How To Use Foam Core

Foam core is usually used as a lighting aid in photography. It is light weight polystyrene material that is lined with white paper on its sides. Foam core boards are normally used to create specific lighting effects for portraits and outdoor photos featuring inanimate objects. Because of the natural reflective qualities of the material, photos using foam core boards can redirect light from the flash into the subject of the photograph making it seem like natural light. Using this material for your next photograph can be quite easy. In other words, you don’t need to be a professional photographer to pull off the lighting desired with a foam core board. Here are some tips on how to effectively use the material.

  • Purchase foam core board. Foam core board can be found in various stores such as an arts supply store, office supplies store, or a photography supply store. They can be purchased in standard sizes or can be custom cut. The size of the foam core board you purchase will be dependent on what you need it for. For instance, if you are shooting indoor portraits or outdoor photographs, then a large foam core board of around 18 by 18 dimensions may be what you need. On the other hand, if you are shooting small inanimate objects like books, fruits, and other small stuff, then a smaller foam core board is all you will need. Along with the core board, you may need to purchase some A-clamps from a photography supply store. You will need these clamps to attach the foam core board to the tripod or pole where the flash or strobe will be on top off.
  • Install the foam core board. For this part of the process, you will need to have a tripod or light stand. Prepare and position the tripod or stand and raise it to the appropriate height. The height will be determined on the type of shot you are going to take. For instance, the standard height for a portrait will require the tripod to be raised at around 6 feet. Once the stand is raised, attach an A-clamp to the tripod. Whip out another A-clamp and attach the foam core board here. Attach the clamp with the foam core board on the clamp attached to the tripod. At this point, direct the flash or strobe into the foam core board in a way where light will be redirected into the subject’s shadow. Test out several positions to get the perfect aim for the light bounce. Once you have the aim perfected, start taking the shots. If you need to adjust the height of the foam core board, all you need to do is to lower or raise the tripod to the desired height.

For smaller subjects, you need not use a light stand. A simple easel should do the trick. Place the board on an easel and position it to redirect the light to the subject’s shadow. Take the shot and you are done. Take a look at your shots and see that you have somehow managed to get some professional looking photos.


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