Brightening up small spaces by reflecting light

Let’s be real: Sometimes we’re working in cramped quarters and it can be tough. But don’t worry, we’ve got tricks for reflecting light to help make the most of even the smallest spaces!

Reflectors and V-flats

Reflectors and V-flats really can boost the ambient light and soften shadows. Small 5-in-1 reflectors can be an asset as can small A4-sized double-sided V-flats. You can buy them ready-made or make them yourself. Two pieces of cardboard taped together is a great start. Paint or stick white paper on one side. Paint or attach matte black paper to half the other side and then use tin-foil to make a reflector on the last part.

Ready-made V-flat reflector from Custom Backdrop Co
Ready-made V-flat reflector from Custom Backdrop Co

Reflecting the light

It truly is amazing the difference a reflector can make to your images. Face your reflector towards the light and bounce that light back into the shadows of your scene. White will reflect a little, silver will reflect a lot. If you wish to block the light, you can use the black side.

In the above images, I used a silver reflector and bounced natural light back into my shadows. Using the same camera settings for both images. You can see the shadow below the wooden spoon is dramatically softened.

Like to learn more about shooting still-life photography in natural light? Why not check out my self-paced online class “How to shoot simple still life photography in natural light.”