Foam Board for Photography: Why and How to Use

photography foam board

Foam core photography gains popularity in the product and e-commerce photography industry nowadays. The reason for that is quite simple: it’s an excellent budget photography trick that can take your work to the next level in the blink of an eye.

Let’s be honest, it feels incredibly limiting to realize that you can’t afford all the gear you need to receive professional outcomes. However, you can purchase a photography foam board for an affordable price. A pack of 10 sheets will cost you about 15 dollars.

In this article, WeEdit.Photos editors will tell you how to apply foam board for photography and how to make foam board stand up and reveal some useful lighting techniques using a marble photography backdrop. You will be surprised to find out how easy it is.

Reflect Light for Getting Rid of Harsh Shadows

bounce light photography foam board

It’s not a secret that light bounces off the white surface. Every photo can benefit from some light bouncing — it gives a nicer quality of light, eliminates harsh shadows, and makes pictures more flattering. It’s especially useful when we deal with photos of food, jewelry, clothes, etc.

Foam board photography background evens out and brightens the lighting making products look more appealing. It’s a great way to utilize foam board. Another thing you need to keep in mind is that foam core can break down and get punctured with ease, so be careful.

Fill Light for Making Shadows Softer

fill light photography foam board

Your subjects won’t always be lit evenly. Sometimes you might have only one source of light. You need to pay attention to lighting and use this method both when taking portrait and product photos.

When using one light source, you will only have one set of shadows. Photos like this come across as harsh. That’s why you can transform your shadows. All you need to do is to place a part of the white foam board on another side of the light source.

Use a Backdrop to Drive the Attention to the Subject

background photography foam board

There’s no getting around it, backgrounds are extremely important to help maintain attention on the subject. The foam board photography background is the ultimate solution.

Foam core serves as a clear, non-distracting background. You should purchase black foam core as well as white. However, using it for implementing portrait background ideas may be problematic, due to the needed size of the board.

If you don’t have a lot of time, you can outsource this task to the WeEdit.Photos company. The team will carefully remove your background and enhance your images. You can also employ one of the available background removal tools to enhance your photos without wasting a lot of time.

Light Absorption for Taking Realistic Photos

lught absorption photography foam board

When doing foam core photography, some photographers focus only on the light bouncing off the white backdrop and push all the other foam core colors to the side. Sometimes you need some light to be absorbed, that’s when photography black foam core comes into play. Unlike white foam core, it keeps light from bouncing back onto your subject deepening the shadows.

It is also called “flagging” and it makes a huge difference. When using flags to obstruct the light from a particular light source, one of the most vital things to keep in mind is the space between the light source and the cutter. Flags are often referred to as “cutters.” If a cutter is too far away from the light, it will create harsh shades that will not only look unnatural but also will give away the location of your light source.

Cookie Lighting for Creating a Magical Atmosphere

cookie light photography foam board

When taking photos, you can use cookie lighting. To do it, you just need to cut shapes out of foam core and direct your light source onto it. It will allow you to create beautiful light patterns and fully transform the atmosphere in the frame. Most photographers use black foam board for pictures to achieve this effect.

Pro Tip: You need to keep the knife sharp, as foam core is known to dull blades pretty quickly.

V-Flat to Control Light in Pictures

v flat photography foam board

V-Flats are giant foam core boards taped together. Using them photographers can control the light in their pictures. Why such a name? A flat, in theater language, is a background that we can easily relocate.

When you attach two flats together — they should stand on their own forming a V shape, hence – the name. To do V flats photography, you need to use a studio. If you don’t have a studio, a foam board photography background is a perfect variant to make it look like you have one. It can give the illusion that a photo was taken in a proper studio when actually, it could be your living room.

Even in the comfortable conditions of your own house, they will help you create a functional studio. The versatility of V-Flats is endless, that’s why all the product and food photographers use them.


  • Why is foam board used by photographers?

Professionals use white photography foam board as a fill light when taking photos and shooting videos. It reflects the light perfectly, which allows you to use it for a range of purposes. Small pieces are suitable for taking product photos. Large sheets of foam board will be perfect for portraits.

  • What makes foam core different from foam board?

Foam core is essentially the same foam board. The latter term is used for a printing and display board made from a foam core put between two sheets of paper. Some people also call it foamboard, paper-face foam, or kappa. The usage of the term differs depending on the region and the company that produces foam boards.

  • Does foam have the ability to reflect light?

Photographers often use white foam boards to reflect light and bounce it onto the subject. It helps them avoid harsh shadows. It’s a perfect source of lighting for still life photography. Foam boards allow you to create a well-balanced composition with all the details clearly visible in the frame.

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