Creating dappled light with a DIY reflector


What if I told you that i only used one light to create this image. It’s true. I used one of my favorite lighting modifiers— a DIY reflector. To make it I covered a sheet of cardboard with self-adhesive mirror tiles, first scoring it in two places for easy folding. It works well with both studio strobes and sunlight, with the ripple texture of the cardboard adding a dappled appearance to the light.

It’s also a nice way of making one light source look like multiple lights. Sometimes I’ll attach colored gels to the reflector to add a nice colorful accent. For the first set of these images I used a fungus-filled lens with a star filter to create dreamy images. For the second set I used sunlight, a gold gel, and set my white balance to tungsten. Thanks to @repotrash for being a patient, emotive model.

If you enjoyed these setups make sure to pre-order my upcoming book, The Creative Portrait or check out the video tutorials.

About the Author

Nick Fancher is a photographer, author, and educator who specializes in dramatic lighting, often employing the use of bold colors and experimental camera techniques. His work ranges from portrait and commercial photography to fine art. He is particularly known for his efficient method of working, which is with the use of minimal gear, often in unconventional locations.

You can see more of Nick’s work on his website and read his blog. This article was also published here and shared with permission.

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