When it comes to reflectors, finding the right size can be tricky! Choosing a reflector at all is nothing short of a nightmare if you have never done it before!
There are so many brands offering different-sized reflectors, all designed slightly differently; you find yourself scrolling endlessly, never finding the perfect one for you.
Well, that all ends today! We are here with a definitive answer: the best size photography reflector to use and some fantastic tips to help you choose a reflector!
Keep reading to find out all you need to know about photography reflectors today!
What Is A Reflector?
Before we dive in, let’s have a quick recap for those in the room that need it.
A photography reflector reflects light and is used to reflect light towards the subject of your photographs. Usually, reflectors are placed on a stand or held by assistants, directing light onto the subject.
A reflector will help brighten poorly lit areas that usually generate shadows when the photograph is taken. Having a reflector will help to turn one source of light into two, brightening the image and giving you a brighter and usually better photograph!
Reflectors are used in indoor and outdoor photography and come in two types: natural and artificial reflectors.
Natural reflectors are surfaces that can bounce lights that are already present in your surrounding area.
For example, white sand on a beach reflects the sunlight; ponds, seawater, lakes, or snow-covered grounds naturally reflect light. Think of photographs that feature these backgrounds; they tend to be well lit and bright, don’t they?
Artificial reflectors come in three types of surface colors. Each one has a slightly different purpose, allowing you to create the finish you want in your photographs.
Let’s quickly look at those now:
- Gold-colored reflectors – are typically used for adding a warm glow to human skin tones.
- Silver-colored reflectors – are used for brightening a shadowy area of the object or model. They make the dark areas appear white or as a stronger, brighter tone.
- White-colored reflectors – are made from styrofoam and give a naturally lighter glow. They tend to offer a more soft and even glow too.
Now that we have covered what a reflector is and the different types, let’s move on to look at their size and help you find the best size reflector!
What Is The Best Size Photography Reflector?
When it comes to reflector size, the best one will depend on the object you are photographing. You want to use a big reflector to suit your subject, with many photographers stating that the bigger, the better!
Where possible, opt for the largest reflector that you can get. The larger reflector allows you to place it further from the subject, giving you even more lighting!
Now, these larger reflectors can be harder to handle and more expensive, but if you have a photography studio or are unlikely to travel with the reflector, they are fine choices!
To help you decide which size of photography reflector is best for you, you can use the following guidance below.
Remember that the size of a reflector is a personal choice to make, and you should consider these sizes and our buying tips below before purchasing your new reflector!
- Reflectors 30 inches or smaller are best suited for small product photography or close-ups. If you shoot a lot of these photographs, this is the best size for you.
- Reflectors at least 30 inches or larger are best suited for taking headshots or three-quarter-length portraits. If most of your photographs are these, this is the best size for you.
- Reflectors that are 50 inches or larger are perfect for group shots or full-length portraits. If these are what you shoot, then opt for the largest reflector you can find.
How To Choose A Reflector
Now that we have established what the best size photography reflectors are and what size you should get depending on the photographs you shoot, let’s look at how to choose a reflector.
The size of your reflector should be the first thing you consider and is based on the types of photographs you take. Once you have established this, consider the factors below to help you choose the best reflector for you!
The shape of your reflector is a vital factor to consider. Generally, they are flat and either round or rectangular, but there are other shapes you can consider if you wish!
Curved reflectors are becoming increasingly popular these days, especially in fashion and portrait photography.
Curved reflectors provide even lighting from multiple angles and are perfect for lighting a subject’s face from underneath.
Here the reflector will remove shadows from the face and neck, helping to define the cheekbones and other facial features.
Light umbrellas are another shape of reflector used, and it can be easier to control the light with these.
Compared to flat reflectors, an umbrella will reflect the light into a more focused area. They are often used to reflect light in studio settings, where the strobe is aimed away from the subject and directly into the umbrella instead.
Consider how you wish to use your reflector and select the shape that best fits your needs.
We touched on this briefly earlier, but the color of your reflector is important too. It determines the tones in your image and can transform your photograph! Be sure to check out the color options and select the color that best fits the photographs you want to capture.
We mentioned three colors earlier, but there are another two that you will need to consider. Let’s quickly look at them now!
Black reflectors – don’t reflect at all! Instead, they shield light from your image and create a more contrasty and dramatic feel. These can be great to use outdoors when you want to reduce the natural light entering the image.
Diffuser – multi-surface reflectors are usually based around a translucent diffuser panel that is fantastic for softening direct light. Diffusers can be converted into a reflector by adding a zip-on cover that comes in a range of surface colors. If you are interested in softening harsh studio lighting, diffusers are worth exploring.
Easy To Use
When selecting your reflector, you want something easy to use. You will want to consider the photographs you take and where you take them.
If you work mainly in a studio, you won’t need to worry about transporting it but should look for reflectors that feature handles that are easy to use or mounts that move easily.
Those who shoot outside, or travel with their equipment, look for reflectors that fold easily, transport well, and aren’t too heavy to maneuver.
Those listed as versatile or easy to use and handle should be considered. Be sure to check customer reviews to see just how easy these reflectors will be to use!
When choosing your reflector, consider your budget. It’s best to set a budget beforehand and stick to it as best as possible. Consider the shape and size of the reflector you want, and remember that the larger the reflector is, the more it will cost you.
You don’t need to worry about the budget, though! There are plenty of options on the market to suit every budget, so there’s bound to be a reflector that meets your needs and suits your price range.
And just like that, we have come to the end of our reflector journey today! As you can see, when it comes to reflectors, the bigger, the better!
Opting for a larger-sized reflector allows more light to be reflected onto the image, giving you a bright photograph that you are sure to love! Remember to use the other factors we discussed to choose the best size reflector for your needs!