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I am a budding photographer and have taken some good one-person and couple photos but I am needing help using a reflector. I am shooting a family of 3 in a week. It will be outdoors but mostly in shaded areas under trees, etc. Some of my shots are taken further away to get more of the scenery/bridge in the shot. Where should my helper hold the reflector in these long shots so it is not shown in the photo but still reflects off their faces? All videos I have watched use reflectors for one person and hold the reflector right near them for close up shots. Thanks.

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    I guess you don't want to edit the reflector out of the pictures? You could take a picture with the people and the reflector and one of the background where everyone has stepped away. You can then clone away the reflector using that background picture, after you have adjusted the brightness of that second picture to match that of the area in the first picture. You may also need to properly align the pictures. – Count Iblis Nov 2 '14 at 0:30
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    If you don't want to do what @CountIblis suggested I would say that it's simply not possible. You may want to consider getting some speedlite instead. – jon2512chua Nov 3 '14 at 4:00
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For a long shot you don't need to worry about brightening the face so much. Lighten it in post — the small feature can tolerate a little more noise. Bracket the shot so you can swap in brighter faces if necessary.

When starting with digital, I remember being impressed with how that simplified fill light especially working alone.

  • Very true, with the caveat that one shoots raw if they want the most latitude to do this. – user31502 Feb 3 '15 at 17:56
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One thing you can try, providing your subjects aren't ridiculously far from the camera, is to take 1-3 speed light flashes that mount on a bracket that goes on top of a light stand. Keep the lights low and sync them so they all fire at the same time. Use a large silver reflector and fire the flashes away from your subjects and onto the reflector. You could also aim the flashes straight up and angle the reflector over the top of the flashes and nice soft bounced light will produce a very nice fill light. I use my Nikon Sb-900 flash on a Lastolite Bracket that holds both the flash(es) and the reflector. I use the 36 inch reflector with the alternating white, silver and gold lines that makes the light slightly warmer than just silver but if you shoot RAW you can change the warmth very easily in your RAW processing software. I've done group shots of two rows of 8-10 people at full body and seeing some lawn in front of them (about 15'-20' away) in full shade and got terrific results. Give it a try at home with a fence or something to simulate the approximate height and width of your subjects. I think you'll get it pretty quickly and adopt this technique for your arsenal.

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Think of the possibility of lightening the shadows with a flash or 2.

But if you want to use just reflectors I would not use just one silver. This gives you a very narrow area of light.

Try using 2 big white foamboards. (1 assistant can hold the 2 lying on the ground.)

Or if you can afford 2 assistants you can use 2 silver ones and make them light specific faces on your group.

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