One of the first tools a photographer uses to modify light is a reflector. They’re simple, inexpensive and create a nice look if used properly (i.e. not to close to your subject!). White and soft gold make sense, these bounce light back onto the subject to reduce contrast and create nice soft fill light. But why use a black sided reflector?
Recently I shot a good friend and incredible model, Jeremiah, on a bright sunny day. We were using available light and diffusing it with overhead silks and reflecting it with soft gold reflectors. Jeremiah switched into some edgy clothing for a new look, and this required different lighting. Remember, use and modify light to match your concept. I could have used a white reflector on the top shot, but this would have evened out the lighting on his face for a soft almost flat look. Wearing a ‘gritty’ coat required gritty lighting…i.e. lighting with more contrast. To achieve more contrast and grit in the image, I placed a black reflector near the right side of Jeremiah’s face. Black subtracts light, and in this case created shadow on the right side of his face. More contrast in the image better matched the gritty look we wanted to achieve.