Studio Photography – The Best Softbox Ever

studio_photography_best_softbox_ever.jpgIf you did not meet Nick Wheeler (Flickr Stream – a must) until now, you are in for a treat. Nick is what I call a Lean Mean Studio DIY Machine. Unlike the softbox for a hot shoe flash and the softbox made from a well…. a box, this softbox design by Nick is as close to a real life studio softbox design as a softbox can be. As always, Nick has done great job of documenting his work so all the DIYP community can benefit. Making this studio grade softbox takes some time and effort, but well worth the investment.

While this project is great, Nick calls it a prototype and plans on a follow up. Keep tuned to Nick’s Flickr stream – you’ll soon realize that you came for the DIY projects but stayed for the great photography. It all Nick from here on.

This is a DIY project I have had in mind for a while now. When I purchased my studio flash heads, they came with a couple of small softboxes. Although I prefer to use translucent umbrellas whenever I can (small, light, easy to transport), there are times when a softbox is a better solution. While I could use the studio head softboxes in some circumstances with my small strobes, there was no way of effectively holding the flash in place without a lot of jerry rigging. To this end, I wanted to design a softbox that would be light, reasonably strong and durable, adaptable (double diffuser, grid attachment, barn doors etc.) at a later date and have a quick and easy way to mount the flash.

While I achieved most of these goals, the finished softbox was a bit heavier than I would have liked and as is usually the case with these projects I figured out a number of modifications I would like to incorporate into my next attempt after it was finished. For now, I think I will label this as a ‘prototype’ and hopefully come up with something better for the mark II version.

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Shooting Balloons – DIYing High Speed Photography

shooting_balloons.jpgIt looks like this weekend is going to be weekend at the movies for all photography lovers. So sit back, and enjoy. Now, the trick is get up once the show is over and try some of the things yourself.

After two brilliant videos from Jim Talkington dealing with studio lighting on a budget, comes something completely different.

Photographer and DIYer Guy Montag came up with a nice and easy I-have-no-idea-about-electronics way to make high speed photography shots.

More chat and the video tutorial after the jump.

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Sticks, Stones, Concrete and Killer Lighting

As a child, I’m sure you’ve heard the following phrase: “Stick and stones will break my bones but names will never heart me“?

Jim Talkington over at ProPhotoLife has got another take on this childhood proverb. Something like “Sticks and stones will create killer lighting, but money is not needed“.

Jim was kind enough to get this photo studio video composed where he shows us how to take the sticks and stones (or rather sticks and concrete) to the extreme, building a studio from cheap continuous lighting, some framed diffusion papers and lots of sticks.

RSS readers – grab this video here.

The other half of this vid comes right after the jump – yep it is a double feature.

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Worry Free Digital White Balance – The 0.05 Cent Expodisc

5c_digital_white_balance.jpgOne of the great advantages of working with RAW files is the ability to control the white balance in post production. For example, if you have mistakenly forgot to move your white balance settings from shade to tungsten when you switched location, you can spend two minutes in Lightroom, Photoshop or Adobe Bridge and make the red blue again.

But, but… What if you could make sure that your white balance setting is perfect every time? You can then save on precious post processing time and deliver your images straight from the camera.

ExpoImaging has a nice little product that will help you hit the correct white balance mark on every location. The ExpoDisk is a little device you can use to get a precise white balance reading from any situation. Here is how the general idea, demonstrated on the ExpoDisk (DIY version, right after…):

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Who Needs a Lomo Colorsplash if You Have a Film Container

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I guess that by now everybody is familiar with the film can bare-bulb flash trick. If not, head over to photojojo and see hoe easily you can make one from an old film container.

I guess the Lomo Colorsplash is a little less known. If you’ve never heard of this one, head over to the Lomography realm and have a look.

lomo_color_splash_01.jpg deth2all from DIYP Instractables group came up with an ingenious way to combine the two. By using the famous Lee filters (They will ship them free to your door), deth2all was able to add the color transformation “feature” to the bare bulb film container flash. See the full tutorial here.

There are two nice things with this trick: The first is that you are not limited to the handful of colors the original Lomo had built in. The other niceness (can I say that ????) is that you do not need to buy a Colorsplash Lomo (though I highly recommend getting any Lomo you can put your hands on), you can use this on top of your DSLR.

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Readers Projects – The Food Saver Omnibounce

foodsaver_omnibounce.jpgGoing along with the great show of readers projects, Simon Chung sent me a great idea for a flash diffuser.

Starting with an ordinary food bag, and adding some tinfoil and magic, Simon created an omnibounce. To learn more about the merits of bare bulb diffusers and see a different implementation of this great idea see here.

Have more ideas for wacky things to put on your flash? Hit me in the comments.

More Reader Projects:
- Strap it on Baby
- Thomas Schwenger Complete Two Seconds Lighting Kit
- Christmas Tree Ring Light
- Got a Light?

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Keep Your Stuff Together While Snooting

sacky_snoot.jpgA snoot is something you use to constrain the light coming from a flash, you can use it to tight a beam of light, or you can use it to flag light so it will not hit your lens and cause flare.

Scott Campbell came up with this 30 seconds, 2 Dollars snoot that will do just that – snoot your flash. In the process he nuked a catch all sack, but hey! It was worth it. (Kill me if I know how I missed it up till now)

Check out some of the older posts of Scott, he is deep into the realm of DIY.

Some More DIY:
- The Cheapest Ring Light Ever
- The Ghetto Studio
- Painting With Light
- The Best 6 Ways To Create Your Own Bokeh [Read more…]

DIY Lens Support Bracket


The following article is a guest post by Dwight Duckstein.

I purchased a used Nikkor 70-200mm, 2.8f lens – the old style that didn’t have a tripod ring. Not wanting to spend even more money on an aftermarket ring that would interfere with the A ring, I decided to make my own. Granted, the materials cost me some change, but it is designed the way I want it, and it works. Your dimensions may vary, depending on which lens and which camera you mount it to, so I am not providing much dimension detail here.

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DIY: Photography Light Stand Sandbags

If you are mounting your lights indoors you are safe, but what if you are outside in the blowing wind?

This is not the first time that two shooting hobbies meet. Last time I talked about weapons photography cases and rifle camera straps. This time Christian Hedegaard has a great idea to prevent your light stand from blowing in the wind. The materials? Right, from the gunshop. Here is Christian’s story:

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Studio DIY: Disposable Camera Ring Flash

altoids_ring_light Not too long ago, I have posted an article about making a strobe from a disposable camera. I was soon after that I called out to the great community of DIY photographers to make a disposable ringlight from such disposable camera strobes. And why not – they are cheap, available and do not require too much power.

In my mind there were three main challenges in making this project work: 1. Chaining the camera flash units; 2. Triggering the ringflash remotely; and 3. Powering the individual flash units.

Dave Ajax (Divet) from the DIYP Instructables group has risen to the challenge. Dave was also kind enough to allow me to post the full tutorial on this site, keeping the great tradition on DIYP Instructable projects like the Time Lapse Photography project, the Ingenious Camera Stabilizer and the Muslin Backdrop project.

Intro – Disposable Camera Ring Flash

Build a disposable camera ring flash. Disposable cameras are discarded after the film has been removed. Photo labs often have boxes of them under the counter, waiting to be recycled. If you ask nicely, you can often get more than enough to experiment with. Try to get at least six for this project, all of the same type.

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