Save Money with These DIY Light Modifiers That Are Just as Good as the Real Thing

Entry level photographers face a multitude of problems trying to make the two ends of photography meet. I’m referring to quality and budget. It’s hard to create quality work on a low budget. But it’s not entirely impossible. One of the problems faced by low-budget photographers is how to modify light without spending a ton of money. Often it comes down to making something on your own. Here are some light modifier ideas that you can make at home:

White Sheet

A big white sheet is a not-so-obvious choice, but the results you can achieve are surprisingly good. This modifier works in almost all lighting conditions, regardless of whether you need light to be bounced off or diffused. To use a white sheet outdoors, especially when shooting under harsh midday sun, get two sticks, roll the two ends of the sheet on to the sticks and have a couple of your assistants/friends hold them in position.

Shower Curtain

A shower curtain is yet another effective diffusing solution and for a meager $7. The light quality is slightly different than a plain white sheet.

shower curtain as diffuser

A shower curtain produces a slightly different quality light than a plain white sheet.

Windshield Reflector

A windshield reflector for car is an effective bouncing material that can be used pretty much like a regular pro-quality reflector.

windshield reflector as diffuser

Windshield reflector held on camera left to work as a light modifier

It has a shiny silver side, which gives you a good quality bounced light.

Poster Board

Another cheap option is poster board.

diy light modifier

Poster board makes an inexpensive reflector.

Poster board is readily available in most office supply or craft stores and usually costs around $3 per sheet. The soft side gives a nice bounced light to work as fill light. There are also options available with a reflective side which can give interesting results.


diy light modifier tips

You can bounce light off of a wall to make it diffused.

Photographers have been bouncing light off of walls forever. Believe it or not, depending on the color of the wall (or for that matter the ceiling) and the distance from the subject it can work as a beautiful soft key light source for working on indoor portraits and other projects.

Other Options

using cheap light modifiers

A red t-shirt held against a light makes for an interesting modifier.

There are tons of other options to use as light modifiers. From a sheet of paper to a t-shirt, anything can be used for interesting results in a low to no budget scenario. You’re limited only by your imagination here.

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