A light reflector can provide beautiful results to a portrait by bouncing available light back onto your subject to reduce or eliminate unwanted shadows and to add pleasing catch lights in the eyes. If you are in need of a reflector but you're on a tight budget, or just haven’t decided which one to get, here are 5 easy steps for making a DIY reflector in a matter of minutes, once you have the supplies of course.
These instructions will produce a 2-sided reflector, white on one side and silver on the other. The white side reflects a soft, natural light on your subject while the silver side provides a stronger reflection which brings out more details and textures. Experiment with both sides in different light situations to choose your desired results.
What you will need:
- 20 inch X 30 inch foam board (or different size as needed)
- Glue - spray adhesive (easier) or Elmer's type
- Aluminum foil
- Newspaper to lay behind the board if you spray it
Step 2: Tear or cut aluminum foil into large size pieces, crumple them up (not too tight) and then open them back up so they lay flat. You will need enough pieces to cover one side of the foam board.
Step 3: Spray one side of the foam board with spray adhesive such as 3M General Purpose Glue. You may want to lay newspaper underneath the board to catch the over-spray in the corners and edges. If using Elmer's type glue, ensure the glue is spread evenly across the board including corners and edges.
Step 4: Lay the aluminum foil pieces, dull side up/shiny side down, onto the foam board until you have covered the whole side and rub them down evenly. The aluminum foil will stick to the glue on the board.
Step 5: Let it dry for approximately 5 minutes and then rip off excess pieces of aluminum foil that stick out past the corners and edges.
That’s it, you’re done! You've created a quick and easy light reflector that you can now use for your portrait sessions. Your reflector is sturdy enough to last for some time if you are careful when transporting it. As well, it can always be used together with any reflectors you purchase in the future.