How To Make A Light Reflector In 1 Minute Flat

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on February 10, 2011

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Murphy’s Law: You will have troubles with your Furnace during a cold-snap.

Thank goodness for space heaters!

Our heat has been wonky last night and this morning and the house feels like an icy igloo. I woke up this morning feeling like I’m coming down with a cold too. My poor body is just trying to stay alive!

Right now, I have my space heater so close to me, I could melt, but I am willing to take that risk. Hopefully the technician will be able to make it today.

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Of course, all I could think about this morning was getting WARM and it was the perfect morning for a hot bowl of oats that would warm me from the inside out.

Aside from making Rustic Banana Cake, another easy way to use up black bananas is by mashing them into oatmeal for a lovely Banana Bread effect. A really ripe banana makes for a sweet bowl of oats too, so I didn’t need any additional sweetener in this bowl which is always nice!

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A reader sent me some PB2 to try out a while ago so I thought I would try stirring some into my oatmeal this morning. PB2 is basically powdered, defatted peanut butter with 85% less fat than traditional peanut butter. They also add in some sugar and salt to pump up the flavour. I have to admit, it does taste better than I thought it would, though, I still prefer using real peanut butter in moderation, extra calories and all. Devil

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Eric surprised me with some organic strawberries the other day. We normally don’t buy the non-local berries in the Winter, but once and a while they are a nice treat. This pint was really flavourful for some reason.

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After cooking the oats, stir in the toppings of your choice…

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Oh, and try to avoid doing this…

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[I blame my frozen, lifeless fingers…]

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I added a splash of Almond Milk to my bowl. I really enjoy a bit of milk poured on top of my oats lately.

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How To Make A Light Reflector In 1 Minute Flat

The main way I have learned more about food photography is by using online tutorials and then practicing these tips in my shoots. I thought it would be fun to occasionally share with you the tips and tricks that I learn along the way.

The other day I came across this easy tip on how to build a light reflector. Light reflectors are often used in photography to bounce the light and brighten up your shot. I’ll show you a before and after below.

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Step 1) Grab a Binder

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Step 2: Cover it with tin foil.

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Step 3) Secure with tape.

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A benefit of using a binder is that you can bend it forwards and backwards.

Before (not using light reflector)                                

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After (using light reflector)

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The difference is very subtle, but you can see how it brightens up and fills out some of the dark areas in the after shot!

Just try not to get the binder in your shot… ;)

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My next tip has to do with using props in a photo. I have some fun progress pictures to show you from my first experiment.

You might also want to check out my ‘how to make a light box’ post from the other week.

I think more hot tea is in order. :)

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{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

Chelsey (Cookteen) February 10, 2011 at 11:10 am

a light reflector is such a good idea–sometimes I try to balance my camera while holding up a white paper towel to reflect light, doesn’t work too well :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 10, 2011 at 11:15 am

haha I just got the most hilarious visual of that. Ive tried using a white styrofoam board and it was a huge hassle and always fell.

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Anni February 10, 2011 at 11:11 am

Hello :)

I like your recipes and journal entries so much. Thank you for posting, Angela. You are a real inspiration. And the reflector is awesome!

I send you my best wishes from Hamburg (North-Germany).

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 10, 2011 at 11:14 am

Thanks Annie :) So fun to know I have a reader from Hamburg!

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Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg February 10, 2011 at 11:13 am

Yikes– I hope your heat comes back on!!!! Bundle up!!

I can definitely tell a difference– cool trick!!

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Blog is the New Black February 10, 2011 at 11:14 am

Gorgeous pics and great tip on the light reflector!

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Ann February 10, 2011 at 11:16 am

There have been many days this winter (most days…) when I’m so cold that I drink tea continuously partly to hold a hot cup! Thanks for the light reflector tips, I might have to try that. I’ve only been blogging for a few weeks, but I’m learning a lot about which rooms in my house get good natural photography light. Are you just using the light reflector near natural light, or are you using it with artificial light, too?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 10, 2011 at 11:27 am

I only use it when in natural light :) Sometimes I get a lot of shadows depending on the time of day and whether it is cloudy outside or sunny, so it can help bounce some light around.

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Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn February 10, 2011 at 11:20 am

My furnace was broken last night too! The technician came at 12:30 in the morning, a little too late but at least we weren’t cold anymore:)

And duh, why did I not think of that?! Now I can make a speedy light reflector!

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Alex @ Healing Beauty February 10, 2011 at 11:20 am

Breakfast sounds delicious! Strawberries pretty much go with anything in my opinion :)

Thanks for the tips on the light reflector! Oh and by the way, yesterday I was at costco and found some of that marinara sauce you posted about the other day. I can’t wait to try it with spelt elbow pasta and some nutritional yeast on top in a baby le creuset look-alike I bought!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 10, 2011 at 11:26 am

I was thinking it would go lovely with some nutritional yeast. Enjoy!

