In real estate and home decorating, pros consistently recommend adding mirrors to your walls to open up the space and make it feel bigger. Perfectly placed mirrors catch sunlight from windows or rays from lamps and reflect them to fill your room with warmth. This simple trick, capable of illuminating your home, can also take your photography to the next level. Adding a mirror can turn your nice photo into something worthy of publishing.
As product photographers we are constantly looking for ways to manipulate light to showcase the best features of a bottles, boxes, food, pieces of furniture, or anything else under the sun. Mirrors can be pointed to add highlights to edges, reflect light behind or through your subject and increase the range of your lights. When it comes to tabletop photography, mirrors are so portable and versatile they remove the need to bring a full studio setup on location.
Properly placed mirrors can direct light into ever nook and cranny for perfectly lit portraits.Outdoor shooting provides difficulties of its own with harsh light creating dark shadows or squinting models. Give your subject some relief by moving them into the shade and using mirrors to reflect the light at a flattering angle. A diffuser can also save your model’s eyes from the glare.
But mirrors are heavy! They don’t have to be. Because you’re using it to bounce light you don’t need anything fancy or heavy. You’re not hanging it over a fireplace or using it to apply makeup so the quality doesn’t have to be superb, it just needs to reflect light. Plexiglass or acrylic mirrors are light weight making them easy to reposition, hang and transport.
The verdict? The next time you are stuck in a lighting conundrum, reflect on mirrors.