There is one lighting modifier that I never leave home without. Its compact size and light-weight build has earned it a permanent place in the outside pocket of my gear bag. I made this modifier about 4 years ago and have brought it to every food shoot since. If you are shooting food, it is a must have and it won't break the bank to make it. What is it you wonder? It is a collapsible Tabletop V Reflector. Let me show you how easy it is to make!
For your Tabletop V Reflector you will need two pieces of foam board cut to an equal size. To create a perfect fit in your travel bag, measure the pocket that you plan on storing the reflector in and use those dimensions as your guide. You will also need some duct tape. That's it! Here is how you assemble the reflector.
Step 1: Have your two equally sized pieces of white foam board and duct tape ready.
Step 2: Line up the two pieces of foam board and stand them on their sides. The side that is facing upwards will be the side that will be taped together to create a hinge.
Step 3: Tear off a piece of duct tape slightly longer than the length of the designated hinged side. A piece that is slightly longer will allow you more flexibility when placing the tape.
Step 4: Run your finger along the tape so that it adheres to the two pieces.
Step 5: Fold the remaining tape over the sides, sealing the tape into place.
Step 6: Trim away any excess tape.
Here is the final product!
Taping the two sides together creates a hinged joint. When the reflector is positioned into a "V" shape it will be able to stand up on its own! This is great for those of you who are shooting without an assistant.
For extra durability, you can cover the exterior of your reflector in gaffers tape. When placed on the opposite side of your light source, you have a great way to fill in the shadows and control the contrast on your subject. Here are a few shots showing this reflector in action.
The white foam board material provides a soft fill for your subjects. If you would like a fill that is slightly harsher in quality, try lining the inside of your reflector with silver reflective tape! You can find this tape at your hardware store!
For more food photography tips and tricks, check out Issues 1-8 of photographing FOOD.