Tutorial: Make a Photography Lighting Reflector for Under $10

Are you starting your own photography business on a budget? You should already know that lighting is one of the most important aspects to photography (if not the most important) and reflectors can help greatly improve the lighting in your photographs. They are designed to bounce light back onto a subject from a direct source – like the sun or a flash – and soften shadows. 

I happened to come across a discussion about lighting deflectors on a photography board and loved that for every photographer who had a recommendation on which brand/size/store to use, there was another (like myself) who was on a budget and made one from scratch. I know when I was first starting out in the photography world, I thought I had to have the biggest and best of everything – which I soon discovered wasn’t the case. Over a year later, I still use a handmade one 🙂

Here’s how I made the above lighting reflector:

1. Tri-fold cardboard display board – I purchased mine at Walmart for $4, but you could also just use a scrap piece of cardboard you have lying around and either leave it flat or fold it to resemble a tri-fold
2. Tin foil – I had the industrial Costco sized one, but the smaller boxes work as well (you’ll just to need more, smaller pieces)
3. Spray adhesive or duct tape. I didn’t have spray adhesive on hand so I used duct tape
1. Cut a piece of tinfoil that is larger than the cardboard – you may have to use several pieces to cover the entire board. 
2. If you are using spray adhesive, spray the entire side of the cardboard, place the tinfoil on the cardboard and smooth out. If you are using duct tape, fold the tinfoil over the edges and tape onto the back while pulling tight. Make sure the tinfoil is shiny-side up to get the best reflection!
3. You have yourself a lighting reflector! It really is that easy. 
The reason I love my tri-fold board is that it can stand independently, it folds up for easy transport, and can reflect light all around a subject. 
Keep in mind that reflectors will reflect their colour onto your subject – the silver will produce a bright, white reflection. If you are looking for a warmer light, you could try spray-painting the tinfoil with a golden tone. 
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