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How to make a reflector from household items

a few simple steps towards shooting captivating portraits

Who wants to spend money on a pro reflector when you can make one yourself using materials that are already available to  you? Here’s a step-by-step instructional on how to put one together in about 10 minutes. 

All you will need are these items: a piece of cardboard of any size you desire (my 2′ x 3′ piece works very well), duct tape, and aluminum foil.

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Go ahead and tear enough pieces of foil that you will be able to cover the cardboard with. I tore 3 pieces since I found it easier to work with, but I probably could’ve gotten away 2 larger pieces.

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Start with taping down the edge of one piece of foil.

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Continue to tape down each piece of foil, but don’t tape down the edges just yet.

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Flip over the cardboard and trim any foil down to at least a half inch or so. This will give you room to tape down the edges for a clean border.

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Now you’re ready to border the edges with tape. Make sure to pull the foil and tape taught before you stick it down permanently. Go over the edge firmly with your hand to make sure it’s securely adhered.

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And that’s it! Seriously, it works just as well as any reflector you’d end up buying from a photo retailer, and you can have the satisfaction that you made it yourself. It’s lightweight, effective, and practically free.

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Now get out there and try it on for size! Start by practicing on your friend, family member, or partner to make sure you can get a handle on it before using it on a customer. I torture my poor boyfriend by making him a test subject for any ideas I might have before a shoot, including getting used to new equipment. That way, I won’t be fumbling around with it as much, making it awkward for myself and the client. It’s best to get really comfortable using a new tool prior to using it professionally.

Have fun using your new reflector! Beware the power within, it has been known to make people squint.

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