Exercise – Reflected Light

Set up a shot with a light source at one side. Frame your object closely and hold up a sheet of white paper on the other side of the frame. 

Try a few different surfaces as reflectors

  • What works best?
  • Can you achieve any interesting textures of colours using different materials.

On the day I chose to do this exercise half of my models had gone out for the day and the other was really ill so I decided I’d have to improvise with…myself. I don’t often photograph myself because I like to be behind the camera.

First I wrote up a list of possible reflectors I could use.

  • Reflector (I bought myself one for the Art of Photography, it comes with four types, gold, silver, black and white. 
  • Coloured paper (to cast different tints) 
  • Tin foil
  • Coloured metal 

First though I followed the exercise as normal.
This was myself without any reflector.


I sat outside in the garden which was alive with sunlight.


Sitting on the grass I set up the tripod and held up a piece of brilliant white paper. As you can see the light is fairly even on both sides whereas without the paper one side of my face would have been in shadow.


The difference when the foil was added was quite amazing. My face changes colour gradient, comparing the two I’d say it drops to a beige tint as opposed to the bright pink with the white paper. With my smile there is an area of shadow, and texture is quite defined whereas on the other side the skin is of an even texture.


Positioning the reflector underneath my face at a slight angle removes this texture though the glasses take on the reflection.

  • Other experimental reflections



The bird bath – this was surprising and the amount of reflection over exposes my face to a brilliant white!



Tinted plastic – 

With the tint it’s good to be aware of this as you only need to wear the wrong coloured top and it will constantly serve as a reflector. I had this problem once when I was photographing my cat, I realised the pictures had a rosy hue as my top was red. When I did a photoshoot for a family I made sure I wore a plain and not bright colour.






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