Enhancing the Gear

If you have been following my blog, you already know that my latest project is capturing the beauty of flowers.  Panama is well-known for having a variety of flowers, since it is the geographical link between North and South America.

The technique that I’m using is close-up and macro photography.  Due to budget constraints, I have been unable to buy a true macro lens.  Instead I’m using a very modest macro filter lens to get familiarize with this genre of photography.  Later on my goal is to buy a truly life-size macro lens which can be had at Amazon for about $549.00.  This is the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro lens.

What I could afford was a set of reflectors manufactured by Neewer.  The item is identified as Neewer 43″ 5-in-1 collapsible multi-disk light reflector with a comfortable bag.  Price at Amazon:  $14.49.

For those of you who are just getting started in photography, let me explain that a reflector is a useful tool to modify light.  After all, photography is all about drawing with light.

Light modifiers are tools for controlling light, where you can get softer flattering light, or you can direct the light to fall o to specified places on the subject or near the subject, depending on the effect you are going after.

Of all the lighting tools at our disposal, none are quite as versatile as the five-in-one reflector. The concept itself is extremely basic. In the hands of a photographer comfortable with common lighting principles, the reflector helps us bounce light into or onto those areas that aren’t getting enough light, regardless of whether we are using natural, ambient, or studio/strobe lighting.

Board reflectors as they are sometimes called, are common types of light modifiers.  They are a flat surface constructed to reflect or light the photographer’s subject.  They are very simple to use and cheap.  They come in different shapes, sizes and colors such as silver, gold, black, white and translucent.  The possibilities really are nearly endless, and—just as importantly—affordable.

  • Silver will bounce cool light on your subject.
  • White typically soften and filter light coming through the subject; for instance in bright sunlight, or if an area of the studio is too bright.
  • Black can be used to block certain areas of the subject.
  • Translucent technically is not a reflector, this panel works great as a shoot-through diffuser for flash or location lighting, or as a diffusion panel between the sun and your subject. Since larger light sources provide softer light, using the translucent panel as a large diffuser gives you a very large, easily portable light source. While a large enough translucent reflector can also be used as an impromptu background for a head shot, the translucent panel will almost always be between your subject and the light source.
  • Gold will give your photographs a warmer effect.

In a nutshell, the 5-in-1 reflector can be one of the most versatile lighting tools in your entire workflow. Taking full advantage of its capabilities, though, won’t be possible until you know what color reflector to use for which lighting scenario. Remember, though, that photography rules were made to be broken once you’ve learned them, so be sure to experiment with color and placement.

Below are several pictures of the last item purchased to enhance my rudimentary photography  gear.  Here we go:

This is the Neewer 5-in-1 unit neatly folded inside a silk-like black bag. The reflectors themselves are very large—43 inches in diameter. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Gold reflector. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Silver reflector. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
White reflector. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Black reflector. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
This is the translucent light diffuser. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

I haven’t used them yet.  My first impression is that they’re huge and bit cumbersome to manage.  Folding them with a twist to get them inside the pouch is a bit tricky.  Had to go to a YouTube video to learn how it’s done.  It takes a while to learn how to do it.

Slowly but surely I’m building up my basic photography gear.  Take my word, it’s not a cheap hobby, but it’s worth every cent in personal enjoyment.  Good Day.

Recommended Reading:  Choosing The Right Color Reflector For Your Photography by Jeff Guyer


2 thoughts on “Enhancing the Gear”

  1. Thank you for all this information on these, Omar. That does look like it requires practice to put it back into the bag. We have a pool lounger that folds up to that size in the same way but I’ve yet to figure it out and it sits in full position in our basement, haha. Have fun experimenting!

    1. Morning Barbara:

      Yep, it’s a bit tricky to fold these big round reflectors. But if you practice a bit, it’s no big deal.

      Keep on experimenting Barbara, until you can put it back inside the bag. I had to ask YouTube for help. 🙂



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