Gear Tutorials

DIY—Make Your Own Curved Reflector

Here, he shares step by step how he created his own curved reflector for under $30 USD. The Larry Peters and Westcott ...

Igor Mazor, professional editorial family photographer based in Memphis, Tennessee, has a passion for DIY photography projects. Here, he shares step by step how he created his own curved reflector for under $30 USD.

The Larry Peters and Westcott Eyelighter creates a beautiful clamshell lighting effect with a unique curved catchlight in the eye. So I decided to make my own.

Since I have a personal studio, I figured this would be a beneficial piece of gear without spending a lot of money. Plus I enjoy DIY projects that enhance my work.

I did my best to document every step of the way with pictures on how I created my DIY curved reflector.

I’m very happy with the results, especially considering I spent only 10% the cost of an Eyelighter.

What you’ll need:

1 x extruded polystyrene foam board insulation (0.5″ x 8′ x 4′)

1 x Elmer’s 8oz general purpose adhesive

1 x 1/4in zinc-plated standard (SAE) 3-prong tee nuts

1 x brown paper

1 x 3″ x 4″ small piece of plywood 1⁄2″ thick.

1 x spray adhesive

1 x black flat (matte) paint

1 x foil

1 x sharp knife with replicable blades

The ‘real’ Eyelighter may look a tad more professional and can be folded to take up less space, but I plan to give it a nice finish and I have space at my studio so I’m not worried about portability.

Step by step instructions:

1 – Cut a piece of insulation, 21″ x 63″, and remove thin film from both sides of the insulation foam. Create stand to curve insulation foam.

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2 – Using standard brown construction paper, cut paper about 21″ pieces and wet them.

3 – Apply glue to insulation foam and then place wet paper on the top of the glue.

NOTE: The paper will dry and tighten along the ‘grain’ of the paper. The next piece of paper should overlap previous piece of paper. Make sure to squeeze out all air bubbles.

4 – Cut paper to small strips about 3″ x 5″ inches and apply to edges, overlapping each other.*

5 – While your first side is drying, make your reflector holder. Drill a hole in the middle of plywood with drill bit a little bigger the your tee nut. Place tee nut and hammer down in place.

6 – When paper is finished drying, turn your arch upside down and place between two pieces of wood. They should be parallel to each other with 52″ in between them. Glue your wood piece in the middle of your arch and then glue paper around to reinforce and strengthen it.

7 – Apply remainder of the paper. Allow 24 hours to dry.

8 – Paint with fast drying spray paint outside reflector.

NOTE: If you don’t care how your reflector looks, you can skip this step.

9 – Spray glue adhesive on the inside of arch reflector and on the inside of the pieces of foil, allow two minutes to dry and then apply foil. Cut extra foil to size.

10 – Time to start testing it out and enjoying your new curved reflector!

Final shoots with the new curved reflector!

I’m very happy with the results, especially considering I spent $30 USD,which was honestly enough to build two, at only 10% the cost of the Eyelighter.

To find out more about Igor Mazor, head to his website.