Kate Transparent PVC Reflection floor mat for Cake Smash

Looking for a Photography Floor Mat That Mimics a Reflection Floor?

In a nutshell, a photography mat is a backdrop for your floor. These mats can mimic a variety of different textures and materials. An example is a floor mat mimicking a hardwood floor to go along with a Christmas fireplace backdrop.

They come in handy when the studio flooring doesn't match the backdrop

Not only that, but floor mats can mimic the effects of a reflection floor, adding new layers of depth to your photos.

Some photography studios use flooring such as polished concrete for their reflective properties. As a result, their photos make more efficient use of ambient light. The floor can also add an artistic layer to the images via reflected colors and light on the subject.

Instead of getting new floors for your studio, you can use a reflective photography mat. With one, you can achieve that stylish look whenever you want - and can put it away when you're done.

That way, you can choose when you want and don't want to have reflections in your photos. Read on to learn three ways to make a reflective floor mat.

#3: A Transparent Reflective Floor Mat

A transparent mat is a great way to transform any floor surface into a reflective one. You'll need a mat made from a clear plastic material, such as PVC. Also, it's best to find a mat that's relatively thin so you can make any surface appear reflective by applying it on top. 

Now your wooden floors will appear polished and highly reflective.

Apply it over a white floor, and voila - it now looks like cold ice.

These are just a few ways you can use a transparent floor mat to spruce up your photos. In addition to laying it flat on the ground, you can lay it upright to protect your backdrop from getting dirty.

Plastic mats are also effortless to clean - and are favorites for 'cake smash' shooting. If you want to photograph your toddler devouring their first birthday cake but don't want to deal with a huge mess - a transparent reflective mat is for you. 

How to Use

Kate Transparent PVC Reflection floor mat for Cake SmashYou'll want to measure your backdrop to determine the size you'll need for your mat. You can either choose a specific size or have a custom mat cut out of plastic material. Once you know how much ground you need to cover, you'll want to unroll your mat on the floor.

If the edges of the mat stick up from being rolled up, place something heavy on them that's out of sight. That way, your mat will lay perfectly flat during shooting - maintaining the illusion of a shiny, reflective floor.

How to Shoot

From there, stage the photo first. Once you have everything where you want it, place the PVC mat center stage. Do your best to align the mat with the backdrop, so the reflections are straight.

Do a quick check through your camera's viewfinder with a stand-in to make sure the mat is in the perfect spot. Once that's done, you're all set to take photos.

How to Clean

A transparent mat is relatively easy to clean - as all you need is to dry-mop and sweep it. If more resilient stains/dirt appear, moisten the mop with warm water to clean it off. For the most part, you shouldn't have to use any cleaning agents - which will help extend the life of your mat.

How to Store

Once the shooting and cleaning are done, it's time to put the mat away for later. Luckily, this is another effortless task. All you have to do is roll the mat up, and it can easily fit in any closet or on a shelf.

#2: White Polywall Plastic Panel

baby photo with Kate Boho Rainbow Backdrop Designed by Mandy Ringe Photography

Kate Boho Rainbow Backdrop Designed by Mandy Ringe Photography

Another option is to use a polywall plastic panel from a hardware store. They're perfect for shooting with white backdrops - as they give a reflective glass look to the floor. While they lack the versatility of transparent mats, you can't beat them for achieving a white reflective base.

The good news is that they're readily available at most hardware stores. 

The bad news is that they don't roll up and are cumbersome to store.

They also come in a wide variety of sizes, so you shouldn't have trouble there. Another drawback is that these panels tend to run on the expensive side.

How to Use

Since they don't roll up, you'll need to carry the panel in its complete form. Be careful not to drop it or smash it against something - as they're pretty fragile. You'll want to set up your backdrop first to align the panel with it properly.

How to Shoot

 white wall panal with Kate Valentine's Day Roses Backdrop Designed by Emetselch

Kate Valentine's Day Roses Backdrop Designed by Emetselch

Once the backdrop is up, do your best to align the mat with its center. If necessary, you may need to use more than one panel to cover the entirety of the backdrop. 

Have a subject stand on the mat to see how the reflections look in your viewfinder. Before snapping photos, make sure that you don't see any blemishes on the mat. (dirt, dust, etc.)

How to Clean 

White Polywood has some stringent cleaning requirements that are crucial to know. The last thing you want to do is wind up staining an expensive polywood panel because you won't be able to use it again.

  • In a bucket, mix mild dish soap with warm water.
  • With a clean cloth, wipe the entire length of the mat with the soapy solution. 
  • If there are problematic areas, you can mix 1/3 bleach with 1/3 water for extra cleaning power.

How to Store

You won't be able to roll them up, so you'll have to store them vertically. Arguably the best way to do that is to keep them upright in a closet.

#1: Using Mirrors

Lastly, you can use plain old mirrors to achieve reflections in your photos. They make flexible mirror sheets that you can use for this very purpose. These are similar to the transparent PVC mats, but they're mirrors instead of PVC material.

dogs photo with Kate Black Golden Stars Bokeh Children Backdrop Designed by Jerry_sina

Kate Black Golden Stars Bokeh Children Backdrop Designed by Jerry_sina

You can also use conventional mirrors, but they don't roll up and are hard to carry and store.

How to Use

If you have a mirror sheet, roll it out on the floor like you would a transparent mat. If you're using a regular mirror, you'll have to carry it and place it on the floor.

How to Shoot

Once you have a backdrop in place, align the mirror with its center. It's wise to use a stand-in and look through your viewfinder to line everything up. That way, you can get the reflections right where you want them.

How to Clean

For the most part, conventional glass cleaners should be efficient at cleaning your mirrors. Make sure to use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe away the residue. If you don't have access to window cleaner - you can mix cool water with white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle.

How to Store

dog photo with Kate Black Golden Stars Bokeh Children Backdrop Designed by Jerry_sina

Kate Black Golden Stars Bokeh Children Backdrop Designed by Jerry_sina

You can store mirror sheets the same way you would a transparent PVC sheet. They roll up, so they can fit just about anywhere. Conventional mirrors are more of a challenge, as you'll have to find somewhere with more space, such as a large closet.

Closing Thoughts: Reflective Photography Mats

Having a reflective floor provides artistic depth and additional ambient lighting. If you don't want to install polished flooring in your studio, using a reflective mat is the next best thing. Transparent mats are arguably the most versatile and easy to store and clean.

White polywood works wonders if you're working with a white backdrop. Lastly, you can use mirror sheets or conventional mirrors to achieve reflections.

At Kate Backdrop, we've got everything that you need to take unforgettable studio photos. From gorgeous backdrops to helpful accessories, you'll find them all here. Also, don't forget to check out our blog with posts like How to Create a Photo Booth Area at Home on 2022 Mother's Day.

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