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Shanna February 10, 2011 at 11:21 am

Brilliant quick tip! I should really do this. Our lighting in our home is terrible. All overhead at weird angles that cast shadows.

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Sabine @ thefruitpursuit February 10, 2011 at 11:24 am

wow such a great and useful tip!

our heating has been super wonky as well haha but we live in a huge old mansion haha (temporarily)

be glad it was just nuts! I once splattered pumpkin ALL over my kitchen! oops…

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Jackie @ Baking Charms February 10, 2011 at 11:25 am

What a great trick! Thanks for sharing :)

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Rochel @ barefootandcooking February 10, 2011 at 11:28 am

Thanks for the tip. I’m going to go try it now.

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Moni'sMeals February 10, 2011 at 11:30 am

thanks for the tips! One day I will need this!

I really just want your breakfast…look at those strawberries!

I drop something on the floor at least once a day. :)

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Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie) February 10, 2011 at 11:31 am

I love your strawberry/pb oats! Is there any reason why you add the chia seeds other than for nutritional value? Not sure if they add any different texture to the oats or if flax would be the same. :)

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carri z. February 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm

hey jenny!

i have never used flax in oatmeal,
but i do use and love chia seeds.
they seem to really fluff up
and bulk up the oats and add
a cool texture but no weird taste.

very VERY yum,
especially with a banana and pb
whipped in!

; )

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Katy (The Singing Runner) February 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

I made a light box and it has really helped with my photos, especially on those non-sunny days. Now I’ll have to make a light reflector! :D

Breakfast looks amazing! I love my oats with a splash of milk too! :D

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Lisa February 10, 2011 at 11:33 am

Yum! I want those oats now! I am in desperate need of more PB 2!

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Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons February 10, 2011 at 11:34 am

Thank you angela!!!! This is awesome! <3 Do you use the binder with natural light, a lamp, or in a light box? I'm super curious!

xoXOxo
Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

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Heather (heathers dish) February 10, 2011 at 11:34 am

What a sweet idea! Off to find a binder now ;)

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Roz February 10, 2011 at 11:35 am

Thanks so much for the light reflector tip. It IS subtle, but the difference is impressive.
Have a great day, keep warm.

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Nikki T February 10, 2011 at 11:39 am

Brrr….and I thought it was bad when my hot water heater crapped out on me the other week, nevermind the furnace!
I hope that repair guy gets to you before you turn frosty on us!
Stay warm :)

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Nichole February 10, 2011 at 11:41 am

Those warm oats look delicious!!!!

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Bronwyn February 10, 2011 at 11:45 am

I love photography tips! And I really must build myself a light box. I would love to take more pictures of my dinner meals, but lighting is horrible in my apartment.

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Jennifer @ keepitsimplefoods.com February 10, 2011 at 11:46 am

Great photo tips! Love that it’s easy to do and doesn’t take up a ton of space. Thanks for sharing.

The strawberries brightened up my day!

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Freya February 10, 2011 at 11:47 am

Those strawberries look amazing! So crisp and clear in the photography, clearly well-light for their big moment of glory ;)

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Ashley February 10, 2011 at 11:58 am

Don’t freeze to death Angela! We need you for photographic inspiration and delicious vegan treats!

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Madeleine @ Stepping to the Bright Side February 10, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Aluminum foil is such a great idea! I’ve used a white paper towel to bounce off light in a pinch…

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table February 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Reading the title of this post, I totally thought it was going to be able Star Wars! ;)

I really appreciate the photo-taking tips. They are certainly much-needed.

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Christine (The Raw Project) February 10, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Yikes, sorry about your heat – thank goodness for space heaters indeed! The Strawberry oats look wonderful. Love the light reflector tutorial, thanks!

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Doc (The Healthy PhD) February 10, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Stupid furnaces! I feel your pain.

Plus, I love, love, love your strawberry slice heart. So cute!

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Leanne (For Health's Sake) February 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm

What a good idea!

You’re the martha stewart of blogs ha! :)

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lindsay February 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I love all your photo tutorials! Keep it up lovely!
LC

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Gen February 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Awesome idea!!!!
By the way, those oats look wonderful! Where do you come up with all of these fabulous recipes? =D

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Julie February 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm

OH. MY. GOSH. I NEED to make this oatmeal! It looks so delicious and your pictures are always so beautiful.

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Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete February 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I love the light reflector tip — how hilarious!

