What about the floor?

May 22, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

CuriousCurious What about the Floor (or surface)?

Photographers often invest in a variety of things such as new cameras, lenses, backdrops, props, wardrobe etc., but sometimes when it comes to taking the actual image, the surface or floor that a person can be standing on may not be just right for the concept or even distracting. Composites that look realistic can be time consuming especially when it comes to looking at reflections or shadows. Even studio's may be limiting.

I recently watched a location photographer who wanted a white reflective floor for his model drag in (literally) large plexiglass squares and then take the time to carefully clean off each square.  He probably was used to transporting and caring for each of the 6 squares that he was carefully putting into place, but obviously it was a very labor intensive process. In addition, transporting them in his vehicle obviously took up quite a bit of space, and these products can be very expensive.

There are alternatives that can make life just a little easier.  Amazon (as well as other retailers) sell roller material such as this product for a variety of purposes. The link points to a product specifically for photography, but various companies also sell similar material for applications such as greenhouses.  Some of the material is mylar based, while other material may be PVC. One may purchase rolls in white, silver, or black reflective material. They are available in a variety of width and lengths depending upon the application.  A product photographer may only require a small roll, white a portrait photographer may require a larger quantity. Size and ease of transport are clear advantages, but these rolls are often much more cost effective than larger plexiglass grids.  

The Plexiglass rolls can be a challenge to keep flat, but rolling the product in the opposite direction of the natural roll can often flatten out the bulge. Strategic use of gaffers tape can also help keep the product flat on the ground.  While some may consider the mylar silver rescue blankets as an option, it can be nearly impossible to completely get rid of the folds.

Suppose though that you want the hardwood floor look? Although there are certainly rolls of floor mat that one could purchase from a photo equipment vendor such as Kate, this too can become expensive and still may be prone to bunching up for those using it for photographing people.  One could go to a home supply store and purchase a single package of wood panels (5" x 4 ft) that could be used quite effectively. One could purchase a variety of looks, often for less than the cost of a single mat.


These could be viable options for either the product photographer or portrait photographer in many cases!



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