Solo Reflector Tips!

December 14, 2014  •  1 Comment

I love shooting outdoors, especially beautiful and interesting places like Prospect Park, Central Park, Harkness Park, etc... I think that natural light is definitely the most beautiful, and I love using a reflector to add light and life to the face and nice catchlights in the eyes, but I often shoot solo, and it can be tricky to juggle a reflector or off camera light and a light stand on my own. I've smashed my umbrella many many times and broken more pc sync brackets than I can count, and I've even had a reflector fly away never to be found again!

So, I just got a new reflector in the mail this past week. It is a 32" round 5 in 1 with a handle on each side, which is great for attaching the reflector to things. After some experimentation, I came up with an effective way to carry and use the reflector on the go when shooting alone!

The first way, and the easiest I think, is to use a big carabiner and clip it to one of the loops on your camera backpack (I have the Kata 3n1-33). Then you put your backpack on the ground and adjust the reflector until you get the right angle (A tent stake on the other handle would make it even more secure once you get it set.) Because I have so much gear in my bag, I had no problems with the wind blowing it away. And when it's time to move on, throw your backpack back on (keeping the reflector attached) and head to the next location. Easy peasy! Below are a few images taken with that setup and also pull-back shots to show how it was done. Check out those catchlights! Her face had nice light even while wearing a hat and a hood!

 

If you don't use a backpack, you can also use a roller bag! I attached the reflector to the top of the extended handle with a clamp, and hung a mini light stand (small enough to stow right in the bag) from the handle with a bungee cord so that I could adjust the angle of the reflector. The nice thing is that since your bag probably has some weight to it, you probably won't have to worry too much about it blowing away or blowing down, and when you're done, just grab your bag and move to the next location! Below are examples of that setup as well.


Comments

Shawn(non-registered)
This is great. I spent about an hour researching the best ways to use a reflector solo and most advice fell into these categories: use flash, use a light stand, or don't bother. As far as I can see you have the most practical advice for using a reflector solo.

Having just finished a volunteer shoot (I'm retaining my amateur status for Olympic consideration), I found my own solo use of reflector not great. It was a cloudy day and I placed it at the feet of my adult subject in the hopes of adding some fill light for those unflattering under-eye shadows. It might have worked a little, but not the way I had hoped. The day before I tried it on my 4 year old and it worked great - I think subject height played a factor.

I chalk it up to lack of experience, because I had everything you did, I just didn't think to put it together the same way.

Thanks again, and if I find any new ideas I'll send them over.
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