The best method for producing great photography on a budget is finding accessories that can fulfill multiple tasks. The brand named products will always be there to offer you something a homemade solution can’t, but with a little thought you can find ways to meet your needs before making a substantial investment in your kit. Foam Board is one such material that fits the bill and can confront a multitude of light manipulation challenges for a very low cost. Caleb Pike frequently puts foam board to work and shares fives uses for video and photography.

#1 – Fill

If you have just one light on your subject, you are likely to cause deep shadows. A piece of foam board near your subject bounce light back into the shadows to make them far less dramatic.

#2 – Bounce

If you don’t want any direct light on your subject, you can use foam board to bounce the light. The bounced light is softer than if you were to light it directly and will cast a nice broad light on your subject.

[REWIND: Lighting Modifiers | Which one is right for you?]

#3 – Flag

If you want to gain more control of the light, you can use a piece of foam board to block unwanted light from spilling into the shot.

#4 – Background

You can use your foam board as a background when you want to block distracting elements from your photo or video. If you are shooting product photography or video you can use it underneath your subject to create a clean look.

#5 – Cookies

Using a foam board as a cookie gives you creative options and control over how the light spills into your background. Cutting holes or shapes  of differing sizes into your foam board will give your images or video a unique look.

Foam Board is one of the most useful and inexpensive materials for photo and video productions and it should have a place in your kit whether or not you have budget. Its light, inexpensive, and extremely versatile.  Most importantly, it can help you produce stunning results.


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