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Poly Boards

You’ll love poly boards because they are big, cheap, light and have so many uses. I’ve been playing with poly boards for the last six months and they are a classic photographers best friend. Be your lighting setups daylight or flash polys will help you bounce, cut and shape light in a big broad way. Sue Bryce, Australian portrait photographer of the year, has been a guide in my implementation of poly boards. Sue uses painted poly boards for backgrounds and large squares for her models to sit on. I’m going to cover all of the what, how, where and how much details of poly boards in Melbourne below .

What is a poly board?A poly board is a sheet of white polystyrene that usually measures 2440mm high x 1200mm wide and in varying thicknesses of 40-120mm. Which can be made to order by numerous polystyrene factories in Melbourne. In the everyday it is used for housing insulation through to film props. Especially due to its super light weight.

How it can be used? Poly boards are very useful in photography as they are easy to manoeuvre, can be used as a large reflector or black and can be easily doubled as a background. Poly boards are famous amongst studio photographers and much over looked as a way to cheaply and affectively move light around a studio or even out doors.

Where to buy poly boards in Melbourne? After searching Melbourne for the best and most convenient way to pick up Poly boards for the studio I found Ridwan from Auspod Styrene Industries. He is a gentleman that is happy to take Paypal or direct bank deposit. I purchased the 75mm thick boards and would recommend that as a minimum, otherwise your going to get boards that bend and have bumps all over them.

Speak to Ridwan 0405 666 555


Pricing (Includes GST):
• 2400mm Long x 1200mm Wide x 40mm Thick = $25.00 / Sheet
• 2400mm Long x 1200mm Wide x 50mm Thick = $30.00 / Sheet
• 2400mm Long x 1200mm Wide x 75mm Thick = $45.00 / Sheet
• 2400mm Long x 1200mm Wide x 100mm Thick = $60.00 / Sheet
• 2400mm Long x 1200mm Wide x 150mm Thick = $90.00 / Sheet

I picked up six of them and they delivered to my door for $29 to Brunswick.

Places recommended by other professionals to purchase poly boards:


What are the additional options ?
Stands? All one needs is a stand for the poly boards: make them out of framing pine, hire a welder or purchase steel ones from a supplier.
Colour them? One litre of paint low sheen paint, of any colour, will provide a double coat to a standard 2440mm x 1200mm sheet.

Places to pick up paint:
Scenic Studios – Visual Coatings Preston.
Last 35 years. Olds scenic painting studio in Australia.

PART TWO will be following up on the how to use these poly boards.

polyboards after


  1. Great post thanks so much for sharing! I’m going to give Ridwan a call.

    Keen to check out Part 2!

    • maxm1 maxm1

      hello Drew,
      I checked out your cinematography work. Lovely classic story telling feeling over layered with Tasmania’s lush and inviting landscapes.

  2. maxm1 maxm1

    Thanks Drew,

    I’d be keen to hear how it works out for you.



  3. maxm1 maxm1

    Hi Max
    I just found your blog post on PolyBoards for photography. We’re up in Sydney, and are looking around for some Polystyrene boards – just a quick question for you, when you purchased yours, did they come with any sort of plastic skin on them, or just the straight poly, and did you paint straight onto the textured surface?
    Any help gratefully received
    Many thanks

    Hey Sarah,
    From who I purchased them from they came just cut. No plastic, did you watch the YouTube video from the American as well?
    You can paint straight onto the surface with in door paint. Costs about $30 for a litre of custom color. That will do one panel.
    Hope that helps,


    Hi Max
    We did see the you tube American video, that’s what confused
    us, she had plastic on them.
    Ours seem very rough, and quite stippled.
    Oh well, will give them two coats of paint and see how the photograph.
    Maybe take 20cm off the top as they seem huge.

    Yeah you have to ask for the super smooth ones. Because they cut them with heated metal wire that can be inconsistent. I had the same issue. So I use them for backgrounds only when shooting f4 and under(super blurred backgrounds)

    Q3:The company said that’s as smooth as the get. Will try someone else, who did you use, they might have a Sydney supplier,
    otherwise I’ll head to by bunnings and see if they have some sort of paint filler I could use to smooth out.
    Owe you a beer

  4. Brian Brian

    Hi Max,

    Just been reading your blog re the poly boards, great read.

    Just wondering……I’m building two boards and was thinking of painting one side black and one white on each of them.

    Now I’m thinking four sides four different colours doubling up as reflectors and backgrounds?

    Thinking black, blue, yellow and chroma key green? Which blue and yellow are you using? Scenic Studios?


    • maxm1 maxm1

      Thank you for the read and the question –

      The colours I choose were based upon the samples I liked at bunnings and purchased from bunnings. Went with my gut insticit for what colours resonate with me – thus they will add to feeling of my photos overall.

      Scenic Studios has a beautiful array of colour in their stock colour sections.

      My recommendation is to have at least one poly board with a white and black side so you can use they as bounces/cutters and then a separate panel with you colours for back grounds.

  5. Hi Max,
    Do you know or anyone here where I can buy them in Perth ?
    Can’t find it :(

    • maxm1 maxm1

      Hello Darek,

      This maybe a super old question! Though I’m sure if you looked up Polysterene Boards Perth you’ll find something. This is what I located. LINK and just choose which size you want. I hope that helps!



  6. Tony Tony


    Great post.

    Where is Part 2?

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