Those strawberries are gorgeous!!!

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Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day February 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Light reflectors make such a difference… great tutorial!

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Meryl @ scribbled musings February 10, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Thanks for all the quick and easy tips.

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Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} February 10, 2011 at 12:39 pm

I’m going to go have some tea for you…brrr!

Thanks for the light reflector tip.

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Felicia (a taste of health with balance) February 10, 2011 at 12:46 pm

i have my eye out for organic strawberries.. this bowl of oats looks so good. i love the colors and the nuts always add the perfect crunch and texture. never had PB2.. only peanut flour from trader joes.. but i agree, nothing tastes better than the real thing!

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Kath (My Funny Little Life) February 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Thank you for these wonderful tips! I have the problem that the light in my kitchen is rather dark which makes it difficult to take photos in the evening. I’ll try this out! It’s amazing how much you can do yourself so you don’t have to buy professional equipment for everything.

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Thanks for the light reflector tip! I’ll have to use it!

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felicia February 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Breakfast looks yummy! Great tip about the light reflector.

Hope your heat gets fixed soon!

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Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit February 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Great idea! We have used plates with tin foil wrapped around them, but it gets difficult when my boyfriend isn’t home… can’t hold a plate and shoot at the same time! Great idea.

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wendy (healthy girl's kitchen) February 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Thanks for another great photography tip! I’m making good use of the lightbox I bought off of e-bay and your ideas for lighting it. Boy is this winter going on and on and on and on!

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Andrea B. @ Vegvacious February 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Your breakfast looks so tasty and refreshing. It’s nice to see strawberries for breakfast in the middle of February! Thanks for the tips on using a light reflector….looks like it is a pretty easy trick to try ~ I just started my own blog and my photography skills will definitely benefit from your tricks and tips! Hope you are feeling better….& warmer really soon!!

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Baking 'n' Books February 10, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I actually have the opposite problem – my place gets too stuffy at times. The landlords control the heat in their main house…it does cool down in the evening though. Makes me never want to go out though!…and I don’t…

Do you mind if I ask what the chia seeds do? Do you add them because they are healthy mostly? Or do they actually do something to make the oats taste better or pump them up more? Also, I know you live in Canada right – where do you do most of your shopping? The stores around me are NOT great with organics and stuff. But I can’t afford “those cute, hippy organic” stores and they are far driving distance.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I love when you give photography tips Ange! I had no idea that a light reflector would make such a difference. The oats look delicious – never would have thought to combine strawberries and PB but yours looks gorgeous!

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Jenny February 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm

That oatmeal looks splendid! light reflector is a good idea, I must say:)

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Laura @ Starting Out Fit February 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm

What a great idea about the binder! I think I may have to give that a shot! :)
Isn’t that an awesome oat combination? I regularly eat a combo of PB, banana, stawberries and walnuts! Actually had it this am! mmmmm

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Michelle February 10, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I’ve been thinking about combining your green monster with your VOO to make the ultimate breakfast. I was thinking I’d make a classic green monster with a non-frozen banana then pour that over oats & chia seeds & let it set overnight. Thoughts? I think it would be a great way to add some veggies to my oats :)

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Angela February 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm

As a college student taking photography class I really appreciate all your tips and tricks for taking good photographs. Your photos have continued to be an inspiration. Do you have any favorite photography blogs either featuring various photographers or basic techniques? Currently I enjoy LENSCRATCH and the NYT Lens blog…Thanks!
And that oatmeal looks amazing. I have oatmeal every morning because my hands and feet are always cold ( got to love my Reynaud’s ) and I have to go out at the crack of dawn to collect eggs and give water to my chickens -but I love my hens anyways :)

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Clare @ Fitting It All In February 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Super ripe bananas in my oats is my favorite ever! I love the smell of warm ripe bananas too.
Thanks for the tip about the light refractor!

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Ashley February 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm

I’ve been meaning to try one of your oat recipes! My boyfriend and I are a huge fan of overnight oatmeal with apples and cinnamon:) Thanks! Stay warm and feel better:)

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Amanda (Tomboy That Wears Makeup) February 10, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Looking good! Next thing I need Is more counter space!

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Kris | iheartwellness.com February 10, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Haha! What a great idea!!

I am lucky my white tile in the kitchen works well with Ryan’s movie recording lights ;) I have tried many, many things, but not a binder! Great tip!

Hope you warm up a bit doll

xxoo

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Amber K February 10, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I prefer real peanut butter too. Besides, I need those healthy fats!

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Justeen @ Blissful Baking February 10, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Mmm your oatmeal looks delicious! I love putting banana in my oats!

