Yellow/Shine [Nurture Photography]

Much like the late Spring earlier in the year and the late summer, autumn has taken a little longer to show itself on some of the trees. Leaves which have usually transformed to a bright yellow by now are only just beginning to show signs of change. The weather has been beautiful though, cool breezes and glorious sunshine! The low sun in the evenings is one of my favourite things about the season.


As gorgeous as the sunshine has been, shooting in it can bring its own set of challenges. Often the sun is too harsh to shoot in directly and when taking portraits I try to find a nice patch of open shade. But even in the shade the light can often be not quite as I’d like it to be and in these cases it’s a good idea to use a reflector to better control where the light lands on your subject.

Tips for Using a Reflector

Tips for Using a Reflector

Tips on Using a Reflector

There are many options when it comes to choosing a reflector, you can even use a car sunshade or make your own reflector using some white foam core board or kitchen foil. You simply need something that will bounce light back onto your subject.

At its most basic, a reflector is exactly that: something that reflects light back onto your subject. Once you’ve decided what kind of reflector you’d like to use, you should experiment with having it in different positions to see which you think best lights your subject, paying particular attention to removing any unflattering shadows and to lighting up the eyes.

When I’m taking photos of food in my kitchen I often use a smaller DIY reflector (kitchen foil wrapped around some cardboard) to add some more light back onto the dish I’m photographing and to soften any harsh shadows. You can make use of a reflector for all kinds of photography, crafters might like to use a reflector to help them take higher quality photos of the crafts that they have made (A great idea for Etsy Store Owners!)

Tips for Using a Reflector

(Left: Natural Light, No Reflector) (Right: Natural Light, Large White Reflector)

In backlit situations, a reflector is great for letting a little more light back onto your subject. Portraits with backlighting sometimes cause your subjects face to look a little flat, a reflector angled slightly to the side can produce much more flattering results. You can also use a reflector in this situation to help avoid blowing too many highlights, you’re adding more light onto your subject which decreases the difference in exposure between subject and background… allowing for more of the background details to be captured in the photograph.

Proper reflectors for photography can come in a variety of colours, the most common being white, silver and gold.The reflector I use has a white side and a gold side. The white side has a softer, more subtle effect and I use it more frequently… but occasionally the gold side is perfect for adding a little warmth to an image. A silver reflector has a similar effect to a white one, but can be a better choice for darker conditions as it will reflect more light than a white reflector.

Tips for Using a Reflector

(Left: Natural Light, White Reflector) (Right: Natural Light, Gold Reflector)

Have you ever used a reflector in your photography?

Nurture Photography Challenge

I’m teaming up with Kristi of Live and Love Out Loud to bring you the autumn edition of the Nurture Photography Challenge. Join our burgeoning community of photographers each Friday and share your favorite images inspired by our weekly prompts. We’ll have freebies, photography tips and tutorials, and personal feedback to encourage you along the way. Stop by the Autumn Photo Challenge Page for complete details, including weekly prompts.

Get involved and share in the beauty of photography. Make your memories flourish.

Just a few more details:

All are welcome regardless of skill level, camera equipment or geographic location.

Share your favorite images inspired by our weekly prompts each Friday and grab our lovely button while you’re at it!

Last, but not least, grab our pretty little button!

autumn photo challenge,

The linky will remain open from 9am Friday – 9am Thursday CST. Don’t forget to visit and comment on the previous entry in the linky list.

We’re sharing the photography love and showcasing our talented photographers by pinning some of your lovely photos to our Nurture Photography Inspiration Board.

The Nurture Photography Challenge has taken to Facebook! Stop by, “like” our Facebook fan page, ask questions and share your work on our wall as well.

Next week’s prompt: Orange/Fiery


    • Thanks Mitzi! Yes I’m quite sure that last year most of our leaves had changed already by this time… this year we still have quite a lot of green!

    • Yes, we’ve still pretty green on the North Side of the city… the guys have been out with the leaf blowers in some places but fall is definitely later this year!

  1. Hmmm you have given me a kick here. I have a set of reflectors but I rarely use them but seeing your images has made me think I need to change that. Thank you


    Ps… Your link in the link tool is wrong and so not directing people here
    Molly´s last post ..Day 284 – Yellow

    • Thanks for letting me know Molly, I’ll see how I can fix that!

      And yes it’s worth at least trying the reflectors out to see the difference they can make. I don’t use mine all of the time, but sometimes it’s good to have the option of manipulating the natural light a little 🙂

  2. I used to have a piece of foam insulation with kind of a foil-y one side I used as a reflector but my husband ran away with it 🙁 Now I have to find something to make another one with.
    Jenny´s last post ..Chibi Miku Fun Times

    • I have a kitchen foil wrapped piece of cardboard to use in my kitchen, the proper reflector is too big to fit in there! It works pretty good though!

  3. Beautiful images! Thank you for the tips on using a reflector! I have been using mine more and more and have noticed an improvement in my portraits.

    • Thank you! Yes it really is amazing the improvement that can be made with a reflector, not only for portraits but also for tabletop photography (food, crafts etc) as well!

    • Thanks Vivien! When avoiding very bright light it definitely helps to use a reflector in the open shade… to help shine some of the light back onto your subject.

  4. Thank you for the tutorial and the Photos, where you used different reflectors – the golden reflector in the lowest Photo gives such a delicate warmt, hichlighting her face and hair in a lovely way! I have used White cardboard when taking photos in the kitchen (the best natural light in the mornings is there :), I’m going to experience with the foil as well …
    Enjoy the weekend, and thank you for hosting these challenges with Kirsti – I learn a lot from the promps and from your tutorials!
    Nina´s last post ..Yellow / shiny details {Nurture Photography}

    • Thanks so much Nina!

      The best natural light in my apartment is in the kitchen too, I use my little DIY reflector in there fairly often 🙂 The foil will have a similar effect to the white in terms of colour temperature/white balance but it will reflect more light.

      Have a great weekend!

  5. Great advice. I totally lost a picture of my son at a recent shoot because I should have used a reflector. 🙁

    • What’s the worst that could happen? Give it a try! 🙂 The magic of digital photography is that you can spend as long as you need practicing and experimenting.

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