Seasonal Savings: 20% off selected memberships for a limited time. Give now

Learn it fast with expert-taught software and skills training at See what you can learn

By Jim Heid | Friday, May 31, 2013

The Practicing Photographer: Using a reflector to add fill light

A great way to improve your photography is to begin bending light to your will. That means going beyond ambient light and employing tools and techniques that enhance the light in a scene.

At an advanced level, it might involve using multiple strobe lights along with gizmos like gobos and snoots—the sort of thing David Hobby does in his Lighting with Flash series.

But at a basic level, bending light can be as simple as reflecting it. Working with a reflector is the subject of this week’s installment of The Practicing Photographer. A small reflector like the one Ben Long shows this week costs less than $10 and fits in any camera bag.

Ben Long demonstrates a reflector

Since a lot of things can reflect light, you might not even have to buy a reflector. A pillowcase, a piece of foam board, and a sheet of paper all can work to help you experiment with the fill lighting techniques Ben illustrates in the video, and greatly improve the quality of your photos when faced with substandard lighting conditions.

You’ll also see reflectors used in Derrick Story’s Photo Assignment: Natural Light Portraits, in the “Light and Lighting” chapter of Natalie Fobes’s The Elements of Effective Photographs, and in Douglas Kirkland on Photography: Natural Light Portraiture. Watch how these photographers employ reflectors, and then get out there and start bending light to your will.

Interested in more?

• Start a 7-day free trial at • The Practicing Photographerseries at • Ben Long’s courses at • All Photography courses at

Learn it from the experts.

With online video courses at, you can reach your goals faster. Learn software, improve your skills, and get an inside look at how the professionals work.

See what you can learn

Share this article:

Tags: , , , ,

Get the latest news

  •   New course releases
  •   Pro tips and tricks
  •   News and updates
New releases submit clicked

You can change your email preferences at any time. We will never sell your email. More info

Featured articles

A membership includes:

Unlimited access to thousands of courses in our library
Certificates of completion
New courses added every week (almost every day!)
Course history to track your progress
Downloadable practice files
Playlists and bookmarks to organize your learning
Become a member

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about 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

Sign up and receive emails about 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.