Portrait photography is a bit tricky as it all depends on the perfect exposure to create a fine balance of the image. Maintaining them is important to create an accurate and stylistically enhanced rendition of the face of the model.
At times, when shooting indoors or outdoors, the lighting setup can prevent the face to become improperly lit up. This causes shadows to develop over the facial areas leading to a lack of detail in the resultant image. However, it is best to light up the subject as best as possible during the shot to minimize any postproduction professional picture editing works.
While lighting a subject both in indoors and outdoors, a reflector is one simple piece of equipment that can diffuse and spread the light more evenly across the subject or its background. They can help light up the face of the subject by reflecting the light from a natural or artificial source.
As Fill Light
Reflectors are mostly used as a fill light to remove any shadows from the portrait. In case of natural light, it is normal to have shadows under the eyes that can cause the image to become unappealing. Positioning a reflector downwards or adjacent to the main light source can help reflect diffused light into the face thus filling any shadows. This will help in creating a more natural and soft look to the face rather than using an artificial source as a fill light.
As the Main Source of Illumination
In case of natural settings, a reflector alone would do good to light up a portrait well. Placing the reflector opposite to the main source of light such as the sun can reflect it back to the face thus lighting it up properly. The light will become more diffused when it reflects back into the face, thus giving a softer look without feeling unnatural. Besides, proper positioning of the reflector can create some spectacular lens flares and rim lights at the subject that enhances the appeal of the portrait.
As a Light Blocker
Reflectors can also function as a way to block any excess light from ruining the portrait. When photographing a subject under trees, the sunlight can penetrate the leaves and fall on a pattern over the face creating an imbalance in the lighting. In such instances, a reflector can be positioned to block any such excess light from entering the shot and falling on the subject.