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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> White Reflective Surface
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08/27/2008 02:33:11 PM · #1
I'm trying to figure out what to use as a highly reflective white surface to place items on. Size is unimportant (for this topic anyway.... )

Any suggestions?
08/27/2008 02:40:35 PM · #2
How about a pice of glass (like from a picture frame) with white paper underneath it? White tile, shiny vinyl, lots of things come to mind. Plain posterboard has a shiny side.

08/27/2008 02:46:56 PM · #3
Foam-core (used for backing pictures in some frames) would work, but the surface dents pretty easily.

You could also paint almost anything with white gloss enamel paint -- either brushed-on house paint or (automotive?) spray-paint.
08/27/2008 02:51:13 PM · #4
idnic's response is a very good one. I have a white backdrop I use from time to time which I got at a fabric store. I forget what the material is called, but it works well as a white backdrop. To make it "shiny," I have a sheet of clear plastic that I've put on top of it. It's nice because it can bend easily, and gives the white surface a nice reflective effect.

I used it to create the reflection on this, for example:

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/782/120/620666.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/782/120/620666.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Message edited by author 2008-08-27 14:52:56.
08/27/2008 02:52:05 PM · #5
for a tiny subject, milk glass can work if it's glossy. ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/889/120/698665.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/889/120/698665.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' this was taken inside of a milk glass lamp - perhaps too subtle a reflection though.
08/27/2008 03:33:07 PM · #6
Originally posted by alanfreed:

... I have a sheet of clear plastic that I've put on top of it. It's nice because it can bend easily, and gives the white surface a nice reflective effect.

There is also some thin, white plastic available -- used in backlit signage.
08/29/2008 01:18:54 AM · #7
i'm interested in learning the name of the material you say you bought and used as a white backdrop, does anyone use the paper? I've seen in many websites the rolls of backdrop paper in white for as low as 15-20 a roll. what's the quality of that?
08/29/2008 01:23:37 AM · #8
Originally posted by Photomom1981:

i'm interested in learning the name of the material you say you bought and used as a white backdrop, does anyone use the paper? I've seen in many websites the rolls of backdrop paper in white for as low as 15-20 a roll. what's the quality of that?


I use the white and black paper. Its cheaper and when it gets dirty or messed up, just tear off that section and go again. If you need shiny, get some thick plexiglass to put ontop of it and shoot away. Another trick for a good white background, is find an old roll of clearanced vinyl floor tyle and paint the backside of it gloss white. Its heavier then paper but much more durable. When it gets messed up, repaint it.

Matt
08/29/2008 01:28:13 AM · #9
Cheap tile board from home depot.... has a nice shinny white surface in large sizes and runs @ $14 per 8x4 sheet.
08/29/2008 01:39:29 AM · #10
Originally posted by robs:

Cheap tile board from home depot.... has a nice shinny white surface in large sizes and runs @ $14 per 8x4 sheet.

How thick/heavy is this, what's the backing, and what do you use to cut it? Is it what's sometimes used to line showers?

Message edited by author 2008-08-29 01:40:11.
08/29/2008 01:48:38 AM · #11
A black surface, such as a street, at night, that has been wetted down with water also brings a refective quality to this conversation.
08/29/2008 02:02:32 AM · #12
Originally posted by GeneralE:

How thick/heavy is this, what's the backing, and what do you use to cut it? Is it what's sometimes used to line showers?


Runs about 4mm thick - Sorry, I only measure in real measure when I need to eye stuff none of that old imperial measure that the US uses ;-) It is fairly heavy and it's exactly the stuff that goes on the back of shower/kitchen surrounds. Back is some form of brown composite material. I have not cut it as I just throw it on the floor.... I guess a circular saw but I would tape the front and cut from the front to minimise the chips.
08/29/2008 02:17:20 AM · #13
great thanks!
08/29/2008 02:48:11 AM · #14
Originally posted by robs:

Originally posted by GeneralE:

How thick/heavy is this, what's the backing, and what do you use to cut it? Is it what's sometimes used to line showers?


Runs about 4mm thick - Sorry, I only measure in real measure when I need to eye stuff none of that old imperial measure that the US uses ;-)

It's OK -- I was introduced to the metric system in the early 1960's, even before I got my own sliderule. ;-)

It can also probably be cut with a "linoleum knife" used to cut roll flooring. Thanks for the info!
08/29/2008 03:17:54 AM · #15
Look about 1/5 of the way down the page

Originally posted by Zack Arias:

Tile Board :: $11 per 4×8' sheet at Home Depot. This stuff rocks. This is going to give you a nice white floor and a reflection under your subject. You need a few sheets of it. Check out the photo below to get the exact stock number. You can find it at Lowes as well. Youíll find these either in the area where they keep paneling or in the bath fixtures department as it is used to wall in showers and bathrooms. You want the pure white smooth kind. They have some that has a bit of a pebbled texture to it. Donít bother with that stuff. It is brown on the back side which actually photographs beautifully as a background when thrown a bit out of focus. Its a floor! Its a background! Make the most out of what you have!


Message edited by author 2008-08-29 03:18:17.
08/29/2008 08:18:51 AM · #16
I'd suggest white plexiglass. You won't get a "double" image like you can when you shoot through a clear sheet of glass or plexi (you can pick up a reflection on the top and bottom surfaces especially if you are shooting fairly close to your subject). You should be able to find it at a local sign shop or they may be able to direct you to a local source for various colored plexi.
08/29/2008 10:38:55 AM · #17
Originally posted by geoffb:

Look about 1/5 of the way down the page

Originally posted by Zack Arias:

Tile Board :: $11 per 4×8' sheet at Home Depot. This stuff rocks. This is going to give you a nice white floor and a reflection under your subject. You need a few sheets of it. Check out the photo below to get the exact stock number. You can find it at Lowes as well. Youíll find these either in the area where they keep paneling or in the bath fixtures department as it is used to wall in showers and bathrooms. You want the pure white smooth kind. They have some that has a bit of a pebbled texture to it. Donít bother with that stuff. It is brown on the back side which actually photographs beautifully as a background when thrown a bit out of focus. Its a floor! Its a background! Make the most out of what you have!


This is an amazing website! Thanks so much for bringing it to our attention.
08/29/2008 03:49:52 PM · #18
Yeah - that's the stuff... although I must be getting ripped off as it appears to be cheaper in his area :-) Great tute on the apple affect.... which is why you want this anyway :-)
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