Aug 08 2011

Picture Perfect Reflector Tutorial

Reflector top

Most of you must already know that the most important element of taking photo is how you get your lighting right. And trust me, if you live in the UK where the sun seldom shows its full potential, taking photo inside the house using daylight is so darn hard!

So I came up with the idea of making a photo reflector using only the things I already own. I wanted it to be light and mobile, and most important of all, it had to be able to stand on its own. You’ll see after the tutorial how this little thing changes your photo!

What You’ll Need:

  • sketchbook (I’m using A3 size)
  • aluminium foil
  • Sellotape


1) Cut 4 strips of aluminium foil. Each strip should be slightly bigger than a page of the sketchbook.

Reflector book1

2) You can use any page of the sketchbook, but it has to be two-page spread. Lay one strip of foil over each page, and wrap the extra bits around onto the back.

Reflector book3

3) Attach the edges of the foil to the back of the pages with Sellotape. It doesn’t look glamourous, I know, but they work!

Reflector book2

4) Repeat the step 2 and 3 on another two-page spread, but this time the wrong side of aluminium foil should be facing up. And you’re done. I know, unbelievably easy!

Reflector book

This is my sketchbook-come-photo-reflector. I ‘borrowed’ it from my hubby (it was old and well neglected, so I hope he doesn’t mind…). I’m going to ‘uplift’ the front cover later so that I can carry it around fashionably :) No one will guess it’s a reflector until I open the pages!

Reflector satsuei

And the reflector in action! It stands on its own perfectly, and it’s also very handy to have two versions of reflector. The right side gives a very strong reflection while the wrong side gives softer reflection; I’ve done some experiment with the both versions, so let’s see the true power of them!

Where: In a semi-dark room with the light on

Reflector usual

Without the reflector: I always get disappointed after taking photos of jewellery, because I can never capture its true sparkle or colour. Also, there is a strong shadow because of the light.

Reflector rehu1

With the ‘right side’ reflector: It looks so sparkly! But it looks a bit too sparkly (I know, I’m so picky)… Also, though the colour of the stone looks exactly the same as the real one, you can see red sparkles in the stone because the reflection is too strong.

Reflector rehu2

With the ‘wrong side’ reflector: I’m really happy with this one; the shadow is soft, and the sparkle is just the right amount.

Where: In a kitchen, soft daylight coming from the right side

Reflector kitchen

Without the reflector: I quite like this as a whole image (the colour and the shadow and all).

Reflector kitchen1

With the ‘right side’ reflector: You can see how the shadow is gone, and the colour of the background changed from blue undertone to warm, orange undertone. Best photo if it was for a catalogue, I think.

Reflector kitchen 2

With the ‘wrong side’ reflector: quite similar with the ‘right side’ one, but you can see the shadow.

Where: In a kitchen, strong daylight coming from behind

Reflector miffy

Without the reflector: Miffy looks so sad! The light is so strong that the face is covered by the shadow.

Reflector miffy1

With the ‘right side’ reflector: The shadow on the front is almost gone thanks to the reflector. It almost looks as if I shot it with a flash on – the best solution while taking photos against the sun.

Reflector miffy2

With the ‘wrong side’ reflector: Better than the one without the reflector, but still the front is dark.

Taking photos of my nails or jewellery was always stressful, so I can’t wait to test the reflector. Hope the reflector gives you happier photo experience, too!

I’m linking this tutorial on my favourite blog, Flamingo Toes!

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4 Commnents to “Picture Perfect Reflector Tutorial”

  1. I’m really glad to hear that, Josephiene :) Hope you’re rocking the reflector now!

  2. Thank you so much, I really needed this!

  3. Thank You for this wonderfull tutorial.
    I do need help with those jewelry photos.

  4. That is so unbelievably simple! Will have to try it out (what you say about indoor pictures and the UK is very true, haha)

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