Photographers Are Not Using This

Photographers are not using this essential yet inexpensive piece of equipment.

Browsing Social Media, I see hundreds of photos a month, and so many images that just look OK, but they could be so much better if the photographer had just introduced this item into their gear. I notice dark eyes and the lack of highlights in images. With the eye being dark, it looks lifeless and rather boring to be honest.

Before I start, I have been wanting to create this article for a good few months. It was amazing working with all these incredibly talented people.

I want to thank:

Hair & Makeup: Casey from Blush
Model: Ashke (Instagram)
Venue: Maggie from Palm Manor

sean van tonder model photography

I don’t know why photographers are not using this simple, cost effective and essential item. Is it because they they don’t know that a simple 5 in 1 reflector can assist in creating  great images,  or are they just lazy, or is it because they do not want to hire an assistant, or is it because they are happy with images with lifeless eyes and dull skin tones?

sean van tonder photography

The 5 in 1 Reflector


To demonstrate, have a look at the set of images below where I have, and have not used a 5 in 1 reflector.

Please note that the only editing that was done, was in Lightoom, where I have adjusted the colour, contrast and sharpening).

sean van tonder photography

Ashke is sitting indoors at a bar. There is natural light coming in from a window behind her. One can see that when I used no reflector, the skin looks quite dull and the eyes are rather dark. The reflector also lifted the shadows on the left side of her face (your right), providing a better overall exposure.

sean van tonder photography

While we were busy with the shoot, Ashke mentioned that she had done 3 photo shoots previously, and I was the only one that used a reflector. 😎

sean van tonder photography

We then went and shot outdoors. The sun was to the right of Ashke. (You can see the sun hitting the right side of Luke’s (my assistant) face.  Luke reflected the light onto Ashke, creating nice catch lights in the eye and warmer skin tones.
sean van tonder photography

The 5 in 1 Reflector costs less than R500-00.

sean van tonder photography

We moved completely into the shade for the next photo. The sun is about 45 degrees to Luke. You can see the sun on the right hand side of Luke’s head. The building is casting a large shadow, causing Ashke to be completely in the shade.  The difference is very evident. Look how beautiful the light is on Ashke where I used the reflector. Look at her eyes, see how the light brings them to life.
sean van tonder photography

Very similar to above, but I wanted to show how a reflector can assist in helping with exposure.

sean van tonder photography

Both images were shot seconds apart. The left image we used no reflector. See how underexposed it looks. I know I could have changed my settings for a correct exposure, but that would not have created the catch light in the eye, or brought in the warm skin tones.

sean van tonder photography

I hope this article has been helpful and gets photographers to add this useful item to there gear and create better looking portraits.

Happy shooting!

You can purchase a 5 in 1 Reflector at a number of online stores or you can pop into Broadcast Lighting and get one for R349.

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