DIY Eyelighter Portrait - Headshot Photographer Creative Unique Lighting Modifier Head Shots

November 27, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Being a professional photographer requires an understanding of light and how to see it, use it, and manipulate it.  Often times we buy many expensive lighting tools to help us with our job,  There's just no way around buying certain custom modifiers for studio strobes and on location lighting due to proprietary mounts and rigging equipment.  

But then there are tricks in the business that are age old tried and proven techniques....one of which is the simple reflector.  Legend has it that the origin of using photographic reflective light came in the days of early cinematography when the director noticed that his character was sitting at a table with a white tablecloth which was helping to illuminate the actor's face!  The rest was history.

Below is an out-take proof from one of our shoots using a reflector for a model's headshot.  The standard round type of reflector was used - mounted on an arm supported by a stand.  In a finished image we simply crop out the reflector and the magic is hidden from the viewer!

© Karen Engel PhotographyHead shot using standard round reflector© Karen Engel Photography Business Professional Headshot Photographer Lakewood Ranch Bradeton Sarasota

Note how the reflected light bounces back upwards and brightens up the areas of her neck and under the chin.  This is great for models - but also works very well on many subjects!

Of course in an effort to repackage this concept and sell it to others - one company has come along and created a curved version of this concept and calls it the "Eyelighter" - or now, Eyelighter 2.  It's pretty simple really - a tiltable bracket and a curved shaped frame that a bit of material attaches onto.  (See pic)

Here's the catch - it's $300 not including the stand!

Eyelighter 2 curved reflectorHeadshots Lakewood Ranch Sarasota Bradenton Head Shot Photographer

This is just too easy to replicate - so rather than buying the Emperor's New Reflector - we decided there was an easier way - which also provides alternative functions.

Enter - THE CURVELIGHTER

The concept was simple - so all it took was a little inventiveness and creativity.

 

Components -

Laptop Stand - this particular model is the Samson LTS50 but probably any one would work.  This is perfect because it includes the tilt bracket you need to be able to adjust the reflector angle - and it has a very small footprint with a low center of gravity - and of course folds up.

Car Sun Shield - prices vary but recommend one that has some horizontal stiffness to it.  This particular one is about 54" wide - which is perfect.  When not mounted to the stand (alternative use) it can be hand held by a subject or assistant which is especially good moving around to different locations quickly.

48"  Punched flat Zinc bar 1/6" thick - Home Improvement store - hand bend to desired curve shape.  Can be reshaped as desired for custom looks.

Fabric Scraps and Hot Glue Gun -  Cost is nothing if you have these things on hand (we did!)  Just hot glue several pieces to the back of your sun shield to create a channel for the curved bar to slide through.

Large and small clamps - Home Improvement store - to secure the reflector to the laptop stand - and to fine tune the curved shape.  These clamps are sometimes found in the electrical or hardware department and we always have them on hand for various uses - so the ones we're using here were spares.

TOTAL COST - Roughly $65 - with the large portion of this being the laptop stand - which will have many other uses (such as tethering).... so really the extra costs - things you wouldn't ordinarily buy or have on hand - are negligible. 

One Downside - it might look a little less professional - but I think you'll score extra points for showing some creativity and uniqueness to anyone you use it with!  One option to make it look more pro would be to cover it with various materials - with the added bonus of altering the reflective characteristics - from shiny, to duller - to colors like gold - to subtractive.  It would be super simple to hot glue on tiny velcro tabs to hold the shape on your custom fitted coverings.

It breaks down and is highly portable!

Hope you love our idea - we appreciate any follows, likes, reviews or just general good mojo - on any one of our online platforms!  Links Below -

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