On Light Part 2

In the second part of our tour of light, I would like to look at one of my favourite types, reflected or bouncing light.

Reflected light has a property that is clearly different from direct light. The look it produces has been used for years by fashion photographers, usually out of necessity (with flash also), to fill in shadows on faces, then over time modified to be deliberately warm, neutral or cool by using gold/silver or white surfaces.

Window light reflected on garden

Window light reflected on garden

 Reflected light is very clean, travelling only short distance to the subject, without atmospheric diffusion and often focussed by the reflecting surface.


If the surface is soft, the reflectance is also soft, even glowing.

This light can look like a Hollywood film set, as this is often the very technique used to control the amount and quality of light.

Personally, I love this drama. I am drawn to the beauty and complexity of the light. The contrast it renders is both compelling and controlled.

I also appreciate it’s intimacy.

Often, it grants you a similar feel to a Renaissance painting, directional, deep and enhancing which is no coincidence, as this is also a technique embraced from that period.


Where do you find it?

One of the best places is any modern city. Lots of reflective surfaces, often multi directional and plenty of near subject matter.

Sometimes the subject provides it’s own reflectance.

Sometimes the subject provides it’s own reflectance.

Light is the air that photography breathes, so it’s quality and quantity is crucial to the process. Reflected light is surely one of the best and most desirable forms of creative light available.