Sometimes as photographers, we forget that photography isn’t about cameras, lenses, or even subjects. It’s about light. Reflectors are one of those things that may not seem as exciting as say, a new A7RII, but they offer a lot of bang for your buck. Reflectors can be the difference between a good and great photograph, and they’re dirt cheap.
The most common kind of reflector is the “5-in-1.” These reflectors include white, black, silver, gold, and translucent fabric (either as slip covers or firm inserts). Each color has a special quality. Black reduces light, white casts a soft light, translucent softens light, silver reflects light neutrally, and gold warms your subject up. For some of these reflectors, the white and black covers also double as backgrounds for your subjects. However you use your reflector, this much is doubtless: they are one of the most affordable ways to take your photographs to the next level.
Here are the top 10 best photography reflectors in order of highest to lowest price.
1. Westcott Eyelighter Reflective Panel
For the utmost in quality, the Eyelighter is top notch. Its curves reflect light in a way that users describe as priceless, stunning, and buttery. It’s ideal for weddings, corporate headshots, and other situations where only the best will do. Another perk of this product is that for portraits of those with glasses, it helps reduce glare.
That said, this may not be ideal for all use cases. It’s large and bulky so carrying it to locations can be tough. That said, for studio and indoor use, it’s the one to beat (admittedly, at the highest price).
- Stunning reflections for portraiture
- High quality tension knobs and curved knobs
- Spine supports tilting
- Produces really nice, buttery light
- Bulky making it suitable primarily for studio use
- Extremely expensive relative to similar products
2. Westcott 1032 42-Inch (6-in-1)
This Westcott reflector kit takes the 5-in-1 concept just a little bit farther. Beyond what these kits normally include (white, black, gold, silver, and translucent), the Westcott adds in something extra. It includes a mix of gold and silver called a “sunlight” reflector. Praised for its excellent build quality, durable storage case, and unique set of features. If you can afford it, this is the way to go. One user said his previous Westcott reflector lasted 14 years.
- Excellent quality reflector yields high-contrast images
- Sunlight reflector praised as mix of gold and silver looks
- Includes one and two stop diffusion
- Produces natural fill
- High price for many users
- Large size means it’s not portable
3. Westcott Omega Reflector Kit (10-in-1)
The Omega reflector kit is the ultimate in “X-in-1” kits. Boasting a lifetime frame warranty and a one year fabric warranty, its durability is guaranteed. It’s perfect for portraits and excellent for blocking sun or softly diffusing harsh light. It can help cut your workload in post by getting things nice and even on shoot day. Praised by wedding photographers, this is a very high-quality, versatile reflector. That said, it may be overkill for casual users with its high price and broad array of options.
- Casts a gentle glow for portraiture
- Great build quality and durability
- One year fabric warranty, lifetime frame warranty
- May be larger than many people need
- May boast functions normal users won’t need
4. ePhoto Collapsible Oval (43 x 66 Inches)
Breaking the trend of “5-in-1” reflectors, the collapsible oval includes less looks, but its looks are higher quality. This oval is praised for its simplicity in switching from silver to white reflections. Its large size does not make it difficult to transport, however, since it is fully collapsible. Another great benefit of its large size is being able to use this as a background for headshots. While some users had qualms with its build quality, most found it more than acceptable given the price point.
- Ideal for outdoor shoots
- Double as a white or black background for headshots
- Large size at a reasonable price
- Has silver and white on one reflector, no switching slip covers required
- Difficult to fold
- One user complained that it wrinkled easily
- Some say warping makes large size useless as it only reflects a small area
5. Selens 5-in-1 Handle 43 Inch
This Selens 5-in-1 is an insert that has a handful of different slip covers. Many users praise its high quality, thick frame and attached handle, making it easy to hold at any angle. It doesn’t sag like other reflectors and makes shooting with one hand, and reflecting with the other a viable option. Praised for its ease of use, portability, and durability, the Selens 5-in-1 is a great product with only minor drawbacks, including sticky zippers and a lack of instructions.
