Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Augmenting direct light with reflectors

From: Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up

Video: Augmenting direct light with reflectors

When we had indirect light, we had light wrapping around all of the details in our image. Every side was evenly illuminated. Now, we have a problem. We've got this nice, direct light that's creating a lot of cool shadows and things, but it's, in some places, creating too many shadows. As I mentioned before, I don't like how dark these things have gone. I've got a couple of other shadow problems that I'm not crazy about. I don't like this line across here that's being cast by this pod over here. So, what do I need? I need more light. I need light wrapping around like it was when I had diffuse light. So, you may think, "Oh! That means you get to use your strobe," which I could. Strobes are hard to control. They produce a lot light, as do continuous lights.

Augmenting direct light with reflectors

When we had indirect light, we had light wrapping around all of the details in our image. Every side was evenly illuminated. Now, we have a problem. We've got this nice, direct light that's creating a lot of cool shadows and things, but it's, in some places, creating too many shadows. As I mentioned before, I don't like how dark these things have gone. I've got a couple of other shadow problems that I'm not crazy about. I don't like this line across here that's being cast by this pod over here. So, what do I need? I need more light. I need light wrapping around like it was when I had diffuse light. So, you may think, "Oh! That means you get to use your strobe," which I could. Strobes are hard to control. They produce a lot light, as do continuous lights.

Before we move on to that kind of solution, it's a little bit easier to try something much simpler, and that is a reflector. A reflector can be simply a white piece of cardboard, a white piece of paper. I've actually got a dedicated photo reflector here. What I like about these is it's a very small circular thing. This was about $12, and it pops open into this reflector that's got white on one side and kind of a gold-silver mix on the other. So, my idea here is to use this to bounce some of my light source on to this side of the flower.

So, I think about this kind of like a pool shot. I'm thinking the light is coming this way, so I'm going to get my reflector right in about here to bounce the light back up onto this side. I'm starting with a light side, because no need to add more light than I need. So, if I come in here, a lot of times it's hard to tell what the reflector is doing. And, the way you manage that is take it away, put it back, take it away, put it back. I'm seeing a big change. Let me grab a couple of shots here for you. This is without the reflector. And, I'm here at f16, so I've got lots of nice, deep depth of field.

Here is with the reflector. So, that has kicked in a lot of extra light there. I'm liking that. I'm going to go ahead and try the gold side. Now, the gold side is going to throw more light, because it's a more reflective surface. However, it is also going to change the color of a light. It's going to mix in some yellowish gold. A lot of times you may not want that. It can make skin tones look a little too copper tony or something. I don't know. In this case, I'm actually dealing with a subject that's kind of yellowy gold already, so I'm assuming that it's not going to make horrible difference.

And, what I'm doing right now when I'm looking at it is that I'm watching the problem areas that I had identified. I'm looking at the thing that I wasn't liking. And, let me grab that shot. And, that looks good. I think I like that. I want the reflector right here. The problem is I have to stand here, and hold the reflector right here. It makes it a little bit difficult to do other things. What I really need is another arm. Well, you saw that earlier, actually, if you watched the accessories chapter. I have my McClamp, which we were talking about earlier, as a way of holding subject matter. I'm going to use it this time to hold my reflector in place.

So, I'm just going to clamp it here on to my tripod, and see if I can get it positioned in a way that it will hold my reflector. And, it makes these kind of complaining sounds while I'm doing that, but I'm not going to take that personally. So, what's nice about these things is they pretty much stay where you put them. Famous last words. Okay, there we go. That looks pretty good. Let me take a shot again to be sure that I am getting the effect that I want. And yes, I am. So, that's what I just got. This is looking good.

I still got this shadow across here. Now, I could try to get my reflector in there to wash that out, except my reflector is already kind of hitting this whole area with a lot of lightness. It's not really doing any good. Rather than try to change the lighting, I'm just going to try and eliminate the thing that's casting the shadow. And, if you're not sure what it is, you can just start poking the flower. That said, I should point out that -- before you start poking the flower around, -- when I got the flower set the way that I wanted it, I put some museum wax down where the stem is touching the base, just to hold it in place.

So, I've hopefully got the flower locked down here. So, what I want to do is, while keeping an eye on this shadow, I'm just going to start moving things around, and go ahead and hold my flower. Sure enough, that's the culprit. I need that out of the way. So, I could go grab another big McClamp, and try and deal with that, but I'm afraid I'll crush this whole thing. It's kind of overkill. I could use some museum wax again to try to stick this pod to another stem. I have just a little twist tie here, which I think is going to be fine.

