The simplest of all lighting tools is the reflector. Any surface that can reflect light can be used as a reflector. If you buy a reflector then the best choice in my opinion is a 43″ 5 in 1 reflector. You can use this as a reflector, as a background and as a light-modifier by placing your flash behind the translucent part. Remember the bigger the light the softer it is.
- Reflectors and Light
- Gold – creates warm tones
- White – neutral color effect
- Silver – creates neutral tones but brighter than white
- Black absorbs light
- Translucent reduces intensity of the light
- No more need for Multiple reflectors, Silks & Solids
- Five in One with Removable, Reversible Cover
- Black, Silver, White, Gold & Translucent
- Steel Framed, Circular Lightweight Silfoil Style
- Compactly Folds into a Disk One-Third its In-use Size
Direct sunlight bounced off a silver reflector tends to be too harsh for portraiture and most other subjects, unless you’re going for a relatively hard lighting effect. On the other hand, the efficiency of a silver reflector is perfect for bouncing light from a more diffuse source such as an overcast sky to fill shadow areas of the subject.
A gold reflector is essential the same as the silver reflector except that its golden color tints the reflected light, which adds warmth to the subject you can use the gold reflector to counteract the excess blue in the reflection of the light from a North sky, or to simulate the golden glow of a sunset lighting. The golden color also reduces the intensity of the reflected light slightly compared to a silver reflector. How much depends on how dark the gold color is and how shiny or matte the surface.
Like silver reflectors, white reflectors redirect the main light-source. However unlike the silver reflector, the white reflector has a white matte surface that diffuses any light that strikes it. , transforming even a hard point-source light into a soft diffuse light. The white reflector reflects light over its entire surface, so the reflector becomes a secondary light source. White reflectors are much less efficient than silver reflectors, with a loss of approximate two f-stops or more.
White reflectors do a great job of simultaneously softening and subduing a strong harsh light, such as sunlight, and making it suitable for a fill light for an outdoor portrait. On the other hand, a white reflector isn’t usually efficient enough to function well when reflecting a dull light such as an overcast sky.
The black side of your reflector is a absorber. It is the opposite of a reflector, it absorbs most light that strikes its surface. You use it to control unwanted reflections. For example placing a black panel just outside the frame on the shadow side of a portrait head can significantly reduce the amount of light that’s reflected into the shadows, a handy trick when you need to increase the contrast of the image.
Another common use for an opaque black panel is to create portable open shade conditions wherever you want. You can mount the black panel on a light stand and then position it between the subject and the sun so that it creates a pool of shade for the subject. The effect simulates shooting the subject on a porch or under the overhang of a building. In this case the black panels functions as a kind of GoBo or shade.
A diffuser is a white translucent panel which looks a lot like a standard white reflector but works very differently. A difusser is a surface that difuses and reduses the intensity of light when you place it in the path of the light that is falling on the subject. A diffuser can transform a hard , point-source light, such as direct sunlight into a soft diffuse light.
They can be used to put a flash behind them and making it a big light-source.
A great article from Westcott that also advices which one you should get;
Here is a series of video explaining the reflectors.
And folding it made easy;
This is helpful in two easy steps, I count more then 2 LOL.