Here’s a cheap, long-lasting DIY option for those of you in need of another backdrop and/or reflector for your studio shoots. Put together by photographer Tiffany Angeles, this short video shows you all of the materials you’ll need to create your own sturdy backdrop/reflector combo in the comfort of your own home. Read more…
Posts Tagged ‘reflector’
The SquareBounce is a pretty innovative rethink of the traditional collapsible reflector used by photographers everywhere. Shaped like a “flat umbrella,” it’s easier to hold and orient in almost any photography situation and, as their website points out, it can actually double as an umbrella if need be. Read more…
Want to capture some wind-blown hair in a portrait photograph but don’t have access to an electric fan or wind machine? Photographer Benjamin Von Wong has a quick tip just for you: use your collapsible light reflector to create the needed wind. Simply have someone off camera fan the reflector at your subject in the direction and intensity that you want, and voila! instant wind machine!
Want to improve the quality of the photos captured using your DSLR’s popup flash? Tina (AKA synthetic_meat) discovered that the cardboard box that came with a particular brand of chocolate had a nice silver lining on the inside — perfect for making a mirrored bounce reflector! After some cutting, scoring, and folding, she came up with a DIY Lightscoop clone that lets you bounce your onboard flash off the ceiling or wall for softer and more appealing images. You can download the free template to make your own in both A4 and Letter formats.
Here’s a short video in which photo instructor Bryan Peterson shows how you can use sunlight and a simple reflector for creative macro shots — perfect for people who have a macro lens but lack lighting equipment.
Here’s a helpful tutorial that teaches how to shoot in harsh, midday sunlight using a single reflector to soften the shadows on your subject. If you’ve never used a reflector outdoors before, it’s a great primer for getting started. Aside from buying a nice reflector for about $30, you can also find cheap ones for under $10 on eBay, use a car sun shade, or make one yourself with cardboard and foil.
If you need a cheap way to bounce some light, don’t want to spend a wad of cash on a real reflector from a camera shop, and don’t want to take the time to make a cardboard and aluminum foil reflector, you can buy a cheap car sun shade (less than $10 at Walmart) as a cheap reflector. They’re lightweight, foldable, and reflect light well — just make sure the reflective surface is white or silver.
If you’ve ever found folding up a reflector to be difficult, here’s a short and sweet video tutorial on how to make it fit back into its bag.
Want to print your own flash reflector? Pieroway has free PDF templates that you can use. The templates print double sided, with black printed on one side and faint gray fold lines printed on the other. Print it, cut the shape out, fold along the lines, and attach it to your flash with a rubber band.
If you want a reflector to play with lighting, but don’t want to shell out money for a real one, you might want to try making an aluminum foil reflector. They’re cheap, easy to make, and decent at providing fill light for harsh shadows.
How to Make It
What you’ll need:
- A large, flat board (i.e. cardboard box, display board/foamcore)
- Adhesive (i.e. tape or spray-on adhesive)
- Aluminum foil
The process of actually making the reflector is very intuitive. Simply modify your board to the size and shape you want, and attach aluminum foil to the surface. One thing to note is that aluminum foil usually has two different surfaces:
One is more reflective than the other, so it’s up to you to choose which you’d like to use. Instead of choosing, I covered both sides of my cardboard with aluminum foil, with a different surface on each side. This allows me to choose how much light I’d like to reflect.
Also, some people choose to crumple up their aluminum foil before attaching it to the board, since this provides a softer and less directional light. You can also spray paint the foil to change the color and quality of the light you reflect.
Here is how my personal reflector turned out:
I chose to use a cardboard box since it was cheaper than a foamcore and could be folded up and tucked away, while having enough surface area to provide a significant amount of light.
How to Use It
These reflectors can help you add fill-light to an outdoor shot where harsh lighting would otherwise cast unflattering shadows on your subject. Take the following “portrait” for example:
You can use the reflector in this situation to fill in the shadows:
Here’s the portrait that results. Hover your mouse over it to compare it to the original:
As you can see, the reflector can help you overcome undesirable lighting conditions and can add a glint to your subject’s eyes that brings any portrait to life.