You could probably also use a rubber band, but that's going to be harder to work with. I'm going to go ahead and fashion this twist tie into the shape that I need. If I say that I'm fashioning it into the shape that I need that sounds much more skilled than if I say I'm just going to bend this twist tie. So, having fashioned it into the shape that I need, I'm going to pull this over here. I'm trying not to break it, because, well, that just sounds kind of cruel. Also, I want to maybe use this flower for other things.

So, my real issue is I just don't want to mess up my composition here; I have this thing positioned very carefully. I don't want to get it all bent out of shape. And, I think that's going to do it. Okay, my shadow is gone. Let me see if I've still got the shot that I want. Again, I'm using live view here, just because it's easy. Now, I moved the flower a little bit, so I'm going to move the whole thing back. This is a big part of macro photography, just these tiny little positioning changes that really alter your composition.

Okay, that's looking pretty good. So, I think, I think that's good. So, I'm liking this. I've opened up some of these shadows. I've eliminated the shadow that I don't want. I've got a composition that's working for me. If you notice, I have framed . . . oh, there we go. I had a composition that was working for me. All right, you got to be very careful with this stuff. I have a composition that's working for me. I've framed it so that all of these stamens have a nice backdrop of that pink flower back there. The sides of the frames are balanced by the petals off to the side.

I'm not crazy about that green leaf that's back there. I'm going to let that go for now, because I want to do a couple of other little experimental things. I want to try going to a shallower depth of field, and I want to try another lighting thing. Reflectors are great for times when you want to fill in shadows, when you want to lighten some of the harsh areas, but after a while there are times when you just need to add a lot of light into an area, and to do that, you need to go to more active lighting. We're going to look at that next.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up
Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up

47 video lessons · 16571 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 54s
    1. Welcome
      2m 17s
    2. What you need to know for this course
      1m 37s
  2. 20m 33s
    1. What is close up?
      2m 21s
    2. Understanding minimum focus distance
      3m 55s
    3. Comparing wide lens and telephoto
      1m 55s
    4. Understanding depth of field and focus
      2m 11s
    5. Working with extension tubes
      4m 30s
    6. Working with close-up lenses
      5m 41s
  3. 28m 7s
    1. What is a macro photo?
      4m 15s
    2. Understanding how to shoot macro with a reversed lens
      5m 37s
    3. Using a point-and-shoot camera for macro
      1m 55s
    4. Working with backdrops for macro
      3m 45s
    5. Practicing macro by shooting in the kitchen
      12m 35s
  4. 58m 38s
    1. Choosing a macro lens
      2m 4s
    2. Exploring macro lens features: Focal length
      3m 16s
    3. Understanding macro lens shutter speed
      7m 6s
    4. Shooting basics with a macro lens
      8m 24s
    5. Getting closer with macro lenses and extension tubes
      11m 13s
    6. Working with depth of field and macro
      5m 1s
    7. Understanding depth and composition in macro
      6m 43s
    8. Working with subject holders and support
      6m 36s
    9. Shooting with the Canon 65 mm
      8m 15s
  5. 13m 12s
    1. Working with macro stabilizing options
      5m 45s
    2. Working with sliders for macro
      2m 44s
    3. Working with a bellows
      1m 55s
    4. Working with viewfinders in macro
      2m 48s
  6. 52m 59s
    1. Working with direct light
      6m 13s
    2. Macro and the angle of light
      2m 24s
    3. Augmenting direct light with reflectors
      6m 42s
    4. Continuous lighting to add fill to a macro shot
      5m 55s
    5. Lighting your macro scene with continuous light
      4m 50s
    6. Lighting the macro scene with strobes
      4m 59s
    7. Setting up a macro-specific flash unit
      3m 21s
    8. Shooting with the Canon Macro Twin Lite
      7m 56s
    9. Shooting macro in a light tent
      3m 31s
    10. Shooting macro on a light table
      7m 8s
  7. 19m 44s
    1. Field shooting for macro, starting at home
      7m 5s
    2. Managing backgrounds in the field
      7m 39s
    3. Shooting macro water droplets
      5m 0s
  8. 56m 19s
    1. Creating a simple manual focus stack
      4m 40s
    2. Creating a focus stacked image with manual merge
      6m 17s
    3. Creating a focus stacked image using Helicon Remote
      11m 6s
    4. Working with a StackShot rail for focus stacking
      11m 46s
    5. Merging a focus stack with Photoshop
      11m 12s
    6. Merging photo stacks with Helicon
      6m 53s
    7. Understanding the aesthetics of depth of field
      4m 25s
  9. 1m 5s
    1. Next steps
      1m 5s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.