©Verte Photography All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Making of a Light Reflector

What is a light reflector?
Simply it is a tool used in photography to reflect light towards the subject. You can use them with all different light sources such as sunlight, flash or strobe lights, our continuous lights commonly used in home studio photography, or video.

The concept is simple, light hits the reflector and due to placement it reflects it back towards the subject.  One of the most common used reflectors would be a white wall or ceiling, remember the light will change color if you bounce it off something colored! You simply point your adjustable flash towards it and the light bounces off at an angle, or use the reflector to bounce your sunlight back towards your subject!

Today, I will be showing you how to make 3 different versions of a Light Reflectors, that would be helpful in a home-made studio, like one used for small product photography. You will be happy to know that I purchased only $3 in supplies and used only these few other items that everyone should have at home, or would be easy to find! You can use any of the techniques with any of the products and mix and match to make the type that works best for you!
  • 2 1/4 boxes (recycled from shipments I have received)
  • Tape 
  • Scissors
First let me show you the Gold reflector. This is a great option to have on hand if you are shooting on a cold day, in shadows, or even when overcast. It adds a "warm" light to your image.

For this reflector I purchased 1 gold tissue pack from my local dollar store. Yep, that's it. Simply make sure that you select one that is solid gold and without any patterns to it.

I then folded my box flat and cut one edge of it, creating a long bendable piece.

Next, I set out my tissue paper (which is a thick metallic sheet, which I didn't know has silver on the other side... so in reality you could buy 1 pack and use 1/2 for one gold reflector and the other 1/2 for the silver!) 

 I used two sheets to cover the whole box, and I cut them so I could fold each section nice and smoothy.I just used clear tape I had on hand, you could do glue or whatever... just make sure its as smooth and flat as you can get it.

Then, as you can see it can be stood up and bent around in order to reflect light towards my product. (To see why I am shooting with this studio set up visit TSUA-List and read "My Dollar Store Studio")

Here is the finished product image using the Gold Reflector and shooting with the diffused light from the window....  you can see some of the gold picked up in the white background on the table and in the label.While for purposes of the other post this is done in program mode, with no editing... it shows you what you can expect... a warmer tone where the gold reflects on the product.

Next I made a silver reflector. This time I used a shallow box and wrapped it in my $1 aluminum foil purchase. I covered the whole box and flaps here it is while I was working on it.  

Again, try to keep it as smooth as possible, and I simply used tape to keep it from moving around.

Then as I set it up to be used...this one allows it to stand easily, and I can adjust flaps to angle the light if I need.

And the finished image - there is still a slight shadow from the product, but I shot this with the window to the right and the reflector to the left, with a backdrop against the wall behind.

As an alternative, you can use the aluminum foil as both the reflector and the bottom side of your background. Below, I did just that, shooting directly towards my window with the white background over it filtering some light. This is a really nice effect! Again, the product is showing a little dark because I am shooting program, with no post-editing and NO exposure compensation... all things that are easily done to create sharp and well exposed images as shown in the second image. 

No edits.

Simple Photoshop Edit

And lastly, I made a simple white reflector buy cutting down a piece of foam core and attaching a part of an old cardboard box to it to create a stand. I just used packing tape to secure it, and bent it to create the stand.

I do have to keep something (like my bottle of paint) behind now to keep the right position.

It does a great job of reflecting light to reduce shadows and provide even soft light from the diffused light already coming in from the window. Below you see an unedited, and shot in Program mode, image with the window on the left, and white reflector on the right. 

All of these reflectors provide you with a means to manipulate your available light.  With small adjustments in a basic editing program, or by simple adjustments to the camera mode all of these would make nice product images. 

This how-to post is brought to you by Streeter & Co, in partnership with TSUA-List. I have been a member of the A-List since it rolled out, and I LOVE what it does for small businesses!

To learn more about creating a home studio for your products check out my "dollar store studio" guest post on the Indie A-List blog.

 I will be continuing to tackle home studio projects, and provide you with great DIY product photography tips! I hope you come back and learn more!


  1. Stopping by from the Think Outside the Blog Hop. Love your blog. I am now following.


  2. Thanks for stopping by! Always love a new follower!

  3. Thank you for this, I've been meaning to pinterest ways to make a reflector.

    btw I'm your Hello Box Partner.


    1. Thanks Shannon! I hope it helps you! They can be tough to use to start with - let me know if you need extra help!

  4. Pinning this and sending the link onto my husband (busy working on his photography for my blog!).

    Hope you are having a great week.

    Kate x
    Kate at Home

    1. Yea! I am so glad you found it helpful! Let me know if you need extra tips!