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.

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