Mylar paper is also known as metalized polyester film. You may have seen it used on balloons, packaging, and insulation and, lately, taking over the photography scene. Its unique reflective properties and versatility offer countless possibilities for photographers looking to add a touch of creativity and magic to their images. In this article, I’ll give you some ideas and examples of using Mylar, hoping you’ll try this interesting material yourself.
Mylar paper has a mirror-like surface that can reflect light and create stunning visual effects. When strategically placed, it can bounce and redirect light, resulting in unique and dynamic lighting patterns.
When it comes to capturing portraits, combining mylar paper and colored lights are a perfect combination. Together they create a truly magical effect. Mylar paper’s reflective capabilities allow it to interact seamlessly with colored lights, creating a stunning interplay of hues and tones. In the pictures above, by strategically placing colored lights around the subject and using mylar paper as a reflective surface, I was able to create beautiful patterns of light on the model’s skin. The mylar paper also captured and amplified the colors, creating an ethereal glow and an otherworldly ambiance.
NEON, LIGHTS, MYLAR, ACTION!
Whether you’re aiming for a high-fashion look, a futuristic ambiance, or a dreamy atmosphere, Mylar paper can be customized to suit your style and concept. In the pictures above, the model and I opted for a neon outfit, then we clamped Mylar paper over a V-Flat and also used another piece to cover the floor. I used an Aputure 600c Pro, set it to blue, and pointed it to the ceiling to create an overall blue atmosphere. Then I used An Amaran 300c, matched its color to the model’s outfit, and pointed it toward the model. When you point light directly to Mylar Paper, it creates beautiful ripple reflections of light that spread all over the set.
MYLAR & YOGA.
When envisioning and planning this yoga photoshoot, I aimed to craft a harmonious and tranquil scene. The Mylar paper played a pivotal role in bringing this vision to life. With it, I was able to evoke the illusion of water, which became a central element in the composition. By combining the mylar paper with a spotlight, I could simulate a captivating sunset or a serene sunrise casting its warm, soft orange hues upon the water’s surface. The interplay of the lavender-hued lighting and the reflective qualities of the mylar paper transformed the set into a peaceful oasis, creating a serene ambiance.
To achieve the desired lighting effects in the pictures in this set, I used an Aputure 600c Pro with a spotlight attachment to create a circular shape on the seamless white background. Its color temperature was adjusted to a complete Color Temperature Orange (CTO). Then I added an Amaran 300c, with a lantern modifier to create an even soft light. I set the color temperature of this light to evoke a lavender hue. Lastly, I used an Amaran 150c unit, also set to a full CTO filter, directed towards the mylar paper, creating light textures seen on both the background and the model’s skin and clothing.
CREATIVE POSSIBILITIES OF MYLAR
Mylar paper is a remarkably versatile and cost-effective tool. With a 4FT x 100FT roll available for under $50, its affordability and multipurpose nature make it a valuable asset that can be repurposed for numerous sessions. Mylar paper offers a range of applications to enhance your images.
While mylar paper can be used as a direct element in photos or a prop, it can also be used out of the frame to cast reflections on the background. By strategically placing mylar paper off-camera, you can create a unique interplay of light and reflections.
Mylar paper can redirect and manipulate light sources to enhance specific areas of the subject. By angling and positioning the mylar paper, you can achieve creative lighting effects, soften shadows, accentuate highlights, or create a subtle glow.
By wrinkling the mylar, you can create unique and amazing textures for the background. I am also looking forward to exploring DIY outfit creations with mylar paper for a futuristic concept photoshoot I have in mind!
The versatility of mylar paper in photo sessions goes beyond conventional usage, allowing for experimentation and creative exploration. Whether it’s incorporating mylar paper as a reflective element, using it as background, experimenting with textures, and effects, or utilizing it as a light modifier, the possibilities are limitless. With its affordability, mylar paper is a valuable addition to any photographer’s toolkit, providing endless opportunities to push boundaries and capture captivating images.
About the Author
Gilmar Smith is a creative photographer and educator based in Orlando, Florida. Other than expressing her creativity through her photos, she aims also to inspire and empower others to release and express their creativity. You can find more of Gilmar’s work on her website and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Threads. This article was also published here and shared with permission.