WHAT IS A STREET PHOTO OR HOW TO PICTURE PEOPLE IN THE STREET?
Faced with bright sunlight, a professional photographer immediately takes out a reflector (also called light disk, light reflector, reflector). Reflectors are compact, conveniently fold. Of course, even when folded, you can’t put the retro-reflector in your pocket, and for using some in your work you may need an assistant or a special stand. But even such “inconveniences” do not detract from the dignity and necessity of having an accessory in the arsenal of every photographer.
Reflectors have different colors: white, silver and gold are the most common. The idea of the reflector is to mirror the incident bright light and thereby highlight the shadow area of the subject, thereby reducing the contrast between the brightly lit and the shadow side. Naturally, the reflector partially scatters the light and, based on this property, we obtain several rules:
1) No matter how you set up the reflector, there will be less light in the shadow area than in the sun. Of course, there are exceptions – for example, you can try to give the reflector a spherical shape and concentrate the resulting beam on the model. According to this principle, in the mountains, where there is little firewood, but teapots boil a lot of sun. But an ordinary studio or outdoor reflector for such use is, of course, poorly adapted.
2) By approaching and removing the reflector from the subject, you can adjust the amount of light. But here, as you know, there is also a limit! The closer the reflector is, the smaller the space around the model and the larger the portrait you will have to do.
3) Well, and the third rule, partially following from the second, – the larger the subject, the larger the reflector; although, most often, for the perception of a person by the viewer, there is no need to highlight the model from head to toe. To obtain a pleasant growth portrait, it is enough to soften the shadows only on the face. The rest of the shadows will look natural. Light reflectors with a diameter of 80-100 cm are most often used to illuminate a face. But, of course, there are full-height light disks! If we are talking about portable, then these are oval reflectors measuring 120×180 cm.
If you do not have this inexpensive accessory, and the model is in direct sunlight, then you can use any white material to reflect light or a white wall, if any are nearby.
The story about reflectors will be incomplete if you do not talk about colors.
White side of reflector
I rarely use the white side, but, nevertheless, you need to know about its useful properties. Its main qualities are its strong dispersion and the absence of color temperature distortion. What gives strong dispersion? Everything is simple – this means that the light will be smoothly distributed over the surface illuminated by the reflector without sharp boundaries, but also means that to illuminate a specific area you will need to bring the surface very close to the illuminated object. Thus, the scope is immediately outlined – the front, maximum chest portrait. Otherwise, the reflector appears in the frame.
What gives the lack of color temperature distortion? When shooting a portrait, this means that the part of the face that is lit by the sun will have the same shade of color as the part of the face that was lit by the reflector.
Gold side of reflector
The metallic gold color is reflected in a very strong warm color on the subject.
Every time I wanted to show my imagination and used a gold reflector, I got a “radioactive” tan on my face. Perhaps it would have turned out better with a golden surface when it is a herringbone pattern of a mixture of gold and silver or a lighter shade of gold, but so far it has not been possible to try it. There were a couple of cases when I used the gold reflector very well – I shot with a warm magic light at sunset. Then it turned out a great combination of warm colors.
The gold reflector gives a strong color temperature distortion. In scientific terms – it lowers the color temperature, which gives the light a warm shade. Yes, scientists have the opposite – the higher the color temperature, the more cold the shade of light, and lowering the color temperature leads to a warming of the shade.
Silver side of the reflector
The silver surface of the reflector is the most used, both by beginners and professionals. Almost imperceptibly changing the color temperature, it has a good reflection coefficient, so that the reflector can be set aside far enough from the subject or give a lot of light to highlight shadows. The silver reflector is also indispensable in low light, when the sun disappeared behind a dense large cloud.
The black side is not a reflector at all. It is an anti-reflector. Photographers use black color to increase the shadow in certain areas of the image. For example, if you want to make the portrait more dramatic, increase the contrast, but the stray light bothers you,