It’s a long holiday weekend which means the beach, BBQ, and DIY projects! If you’re going out to Home Depot to pick up a few tools to fix something around the house, make sure you add bead foam to your shopping list. Bead foam is an inexpensive piece of squeaky styrofoam that has shiny silver on one side and white on the other side which makes it perfect for making an inexpensive lighting tool.


Because let’s face it. As photographers and artists, we are usually on a tight budget since we are always buying (or wanting to buy) new gear. So when there are easy ways to cut some corners, giving us a few extra pennies to put toward the next lens on our wish list, we take it. Reflectors aren’t pricey photography accessories, and they certainly go a long way in helping us shape our light. As some guy once said, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” (Yes, I know it was Benjamin Franklin) and this following tutorial from The Slanted Lens shows us a way to pinch some of those pennies by making your own reflector.


Using only a piece of bead foam from Home Depot, you can make a nice reflector with minimal effort. In the video, Jay P. has to actually cut his very large piece of insulation board, but he mentions that you can buy smaller pieces to suit your needs. Once he cuts it in half, he tears off the silver part on one side to reveal a plain white background and tapes the two parts together with gaffer tape.

If you’re looking to become more adept in your lighting skills, be sure to check out our newest Lighting 101 and 201 workshop DVDs which will help teach you the foundations to light shaping. [Lighting 201 is currently in pre-release and will be released any day now].

To see more inexpensive photography hacks, check out this article, 16 PRO PHOTOGRAPHERS SHARE 16 TRICKS AND HACKS WITH CHEAP ACCESSORIES.