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How to Make a DIY Light Reflector That You Can Use in Your Photography Shoots

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

Bright light is great when taking photos, but sometimes the light can be too bright. In these situations, a reflector is ideal. You can position it to reflect light, so it bounces back on the subject. This will diffuse it providing a softer, warmer look.

The reflector can also be used to fill in shadows and provide light in specific areas of the photo.

Reflectors can be purchased at stores that sell photography gear, but they can also be made at home. This will save you a considerable amount of money. This article will provide you with the steps you need to take to make a DIY reflector that you can use at shoots.


To make a DIY reflector, you will need the following materials:

• A foam board, cardboard or thick white card

• Tape

• Scissors

• Bulldog clips

• Aluminum foil or gold foil

Step One

The first step is deciding on the reflector material and size. If you want a soft natural light, go for a white surface.

Another option is to use aluminum foil. The foil will act like a mirror and bounce light on to your subject. However, the light will be bright as opposed to softly diffused. For a softer approach, try the diffused, dull side of the foil instead.

The foil can also crumple easily which will affect the way the light falls on the subject.

Golden foil in also a good choice as it will provide a warm and unique look to your photos.

Once you come up with a material that works, decide on the size of the reflector. It can be a large, handheld reflector, or it can be the size of a card. It depends on the size of your subject and how much light you want to reflect.

Step Two

Once you know the size reflector you want, cut it out of your foam board or cardboard. While foam board is harder to find, it has a white surface that’s perfect for soft reflection.

If you are using cardboard, you can cut out white card or paper to the same dimensions and tape it on the surface. If you are using foil, wrap the foil around the card and use tape to hold it in place.

Step 3

The final step is using bulldog or binder clips to hold up the reflector. Clip one on either end of a stand and use the clip handles to move the reflector around.

If you have a bigger reflector and you don’t have an assistant to hold it, you may have to tie the reflector to a spare tripod or a chair to angle the light.

When setting up the reflector, keep an eye on your subject to see how it is working to illuminate them. Try different angles for different effects.

Other Options

If you don’t have the materials listed above, you can make a reflector out of just about any white object lying around the home. This includes bedsheets, recipe cards and even white paper notebooks.

Now that you know how to DIY a reflector, will you be making one as an inexpensive photography solution?

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