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 10, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Light reflector tip…have seen that other places. But just like with a lightbox, I havent actually made one. But this…is simpler than a lightbox. I think i can handle this one :)

I would have never noticed the binder in your shot in the last pic, btw. You are too honest :)

And Murhphy’s Law with the furnace…the coldest week of the year in early Jan our furnace went out, too! We wore lots of layers that week!

Can’t wait for the PROPS post. THAT is one i really want to see!

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Sarah February 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I love these diy photography tips. You make taking good food photographs seem do-able. (I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it!)

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Megan (Braise The Roof) February 10, 2011 at 3:47 pm

This is a great idea- thanks for sharing!

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Lindsay @ The Reluctant Runner February 10, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Those strawberries look amazing–they’re so red! Yum. I can’t wait until the summer farmer’s market!

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Lisa (bakebikeblog) February 10, 2011 at 3:53 pm

oh that breakfast…I am lost for words! It is stunning!

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bree marsh @ deliciously dense February 10, 2011 at 4:17 pm

great tip! someone actually told me to do that recently, but didn’t explain how! i can use all the tips i can get, workin hard on improving my photos!

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Catherine February 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm

That oatmeal looks delishhh! I saw on Katheats she put cottage cheese as an add in for one of her oatmeals and it looked amazing since i love it…. i was just curious, whats your take on cottage cheese in general??

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Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) February 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm

What a great idea!! BRILLIANT! Must try this next time. My kitchen is SO dark (no windows – BOO). Will have to see if that helps my ‘in kitchen shots’.

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ayantika February 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Hi Angela, Came to your blog through Foodbuzz..ur blog is so amazing, esp the way you promote vegan healthy food. I am already subscribing you.
Nice talk about those reflectors and am also looking forward to the prop talk. I am quite new to blogging and these photography tips will definitely help me a lot.

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Mary @ Bites and Bliss February 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Those oats look ammazzzing!! You always have such treats for breakfast. :)

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Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather February 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm

That’s a great light tip! I’ll totally give that a try, thanks Angela!

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carri z. February 10, 2011 at 6:06 pm

hooray for NON-defatted peanut butter!
nutt’n butter then the real thing!
YUM!!!
; )

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Liz @ IHeartVegetables February 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm

What a great tip!! I’m totally going to try it. I made a light box and it made a world of difference!

I have to admit, sometimes I like some PB2!

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Lauren Gruszka February 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I just want to say I think you are absolutely gorgeous! My sister found you on here and she told me how great of an inspiration you are to her. I just had to see for myself! I’m still at the beginning stages of my blog and I’m predicting it will be of a vent/self discovery/happiness/inspirational type nature hahaha. =) I can’t wait to read more of your stuff!

<3 Lauren

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin February 10, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Those strawberries must have been such a nice treat! I still buy non-local berries throughout the winter, but they never taste as good as the local ones! I can’t wait for berry season again!

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Emma February 10, 2011 at 7:05 pm

aluminum foil is one of the best inventions ever. I never tire of finding new uses for it. Also, did you know that clean foil is recyclable?!?! wahoooo!

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[email protected] February 10, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Woww great technique of “light reflecting”! Is that something that one could do even with a point and shoot? :)

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jenny eats nutella from a spoon February 10, 2011 at 8:22 pm

thanks so much for this! i have this and the “how to make a light box” bookmarked :)

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Rachelle Atkinson February 10, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Thinking about trying to create a healthful version of Starbucks’ maple nut scone – wheat and dairy free, healthier oils and sweeteners. Interested in what your take on it might be! :)

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Jaclyn Trecartin February 10, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Thanks…this may help my crappy photos look only semi-crappy.

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Hannah February 10, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Is this light reflector something you have to use *with* the light box, or is it an extra trick on its own? I haven’t been able to make a light box yet, but I could definitely make this tonight :)

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Callie February 11, 2011 at 11:06 am

Girrrl, that is one great reflector tip :) Seriously, I’m about to take my tent light cube and toss it straight out the window… No joke, I dislike it that much. It’s so damn big that the light isn’t flooding the space. So, I’m going to make one of these and see if it doesn’t help. Thanks!

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Teresa February 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I just made this…super good. Added in some maca powder because it arrived in the mail with the chia seeds. Thanks for the recipe!

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Sherry Greek February 13, 2011 at 11:19 am

I love this tip! Keep them coming!

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Emily @ Emily Says February 15, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Thanks for posting this great and easy tip! Photography is an area that is lacking on my blog. I post pictures, but I don’t have a “big girl” camera yet, so it is hard to get pretty pictures. I will try this for sure!

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marlies August 24, 2013 at 10:49 pm

how do you position the binder? this is such a cool idea!

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