Using aluminum foil as a reflector


Eddie and I started a little brainstorm to find out a good poor man's reflector for close-up photography. I first suggested a pocket mirror but then Eddie suggested a aluminum foil. Well, let's see how it work in practice. …

I took a piece of foil and went out shooting in bright sunny day. When I tried to shoot an object that is close (tip of a pine branch), I first find out it was not so easy to hold the foil so it would bring more light into shadows. Then the next problem was to find room for a camera. Next I found out I easily cast a shadow on the foil with my hand holding the camera, thus loosing the boost of the reflection. Then I noticed it's difficult not to shoot the reflector when camera with wide angle lens is used. Finally I found somewhat satisfactory point of view, but it really wasn't easy.

Then I tried to shoot something bigger and further away from the camera. Like the pictures of the dead seagull above shows, it was much more straightforward thing to do. No more problems to cast the shadow on the reflector or difficulties to keep the reflector out of the picture. And it really works.

However, after running some more tests inside, when no direct sunlight used, it turned out the aluminum foil really is not the best solution. Piece of white paper is! Therefore I seriously started to think I should get a white umbrella instead of more manly black one ๐Ÿ˜€

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8 thoughts on “Using aluminum foil as a reflector

  1. You'll cut a dashing figure about town with your white umbrella! On a practical note, I was originally thinking of lining a curved (concave) surface with foil to focus the reflected light onto the subject. It's beginning to sound more complicated the more I think about it, though. Hmm.:rolleyes: (Must try out the mirror)

  2. Another thought is using a space blanket. For a large reflector, an old portable projector screen could be fabricated into a reflector. For a diffuse reflector, white cloth or a sheet of paper is probably going to be best though. :up:.An acrylic or polycarbonate mirror will become a diffuse reflector if you lightly sandblast the front surface. (not cheap though)

  3. And if you have a real camera, you can always try how the fill-flash option on your camera does the job ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, these tricks here are especially for mobile phone cameras. For example on SE K800i there's pretty good electronic flash, but for some reason the 'night potrait' mode really works only in dark, and there's no way to get the flash fired in bright daylight. Then there's also an option to use flashlight (external light that works with batteries). Some of them are quite bright and may do well on cloudy day. Obviously more empirical studies needed here :sherlock:

  4. I'd recommend using one of the newer l.e.d. based torch's for that. ('flashlight' is the American word for an electric torch. :p)I'm hoping my next phone will have better options built in. I'm planning on buying the soon to be released (in South Africa) Nokia N900. :yes:. (camera specs look good, but that's not why I want it :p)

  5. I found out that the "flash" does not go that far. Thus, shooting in dark stations or at night tend to go murky. I use to shoot night shot without flash as it seems that it "captures" the natural light

  6. Serola did you kill that beautiful bird? :cry:BTW that was a great shot. How about using a supermodel as subject ๐Ÿ˜€ ?

  7. Thank you David ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course I do not such a thing as killing birds :insane: Hmm… A super model… I think they are boring subjects :p

  8. U are welcome Serola. OH ! You don't like supermodel ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Try few DVDs as subject :up:

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