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Thread: Studio Reflectors & diffusers purchase?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Victoria BC Canada

    Studio Reflectors & diffusers purchase?


    I am in the process of setting up a simple single light ( Quartz Halogen with dimmer ) studio set up for portraits and still life. ..hobby fun. I also want to acquire a refector and diffuser.....I will be shooting B&W. Are there any good ones on Ebay...I live on the West Coast of Canada..they seem pretty pricey at the local Photo dealer. Any suggestions also need a couple of stands for the above.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2000

    Re: Studio Reflectors & diffusers purchase?

    Good reflectprs are pricey.

    However, very good ones can be made by using white foam core or mat board, aluminum covered foam core or mat board, crinkled aluminum foil on board to soften the light a little.

    Once you begin making these, many ideas will come to you.

    All you need in addition is a light stand, a couple of spring clamps or a double spring clamp.

    Then spend the money saved on film.

    Have Fun!


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Re: Studio Reflectors & diffusers purchase?

    White bed sheets and "translum" -- order rolls from the

  4. #4
    Greg Lockrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Temperance, MI

    Re: Studio Reflectors & diffusers purchase?

    One of the best quartz lights that I have found for your needs was made by Bencher for their copy stands. Was a 750 watt lamp and put out a nice even light with that little 8" reflector.
    Greg Lockrey

    Wealth is a state of mind.
    Money is just a tool.
    Happiness is pedaling +25mph on a smooth road.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Harbor City, California

    Re: Studio Reflectors & diffusers purchase?

    As an alternqative for aluminum foil, I like the emergency blankets sold at outdoors stores sometimes called "space blankets". They are aluminum on a tough plastic. You can crinkle them forever without making holes.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Re: Studio Reflectors & diffusers purchase?

    You didn't mention it and I hate to insult you with an assumption, but you do know about using foamcoare boards to bounce the light and umbrellas to focus/diffuse the light?

    I would probably start with 3-4 sheets of 30x40 white foamcore boards from the art store, 3-4 lightweight 7-9' tall light stands, a half dozen medium "A" spring clamps from the hardware store, your quartz light and perhaps some sort of umbrella rig if you bought a non-photo specific light. A ~ 36 inch white photo umbrella (Photek makes good ones) is a good starting point. I like smaller silver umbrellas for B&W portraits myself (a bit punchier).

    If you bought shop lights instead of true photo lights, rigging an umbrella will be a PITA so bouncing the light off cards will be easier and more practical. Either way can produce good results. has some good info and gear. Lowel stuff isn't that expensive on eBay either.

  7. #7
    Robert A. Zeichner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Southfield, Michigan

    Re: Studio Reflectors & diffusers purchase?

    As far as light sources go, I am a big proponent of focusing Fresnel luminaires. The quality of light from this style of instrument is particularly well suited to portraiture. The difference seems to be in its ability to better reveal the texture of skin and other surfaces as well. For diffusion, as others have suggested, you can make your own reflectors with foam core and various foils that can be wrinkled and applied. You can create various sized frames out of pvc pipe and stretch different fabrics over it (them) to construct all sorts of different sizes of diffusers. One of my favorite materials is Rosco's quarter grid cloth. You can buy this in 20 x 24 sheets and rolls. Wooden clothes pins of the spring type are an invaluable and cheap way to hang diffusion materials right from the barn doors of lighting fixtures. As far as dimming goes, one problem you will need to consider is the change in color temperature as you reduce voltage to a Quartz Halogen lamp (you can also reduce lamp life). You might save some money and be better off with different wattage lamps (usually, you can get fixtures that can be lamped with several different wattages) and some wire mesh scrims that will allow you to manually reduce light output without lowering color temp. Just some ideas.

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