DIY Photography Reflector from Walmart

This is a Walmart reflector. In this episode of The Thoughtful Photographer, I’m going to show you an inexpensive and effective do-it-yourself reflector that you can find at any Walmart. Hi, I’m Joe Edelman, and you’re watching The Thoughtful Photographer, the web series that teaches you how to think like a professional photographer, and pulls back the curtain on the thought process and the psychology of making great photographs. You heard me right. I said Walmart reflector. I’ll bet you didn’t know that Walmart sold professional lighting accessories. If you’ve read my articles or attended any of my workshops, you’ve heard me talk about the Walmart reflector. It’s simply a 30 inch by 20 inch piece of white foam board that you can buy at Walmart for $1.47. This is my favorite reflector to use when shooting models or products in the studio. And sometimes, even on location. I own the collapsible reflectors in a bunch of different sizes and colors. I even have one of those ridiculously expensive California Sun Bounces, which is an awesome reflector for location shooting because it’s very lightweight, has a light gold surface, and it folds up in a tiny little bag. But hey, not everyone can afford the cool expensive gadgets. Or, if you’re like me, I’m the guy that puts my reflector down and then manages to step on it and leave a footprint. What I like about the foamboard reflector is that they are cheap. They’re very light. They’re also easy to cut or shape if needed. And did I mention, they’re cheap. The boards that I get at Walmart are made by Elmer’s, the glue people. They’re 3/16th of an inch thick, and you can find them in the arts and crafts aisle along with poster board. I’ve even seen 30 inch by 20 inch foam board at dollar stores lately. It’s usually a thinner 1/16th of an inch. And it’s also cheaper made. But, you can’t beat the price. You can also find suppliers that will let you buy foamboard in sizes up to 48 inches by 96 inches so that you can make wall-sized reflectors or flat to use in your studio. They’re very lightweight and they take up very little storage space. Since this is The Thoughtful Photographer, we should take a look at how to use the reflector, and when and why would you use the reflector. I’m going to do this in two parts. In this video, I’m simply going to show you how I generally mount the reflector. In an upcoming video, I’m going to give you a lot of real-time lighting examples of how to use it and when to use it. So, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it. I have several ways that I mount mine on a stand. And I even developed a voice activated version that is patent pending. I’ll share that with you at the end of the video, so be sure to watch it until the end. In my studio, I generally use a Photoflex telescopic light disc holder. This holder lets me use a reflector vertically alongside a subject, or horizontally in front of and under the subject. If you check the major camera retailers as well as Amazon and eBay, you can find tons of options that will fit your budget. If you’re working on a really low budget, you can get a little creative. If you’re using the reflector vertically next to your subject, use large spring clips to attach it to a stand. If you need a horizontal setup below your subject’s face, simply have the subject hold the reflector. Follow the link in the info section below to the matching article on my blog that also contains links to all of the products and suppliers that I mentioned in this video. So, that’s all for this episode of The Thoughtful Photographer. I’m Joe Edelman. And until next time, keep thinking, keep learning, and keep shooting. Oh, wait! I promised I would give you a sneak peek at my patent pending voice activated reflector. Okay, so, you start out with a 20 inch by 30 inch white foamboard. Then, you need an assistant. It can be a friend, or spouses work great for this. You carefully place the reflector in their hands. Now, exact hand placement is very important, and it’s a technique that does require some practice. Then, when you back up to take the shot, you activate the reflector with very simple commands, “Closer”, “Higher”, “Tilt a little”, etc. If you like what I’m doing, please give the video a thumbsup. And take a second to subscribe to my channel so that you don’t miss a single episode. Captions by


  1. Blaine Mitchell January 17, 2017 at 5:23 am

    You should have mentioned your DIY studio reflector holder video. I am enjoying your videos and looking forward to trying out some of the ideas presented. Thanks.

  2. Donna Triffitt January 29, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Will you please come to Tasmania Australia to do some workshops lol enjoying your videos ..

  3. Lynne Marie April 1, 2017 at 1:48 am

    Joe, you are charming and I love the way you say CHEAP! … LOL … 😉

  4. electriccocoon April 16, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Great humour and practical presentation, stumbled on you, just bought a camera and have a model lined up for next Friday, have an old wall in mind for the backdrop but no idea how to weave light magic….challenge or what? This helped, thx!

  5. sam myy June 28, 2017 at 7:12 am

    Awsome video man!!!! Really appreciate it

  6. NY Shxt July 22, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    so, just a plain white board…?

  7. Zane Delgadillo September 12, 2017 at 4:37 am

    I'm trying to learn how to incorporate lighting into my photos and I need to make a makeshift reflector holder. Also the ending was really funny on this video lol.

  8. MJ Stagg March 16, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    Patent pending, huh?! Too funny!

  9. Sid Bonkers March 22, 2018 at 9:51 am

    I always keep a couple of laminated A4 sheets of paper in my camera backpack, stiff and white and ideal for macro photography and even the occasional portrait.

  10. Felipe Santander May 23, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    I got it. Thanks

  11. glornna May 26, 2018 at 8:48 pm


  12. michael govers December 18, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    Hey Joe, no pun intended, but you are always fun 😉

  13. wegder April 15, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    It is almost like I could learn important information from Joe.

  14. xyrios abx May 16, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    In The Netherlands you cant buy the foamboard… what can i use instead of this?

  15. Russell __ May 31, 2019 at 3:22 am

    Ha Ha … Love the Patent Pending invention pure Genius

  16. FunSize Creations June 28, 2019 at 2:05 am

    ctfuuu love this video!

  17. looneyburgmusic August 13, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    Sorry Joe, but regarding your patent-pending "voice activated reflector", I'm gonna have to say that's a no-go. You simply can't patent an invention that is obvious :-/ Especially the "Deluxe Spousal Light Reflector With Built-In Voice Activation" system – That's something that has already been available to us photographers for decades now, for the super-low-low price of $10,999.99 (plus a lifetime of tax and irritation)… 😉

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