How To Make A Reflector

Today’s photography tip is to show you how to make a reflector. This is an easy and inexpensive way to add light to your images.

White Board Foam Core ReflectorI recently learned a little photography tip that I wish I had known years ago and thought I would share it with you. I’ve already shared about how I use white foam core boards as cheap reflectors. I would either hold them with one hand while holding my camera with the other or I would prop the foam board against something. Well, I learned that a much easier way is to use spring clamps!

Fresh Watermelon Smoothie

It makes a huge difference when wanting a more even light. The only light source is the window light. This photo was taken with window light coming in on the left. As you can see in the image above, the reflector is on the right side. I didn’t change the camera settings at all and you can see how much light the reflector adds. It made the lighting on the glass much softer and more even for the times when you are looking for that effect.

Foam Core Board Plastic Clips

All you need is a white foam core board and a couple of spring clamps. I purchased this piece of Elmer’s Foam Board and a four pack of spring clips from Walmart when I was making a softbox last January. I’ve also purchased pieces for foam core board from the dollar store. It works just the same but isn’t as heavy duty as the Elmer’s Foam Board. I really like the heavy duty metal spring clamps too. I’ve purchased them at Home Depot and they have bright orange rubber covers on the metal handles and jaw tips.

How To Make An Easy Reflector

Secure the clamps on one of the ends of the foam board. The clamps help the foam board in place and they are the feet that keep the reflector upright. Place the clamps on the short ends when you want a taller reflector and the wider ends when you want a wider reflector.

Spring Blossom Branch

Here is another example of how the reflector adds light. Both of the images look good but in the one on the right you can see how much more light is on the blossoms that are further back on the branch. If you are taking portraits, you can use this same technique to add light!

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  1. says

    Hello everyone.
    I have a few round foldable/portable ones, but I also like to have more sturdy reflectors, especially for video.

    I just made a couple of new white/silver versions and I think they turned out great.

    I bought Elmer’s 20″x30″ Foam Core ( Either 3/16″ and 1/2″ thick) + a 20″x26″ sheet of thick silver paper with adhesive backing. (I bought it all at A.I. Friedman’s here in NYC.) The silver paper’s not too shiny/metallic and it’s not too matte either. It’s perfect…and adds a little more kick than the white, if you need that. I simply centered it on the foam board and then applied black gaffer’s tape to the edges.

    Tonia, let me know if you’d like to see photos and I’ll send them to you.

  2. Sherry says

    I have been looking for plastic clips to hold my foam board into a box shape. This will be better because I can adjust the distance to the subject. Thanks!

  3. Di @ Life is Di-licious says

    Love the clamp holder idea. I’ve Ben known to use a cookbook stand to hold white foam box lids and tiles erect but they angle away so don’t direct the light properly.
    Gotta get me some clamps !

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