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Home made Reflector Project

Reflectors, particularly the folding type and bottletops are not expensive, however you may not have one when you need a reflector, and this project is to look at means to create a reflector whenever you want one. The most frequent situation where I find that I need to make up a reflector is when I am away from home and don't have one with me. Few of us take any reflectors on holiday with us, although one is often useful. I always carry with me, when I have my camera, a Lastolite EzyBalance which is a grey target used for exposure and white balance setting, that has a reflector on the reverse. Although this is small it is useful for some items like flower heads, sometimes small insects, butterflies and the like.

With restrictions on air travel and the size and weight restrictions generally, we cannot take everything with us when out of the country, so we need to be able to improvise.

If we need a large reflector for a number of days then we might look at artists canvases from an art shop, or using a large artists drawing/painting pad.

If we want to reflect a lot of light but also soften it at the same time, we might try covering a sheet of card with silver cooking foil that we have crunched up.

If we want a simple reflector that is easily transportable in a car we might find two pieces of wood or sticks and get a piece of white material and stretch it between them, many hotels provide complimentary emergency sewing kits, and as the sewing does not have to be that good its easy to knock up. Another way is just to fold over the material at the edges and use a stapler to make pockets that the sticks can be put into.

A large white t-shirt can usually be bought cheaply just about anywhere and can be held out into a flat shape by sticks or by stretching over a section of a cardboard box.

Generally you want light weight items so avoid the cheap interior door, and items, you will want to use it again so some means of folding it up is required. My other criteria usually is that I have to be able to find the material and make it in minutes.

Your project is in three parts:-

  1. Look at what you have in your home, avoiding photography items, and see what you could use as or to make up as a reflector, try several options of different sizes if you can.

  2. Take just your camera and go into a town, you want to buy cheaply something in minutes that will allow you to take photographs of flowers in the town gardens, street displays etc.

  3. Using the reflectors you have made up in A and B, take a variety of experimental pictures, looking at the effects with and without them.

The objective is to get some practice and to know what will work for you, now when there is no pressure, allowing you to have the confidence when away to seek a DIY solution and by this means open up more photo opportunities.

See Also:-

Introduction to Studio and Flash Lighting


Lastolite EzyBalance

Lastolite UpLite

Lastolite TriFlector  

There are many articles on flash, lighting and reflectors in the Lighting and Reflectors Section.


By: Keith Park Section: Lighting and Reflectors Key:
Page Ref: reflector_project Topic: Flash, Studio and Reflectors Last Updated: 04/2009

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