Finally the other weekend I got a chance to test out the Lastolite TriGrip reflector I got as part of the deal for joining the SWPP (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers). Must admit the results are impressive and one of those ‘why did I not one of these earlier?’ kind of things so I’ll definitely be carrying it around much more, and certainly for wedding and portrait shoots. The only reason for not carrying it around more is because of size… it’s not something that just slips into my camera bag.
There are several sizes of Lastolite TriGrip, mine appears to be mid-range: described as 30cm round when packed, but the actual bag is 35cm (14″) in diameter and I’ve found that trying to get the folded Lastolite into the bag is often a bit of squeeze. This is probably because the reflector is self expanding (a steel spring/ring around the outside), but like most springs takes proportionally more effort to the smaller it becomes. Out of the bag the Lastolite unfolds instantly and easily into a triangular shaped reflector about 3x the folded size with a handle at one end. The handle in addition has an adjustable strap that wrapped around which you can slip your fingers under to provide greater grip. But the handle is very useful for a photographer by themself to hold and angle the reflector in one hand while holding a camera and taking the shot in the other.
The basic reflector is white on one side and white with silver stripes on the other and there are coloured slips that can over it, eg gold.
So why use a reflector? Well a reflector does what it says, which is to reflect light. Take a look at the test shots of yours truely. Both under the same conditions except for using the Lastolite in the right hand side shot. You can see how the reflector reduces the amount of shadow and contrast.
However, the other way to think of reflector is that it can also be used as a gobo (term used for anything that can direct and stop light going where you do not want it). I’ll post some examples of this, when I take them. We did not try it that day.