How to make a homemade photography reflector

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How to make a homemade photography reflector
Put together your own light reflector from common materials. (iso-5555/iStock/Getty Images)

Exposure to light is a vital part of photography, and using a reflector is an easy way to completely illuminate your subject without the shadows cast by natural light. Professional reflectors are available but may be prohibitively expensive for the amateur photographer. Luckily, it is very easy to make homemade reflectors with commonly available materials.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • White foam board
  • Aluminium foil
  • Stanley knife
  • Tape

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  1. 1

    Purchase a white foam board at a craft supply, art supply, home improvement or office supply shop. Get a large piece that you can cut down as needed. Choose any thickness.

  2. 2

    Cut the foam board with the sharp knife to the size you want. Choose a smaller size for tight light control, or leave the board large for photographing large-scale objects and people.

  3. 3

    Unroll a length of aluminum foil long enough to cover the board, plus at least 5 cm extra on all sides. If the strip of foil is not wide enough to cover the width of the board, use two or more strips overlapping vertically by 2.5 cm.

  4. 4

    Scrunch the foil up loosely into a ball so that it gets a textured, crinkled surface, and then gently smooth it out again. The wrinkled surface diffuses and softens the light cast by the reflector onto your subject.

  5. 5

    Lay the pieces of foil over the foam board, and wrap the extra around onto the back. Attach the edges of the foil to the back of the foam board with tape.

  6. 6

    Prop the reflector against a nearby wall or chair and orient it towards your subject. For more control over its position, or to use it outside, build a homemade reflector stand using a photography tripod and some PVC pipes.

  7. 7

    Vary the effect of the reflector by removing the foil and just using the white foam board in brightly lit conditions. Purchase foam boards in other colors including gold and black for different effects.

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