reflectors and light stands

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by annft212, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. I am planning to get a 5-n-1 collapsible reflector and a light stand, primarily for use in outdoor portraits. This will be my first use of reflectors. What size reflector would be best for me to get, perhaps 32" or 42" (if I only get one right now)? Also, what height of light stand would be best for this use, 6 feet, 8 feet, or ??? I really only want to buy one of each at the moment so am looking to figure out what to start with that would be versatile. Thank you in advance for any advice.
     
  2. Depends. I think the way to determine reflector size is: Frame somebody for a headshot and measure which reflector fits between the two of you. Also figure out, what you might be comfortable to carry. I have a Neewer 110cm (42"?) It fits into my beloved Gebirgsjäger backpacks, which I consider the perfect size for my everyday needs, but they are bigger than others' choices.

    Reflector stands? Outdoors?!? - I hope you are specializing in portraiture of construction site staff, combat soldiers, firefighters and other hard hat wearers, otherwise you might be heading for disaster.
    Seriously: Any stand that is fun to carry must be too light to withstand the wind. Next issue: How to aim your reflector? You could of course borrow nautical technology, use a few tent lines to fix your mast / stand another pair to adjust that sail / reflector and have people trip over those lines.

    Most of the time you'll probably need the reflector to do the bottom part of some clamshell lighting. Ask your model to hold it, use your left hand or get an assistant.

    If you really want a stand: Get the bigger one, since it will have slightly broader legs.
     
    annft212 likes this.
  3. From a practical point of view, using reflectors on a lighstand outside is a disaster waiting to happen

    Due to the size and shape, no matter what reasonable size (anything over 10 inches, using anything smaller basically is useless for any other then - really - close up portraits) or shape, they become incontrollable and move/get blown (over) at any odd directions as soon as the wind catches hold of them
    Best way to use a large reflector is having someone to hold it, not only to flex with the wind (and return into the intended position when the wind gust has passed),
    but also to be able to turn it into the desired angle (not only horizontal, but also vertical) to get the best most effective result/reflection
    There are collapible reflector holders for sale, eghttps://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/357125-REG/Impact_1103_Telescopic_Collapsible_Reflector_Holder.html but although handy for studio use, they as just as worthless for use outside when there is a bit of wind

    IMO a major consideration when buying a reflector (and lightstand) is not only to consider the usability outside, but als inside eg a studio
    With that in mind, getting a as large as possible reflector IMO is the most sensible, so you can use it not only for portraits, but also half and three quarter size shots
    without having to break out (and not to forget buying) an extra light

    Over the years I have collected several collapsible reflectors
    My first was a 32 inch Lastolite I got well over 30 years ago which me cost well over $150 back then
    Since then prices have gone down and other brand selection has extended extensively, I now have several much cheaper (and justly so as oi basically is a piece of reflective cloth on a metal ring) 40+ inch ones from several other far less well know manufacturers

    Basically the same goes for the lightstand
    Get a as big and portable one as possible, but keep in mind that 'bigger' brand (and consequently higher price) tag doesn't always have to mean major added value
    But at least get one capable of carrying several kilograms, so you in time or when needed can also use it to carry an extra light/studioflash/whatever with modifier in the studio
    A heavier duty/load lightstand will also automaticalll have a sturdier built quality, as in broader and stronger feet, extra height, and stronger/thicker 'tubes' (nice if not essential for carrying a heavy light or withstand wind gusts when used with a reflector outside)

    HTH
     
    Uhooru and annft212 like this.
  4. As usual, keep it simple. I’d look at at the Manfrotto Master, stacker, there’re 12’ high, aka sturdy at lower height. High enough to block out sun if you want. As for a reflector size, think about your subject, usually people are around 6’ so half that is 36”, look at 42” reflectors. I personally like a black and white and a diffusion or one of these all in one. Next up you need to clamp this onto the stand, A clamps can do the trick for vertical placement, but otherwise you need and want a reflector holder. They’re a bit whimsy but do the trick, mostly. Get the one with clamps. And finally you might want to consider a small sand/weight bag and be aware of any wind as mentioned. Finally check out used sections everywhere. This kind of equipment gets resold often, and for low prices.
     
    annft212 likes this.
  5. I think you should first learn where to see and find good natural light. Once you find it you don't even need a reflector. If you do need one you are better off having a helper hold it and angle it to reflect the light. A stand is not so good for outdoor natural lighting. Indoors in a controlled studio ok. I personally use foam core as a reflector like they use in the movies or a professional commercial shoot. Its cheap and you can get a larger size than the round pop up reflectors. The larger the size the better and softer lighting. Good luck
     
    annft212 likes this.
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