Sunday, 22 March 2015

Using a 5 in 1 Reflector as a Flash Bounce Panel

The Sunny Sussex seaside town of Bexhill is home to the iconic De La Warr Pavilion and photographer/artist Simon Newbury.

An improvement on the natural light!

Simon & I recently went out with Lulu Cole to see how useful a 5-in-1 pop-up disc reflector can be. I have a 30"/75cm in my go-bag with my Rogue Flash Benders as it serves a number of uses, warm and cool reflective, surfaces, black flag and contrast enhancing, white bounce & diffusion.

My 5-in-1 and Rogue Flash Benders fit snugly in the top of my go-bag. They also fit in the large outer pockets of my many Lowepro backpacks.

The core of the 5-in-1 reflector is a white translucent scrim which is primarily a diffuser for soften hard light, or even a white reflector. The black, silver, gold and solid white surfaces are a double-sided zip on cover, which can be a real pain to zip up when in a hurry.

White scrim pop-up with silver & black cover.

White scrim pop-up with white & gold/silver zebra stripe cover.

For convenience my 5-in-1 is stored with the black & gold/silver ready for action as either warm key or fill and black flag for light control.

Most people associate this kind of reflector with natural light, but with the addition of a simple bracket disc reflectors maybe used with a light stand or even on a handheld lighting boom.

Natural light, no fill. Say no more!

Bexhill seafront is open and lacking suitable reflective surfaces. The natural light on the day was poor, heavy grey overcast open sky and lacked character.

We could have used a hard direct Speedlite Off Camera Flash but really wanted something softer and more flattering for Lulu.

A relatively simple set-up using existing lighting grip gear.

Simon & I opted to use the white solid reflector panel of my 5-in-1 as Lulu has a good warm skin tone. The gold/silver would be too warm and in this case appear unnatural. We decided to under expose the ambient light a stop or so and shoot with a wide aperture to throw the grotty background out of focus.

Unexposed ambient light giving tone to the background.

The final result.

A lovely result from relatively simple kit - a bounce panel where there was no bounce panel before!

Kit List

My thanks to Simon Newbury and Lulu Cole for dodging heavy rain showers and strong gusts of wind. No pixels were harmed whilst creating this blog which cannot be guaranteed nut free!


In the UK Kupo Grip is available direct from Ianiro UK who also supply a wide range of seriously good lighting gear. 

Elinchrom flash is available from The Flash Centre. Email Simon Burfoot or call Brian Collier at the Birmingham branch.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.

Fixing a Lastolite Trigrip Difflector to a Lighting Stand

You don't actually need special kit to rig a Lastolite Trigrip to a light stand to use as either a reflector, diffuser or even a flag.

The Super or Convi Clamp should be owned by any photographer serious about their lighting, mine even have their own case I have so many! The Swivel Extension arm adds functionality to the clamp as it has a hex stud which provides a direct, non-twist fit into the Super/Convi Clamp and a ⅝" 16mm female receptor which will fit most standard lighting stands.


Click on image to view larger

Kit List
  1. Lastolite Trigrip 30" soft gold difflector.
  2. Super or Convi Clamp - Manfrotto call this a Super Clamp, Kupo Grip and others a Convi Clamp.
  3. Swivel Extension Arm KS-019 from Kupo Grip.
  4. C-stand as they're sturdy. An absolute necessity when working with large light modifiers outside and on location. The other alternative is to work with a VAL (Voice Activated Light stand) with the rig on a 1420/painters pole boom or other handheld lighting boom.
  5. 1420 VAL Spigot with ¼"20 to ⅜"16 thread adaptor. Just below the swivel on the Swivel Extension Arm is a ⅜" female thread. This can be used to convert the rig into a reflected or diffused light source.
  6. 16mm metal tube.
  7. Umbrella Swivel Bracket, Kupo Grip KS-101
  8. Frio Cold Shoe off camera flash adaptor. This also works with Elinchrom Quadra heads. Other portable battery flash heads are too heavy (in my opinion) for this rig.

Click on image to view larger


I guess I'm lucky, as a working commercial photographer over the years I've collected a wide range of grip gear, adapted and improvised in a variety of situations and locations. The majority of my lighting grip has to be multi-functional, not just single function. That way I carry less kit. You wouldn't think so if you see the back of my car prior to an assignment!


The 1420 VAL Spigot is available from selected retailers in the UK and direct from me for US or UK customers.


In the UK Kupo Grip is available direct from Ianiro UK who also supply a wide range of seriously good lighting gear. 

Elinchrom flash is available from The Flash Centre. Email Simon Burfoot or call Brian Collier at the Birmingham branch.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

DIY Homemade V-Flat Reflector


The v-flat, whatever size is a very useful reflector for photographers working both in the studio and on location.

The v-flat in the image above is made from a single A1 (594 x 841mm / 23.4 x 33.1 inches) foam core mount board costing less than a tenner.

Care is needed when cutting the hinge

To make the hinge cut with a sharp blade through the card on one side and foam core, taking care not to cut the card outer on the opposite side. Fold the card to make the v-flat - simple.You could just use it like this, mine has three surfaces, native white, bright silver where I've covered one side with aluminium foil and then protected with transparency self adhesive plastic and a white/silver breakup where I've used 2 inch metal tape to create a random pattern.



White v-flat ideal as a fill when creating clam shell lighting in the studio. Also a useful flag for blocking light from parts of the set.


Bright silver reflector - hard and specular. very efficient, not very flattering for portraits. Can be used to create a spotlight effect.


Silver/white breakup - it's not silver, it's not white. Ideal when neither silver or white will do. The light source bounced from this will dictate the effect - hard light will give a dappled effect. A soft light a specular white.

To make the v-flat more durable I recommend reinforcing both the hinge and corners with white duct or gaffer tape.

Corner reinforced with white tape.

Reinforced hinge will lengthen the life of your v-flat.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelightsidegroup/ will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.