closer the diffusion panel is to the model, the softer the light will be.
This technique also works outdoors, when you’re shooting in the harsh sunlight and want to diffuse it.
This setup involves two large pieces of foamcore taped together to make a V-flat. The main light source is the same as in the previous setup (a bare strobe with a diffusion panel. You need to wrap the V-flat around the model to be behind them and on the camera right. This way you create both a background and a fill light and wrap the subject in light.
For the fifth setup, you will also need the V-flat. It will serve as the key light, and you can use it to bounce the light of a small light source and make it softer. You can also add another reflector on the opposite side to fill in the shadows.
This setup makes it look like there are three lights and there’s actually just one. You should place the light source behind the subject, camera left (the right side of the model). Add the diffusion panel between the light and the model.
Then, use the V-flat to wrap it around the front left side of the model. When the light hits the V-flat, it will bounce off and make the subject lit both on the front and back, thus creating both the key and the rim light. Now you just need another reflector at the right side of the model to create some fill light.
This is a bonus look, which is not so usual, but it can find its purposes. Aaron calls it “angel/halo setup,” so maybe you can guess what it’s about.
He uses the light behind the subject, shining through the diffusion panel. Overexpose the shot a bit, and you’ll get a glow or a “halo” around the model’s head.
Personally, I liked this tutorial and these ideas because I don’t own a studio and I use what I have – DIY reflectors, a cheap 5-in-1 reflector, desk lamps, window light and so on. It’s good to get a few more ideas how to use the affordable and DIY stuff to get neat portrait lighting, without investing in pricey gear. I’m sure hobbyists like me will appreciate it, but I hope even the more experienced photographers got some ideas, too.
[6 Ways to Take Better Portraits with Reflectors | PHLEARN]