Price: $19.90 (46 percent off MSRP)
- High quality, durable reflector at a low price
- Strong handle permits for one-handed use and aiming
- Easy to use and large
- Zipper is sticky
- One user had an issue with the quality of the carrying case
- No instructions mean some users were left confused
6. Neewer 43-inch 5-in-1 (Translucent, Silver, Gold, White & Black)
This affordable reflector is great for studio, casual, or outdoor photography. Like many of the 5-in-1 reflectors, it’s not truly 5-in-1, as it lets you switch between different colors: silver, gold, black, white, and translucent. Still, this Neewer stands above the crowd with its large size of 43 inches. This is a great reflector if you need something big, of decent quality, and don’t mind if the carrying case breaks (one of the biggest flaws users listed). One can always throw in a shopping bag with handles for a free replacement (though you lose the black look).
- High quality fabric that lasts a long time
- Easy to switch between looks of the different reflectors
- Fabric loop means one can hold the reflector for easy carrying during use
- Excellent gold reflection
- Some users report issues with rim after long periods of ownership
- The cheap metal zipper can fall apart on the carrying case
- A few users had issues with stitching from minimal use
7. Neewer 5-in-1 Portable Triangle 24 Inch
While it may not cast a huge light, the Neewer portable triangle can still be a vast improvement to one’s photographic arsenal. With a variety of looks and a small size (24 inches), it may not be the biggest reflector around, but it’s praised for its heavy base and solid carrying case. The portable triangle is ideal for those who just need to reflect a small amount of light and may be perfect for the beginner or one looking to add a second reflector to their kit.
- Easy to fold into its case
- Boasts comfortable grips on each side of the reflector
- Carrying case is made of heavy duty material and has a sturdy zipper
- Well made with a decently heavy base
- Bounces a relatively small section of light
- Some users say the handle isn’t very strong for one-handed use
8. Etekcity 24″ 5-in-1
Like some of the other reflectors, this Etekcity 5-in-1 is an insert that has a handful of different slip covers. The black look is just the carrying case. That said, it is higher quality than some of the other 5-in-1s, and particularly decent considering its low price. Still, 24″ is rather small, so it may work best for someone who already has a reflector and just wants an auxiliary. It’s also ideal for travelers as it has a very small size.
Price: $11.99 (40 percent off MSRP)
- One year warranty from manufacturer
- Tiny collapsed size of only eight inches
- Users praise it as a high quality product
- Some users complain folding can be difficult
- Switching between looks can be a time-consuming process
- Only the white look is taut, the other looks are a slip cover the ring is inserted inside of
9. Andoer 24 inch 5-in-1
This Andoer 5-in-1 is an insert that has a handful of different slip covers and looks to reach its 5-in-1 status. Users found it bigger than expected, but otherwise decent in quality. It is a bit too large to carry around, but it may be the ideal reflector for the “Goldilock’s range,” as in not too small or too large.
- Easy to use, folding is simple after some practice
- Medium size may be ideal for some users
- Praised for its variety of looks
- Carrying case quality is very poor
- Not ideal for carrying around
- Some users complain product fell apart after some use
10. LimoStudio 32″ 5-in-1
This clever device is great for the photographer on the budget. Like most 5-in-1s at this price range, it is an insert that has a handful of different slip covers. Users praise their variety of looks and extremely low price. Some users had issues with the product upon arrival, such as stains on the white cover, but for the most part, it delivers a consistently good experience.
Price: $8.75 (46 percent off MSRP)
- Portable and small, perfect for those on the go
- A loop behind the reflector makes carrying during use relatively easy
- Durable materials and strong rim
- Some users had issues with the zipper
- One user complained about the quality of the carrying case
- Converting between colors is a relatively time-consuming process
Want to see even more options? Browse more top-rated photography reflectors on Amazon.