Expanding the Gear


Lighting is the most basic part of photography.  A good photographer needs to learn how to observe and use light to create magic.  That’s where reflectors come in and do their thing.

Since reflectors don’t create light, their primary purpose is to fix shadows.  Basically a reflector is used as a replacements for the fill flash.  They are great for bouncing a flash when there’s nothing around to bounce off of.

Reflectors come in different colors:

  • White Reflectors:  Simply bounces the light, and the light is soft and nice.
  • Silver Reflectors:  Light is much brighter than a white reflector.
  • Gold Reflectors:  Changes the color by warming it up a bit with an orange tone.
  • Black Reflectors:  Used to block light.

In an effort to enhance the quality of my photographs, I recently purchased several accessories from Amazon.  One of these accessories was a kit of small cardboard reflectors.  I decided on the “Selens Six Pack 8.3 x 11.6-inch flash bounce reflector paper card board diffuser cardstock” for photography with three acrylic holder clips.  Amazon’s price was $15.99.

The acrylic clip holders make it easier to hold the reflector cards, spread the effects of light, deliver different rim lights, and control the angles of reflected light.  This kit is ideal for desktop photography such as food, jewelry, cosmetics, etc.  Reflectors are also used in portrait, macro and landscape photography.

The Selens Kit includes the following:

  1. Three acrylic clip holders
  2. One matte gold card
  3. One matte silver card
  4. One gloss silver card
  5. One gloss gold card
  6. One white card
  7. One black card

Even though these easy-to-use reflectors will be useful for my line of work, they were found to be fragile and vulnerable to wear off pretty fast.  Already one of the corners of one cardboard has bent off.  I’m sure they will deteriorate very fast.  Plan to replace them with cardboard paper easily found in nearby stores.  The acrylic clips, even though they have a weak stand-up balance, seem to be more durable.  Time will tell.

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Photograph by ©Omar Upegui R.

Light. I believe that light is the most transformative tool at any photographers disposal.  Whether the lens is aimed at flowers, plants, wildlife, or landscapes, the creative use of light is often the difference between a snapshot and a powerful photograph.

It’s all about seeing.  It’s about being surrounded by the ordinary and learning how to find the extraordinary.

Good Day!

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4 thoughts on “Expanding the Gear”

  1. Hola Omar,
    One of my sons worked for a company that sold products on ebay. Part of his job was to photograph the products for uploading to the ebay “storefront”. Ebay has some strict requirements on photos, colors, backgrounds, etc. My son set up a photo area in the shop and tried various arrangements of lighting, and reflectors to eliminate the shadows and try to get the purest colors for the product. With people shopping on-line, this is the only chance a vendor has of making the sale. It reminds me of driving on Central Avenue when it had traffic and trying to buy a shirt. The visual presentation has to make the shopper stop and look closer.

    At least on ebay you can avoid the parking hassle!

    1. Hola Jim and Nena:

      I get what you mean. I have been doing that for a while and I love the sensation you get after the picture is totally finished and posted in the blog. Little things like this kit makes a great difference in the way light is reflected by a subject.

      To improve the colors, I also purchased an 18 percent gray card. It should calibrate my camera in what is known as Custom White Balance. As a matter of fact, I will write about this puppy in tomorrow’s blog post.

      I buy most of my stuff online from Amazon and Best Buy as well. Both have competitive prices and their delivery service is extraordinary. As you know, this merchandise is very expensive in Panama and sometimes non existent. Online purchases are a great thing for us down south. 🙂

      1. Amazon is amazing. My printer quit a few months ago. I surfed a replacement and found a replacement at Walmart, about 2 miles from our house. Then just from habit I checked Amazon. Same price, no sales tax, no shipping costs, delivered to my house that afternoon, no parking hassle, no gasoline costs, and the best return policy on the planet. What is referred to as brick and mortar stores with soon be history.

  2. Yes Jim, we are already living in the future. With the www we can be everywhere in thousands of a second and maybe faster. You only need an inexpensive cellphone and a public Internet hotspot. I tinker with technology on a daily basis, yet can not overcome the awe of what we are able to do with present technology. A high shool kid can have more information inside his heads than his teacher if he is not recycling himself continually.

    It is absolutely stunning in search of a better word.

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