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Taking Good Pictures On Budget – Light Reflectors

Hey guys! I thought of writing this article/tutorial to help new food bloggers in taking good pictures, without investing money on buying expensive gadgets used to enhance photography.

First, let me introduce you to my model Sunny! Sunny is beautiful and need no enhancement, but today is a cloudy day and I need to show all the beautiful features of Sunny.

taking good pictures

I can’t move the clouds (obviously) so I’m going to improvise and use light reflectors available at home. As you can see from the picture below, I’m using basic stuff available in your kitchen or office.

taking good pictures

I have not edited any of these pictures so you can have an idea of how exactly the outcome looks on a cloudy day using basic light reflectors.

Taking Good Pictures using Light Reflectors

A – Using aluminum tin: I used the bottom of aluminum tin to reflect the light. Yes Sunny looks beautiful and the light touched Sunny’s cheek, BUT, using the tin created a hot spot (a shiny area on the surface of the object you’re taking pictures of. In people, it is mostly on nose and forehead.)

taking good pictures

Outcome: Using aluminum tin to reflect light works, but will result in hot spot, which means the light is not evenly distributed on the object. Also the reflected light covered a small area.


B – Using a mirror: I know this picture looks darker compare to the others, but as you know I’m working with clouds and some clouds are darker than others are! A mirror is ideal to reflect light, but again it created a hot spot worse than what the aluminum tin created. In addition, if we compare using mirror to using aluminum tin, you can see that although both have created hot spot, but the light distributed better when using an aluminum tin than a mirror.

taking good pictures

Outcome: Using a mirror to reflect light works, but will not distribute light much and will create a hot spot.


C – Using White paper: White printer paper reflected the light without hot spot. The reflected light was soft and distributed evenly. The color of the object is visible, but the light didn’t spread as much as I was hoping for.

taking good pictures

Outcome: Using white paper resulted in better light distribution, brought out the color of the object, and didn’t create a hot spot.


D – Using Aluminum foil: The aluminum foil distributed the light evenly, the light spread better than when using the white paper. It didn’t create a hot spot and the color of the object was visible and vibrant.

taking good pictures

Outcome: Aluminum foil reflected a lot of light, distributed the light evenly on wider space, and brought out the true color of the object.


My last thought:

If you are taking pictures on a cloudy day, use aluminum foil for best results.

If you are taking pictures on a sunny day, use white paper to reflect softer light on your object.

Mirror and Aluminum tin can be used, but you have to edit the hot spot area when editing the picture for more natural look.

If you are serious about taking good pictures, and taking your blog to the next level, I highly recommend that you invest in Tasty Food Photography, or The Spice Train, both authors are food bloggers and know how to take professional photos. You will also learn more on food styling and editing.

Tasty Food Photography eBookebook ad image 300 by 250








Do you want more tips on taking good pictures? Click to find out how you can take beautiful pictures using Point and Shoot camera.

I would like to thank Sunny for being a great model.

I also would like to thank my sweet hubby for helping out in this project.

If you have more tips please share them in the comment box below.

Follow me on Instagram. If you happen to make any of my recipes, please post the picture and mention me in your post, or use this hash tag #munatycooking. I would love to see your creation.


**Some links on this page are affiliate links, clicking on them can make me happy, I mean can make me some money 🙂


  1. Great photography tips, Muna!

  2. Great tips. I need to mess around with reflectors!

  3. Great tips, Muna, this is very helpful! I’m not in the DSLR stage yet, I use my iphone to take food pics, so any tips on improving photos are much appreciated!

  4. Love this tip, Muna! I love how you used common objects too. Many times people advise to buy a reflector, but I’ve always found aluminum foil and white boards to work just as well 🙂 Now, if I only had extra hands to hold the reflectors in the right position while I photograph, that would just make my life so much easier!

    • munatycooking

      It’s amazing how simple objects in the house can be of a great help while taking pictures. I never bought a reflector 🙂

  5. Great tips, Muna! I couldn’t live without my white boards… or my light and umbrella for that matter. Cheers!

    • munatycooking

      Thank you Cheyanne, I never worked with an umbrella before, but it’s on my list to get 🙂

  6. Muna such genius tips!! Love this post!!

    • munatycooking

      Thanks Ami, I am planning to have more tips on my blog regarding food photography soon!

  7. This is a really helpful post! I’ve used paper before but I hadn’t tried aluminum foil yet! It looks really good so I’ll need to try it out!

  8. Great Article Muna.. The tips are going to be a great help for new bloggers..

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