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DIY Projects

DIY: Make Your Own Triple Reflector For Less Than $40

By Hanssie on November 15th 2015

If the most important tool for a photographer is light, then the most important accessory should be a light modifier. If you know how to harness light and make it work for you, you can create countless looks. One of our favorite light modifiers, which is versatile and inexpensive, is a reflector. Reflectors over the years have come in all shapes and sizes, and can be used in many different ways. The tried and true triple reflector is a favorite of glamor and headshots, and this DIY tutorial will show you how to make one for less than $40.

[REWIND: See some of our favorite light modifiers here: OUR FAVORITE ON-CAMERA FLASH MODIFIERS | LIGHTING 101]

This tip was sent in by Jim Berton, who is a product photographer for www.stormykromer.com, an apparel manufacturer. He uses this DIY triple reflector daily for products and corporate headshots for his company. Berton says he got the inspiration to make this reflector from the DIY posts that we feature from time to time. (You can find those articles here).

Berton used a short piece of PCV pipe and put it on a cheap Light stand so that different heights could be achieved easily. Using ripstop nylon in both white and mirrored (he has two sets of this unit – one set in white, and the other set is mirrored), PVC pipe, and fittings, he created this:

DIY-triple-reflector

This DIY adjustable unit will save you a few bucks – white ripstop the project parts were $28 and with mirrored ripstop the total came to $36.

Here are the instructions with the measurements for the PVC and how long to cut them, including the materials needed.

drawing.cdr

DIY-triple-reflector-4 DIY-reflector

DIY-reflector-3

Thanks for sharing your project with us, Jim.

If you want to learn more about Light and become a master of it, you must have the proper foundation. We show you how in our Lighting 101 and Lighting 201 DVD’s. Check them out.

Do you have a DIY project you’ve created? Show us in the comments below or share them in the SLR Community Facebook page here.

About

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com. Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jim Berton

    the white ripstop came from hancock fabrics online. the mirrored came from https://www.ahh.biz/fabric/specialized/metallic_mirror_finish_nylon_ripstop.php (wait til they have a sale)
    you only need 1.5 yds. white foam board works great also.
    how i made the ripstop pcs…..i cut 6 -9″ squares of vinyl and cut them apart diagonally to make supports for the elastic. i sewed the 2 outside edges to the ripstop..then i sewed the 9″ elastic strips on.

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    • John Mowry

      Thanks for the reply Jim. Saw the Westcott Eyelighter at a trade show Sunday and thought there has to be a cheaper way to make it. You proved me right. Great work. Thanks again.

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  2. John Mowry

    My only question from the article is where can you purchase the white/silver ripstop? I do not think I have seen it the local fabric store.

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    • Mark Stallbaumer

      This exactly my question when I was reading this. Any links would be appreciated.

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    • Hanssie

      Jim says, “The white ripstop and elastic can be purchased from your local fabric store. Mine came from Hancock fabrics. The mirrored ripstop came from http://www.ahh.biz

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  3. Tom Blair

    What no duct tape?

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  4. Matt Owen

    Nice…I’m thinking with some white foamboard and tin foil instead of ripstop you could make a white/silver reversible version of this.

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    • Lenzy Ruffin

      Great idea, Matt. Thank you. The only hangup I foresaw myself having was figuring out how to get the ripstop/elastic combo right. I figured I’d just figure it out once I had the materials. But taking your suggestion eliminates the figuring it out part. I’ll just use foamboard and attach it with whatever…gaff tape, velcro, or even zip ties or string.

      And thanks for the article, Hanssie. And, of course, thanks to Jim Berton. I actually need one of these and the reason I don’t have one is because they cost too much for what they are. The cheapest ones cost too much and they’re cheaply made and the quality ones cost way too much just to hold a set of reflectors. This will definitely have me thinking “could I do this with PVC?” from now on before I buy certain things. Occam’s razor prevails again.

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    • Lenzy Ruffin

      Just finished assembling mine. The cutlist is actually 14 “B” cuts, not 12. If you look at the diagram, in the center of the middle section, two of the B cuts are not labeled. Two ten-foot PVC pipes gets the whole project done. I added an additional two-inch cut to eliminate some of the wobble where the unit connects to the light stand, but the need for that may vary from one light stand to another. I still can’t believe how nice a triple reflector this is for almost no money.

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