Lighting Ori’s One Year Old Birthday

Ori's Birthday Lighting SetupMy son, Ori turned one today. Man, time flies. Just yesterday he was kicking back in his crib. Meditating on how the color in his room slowly fades.

Two and a half days later. BOOM, He is one. Walking (as in from three days ago), dadaing, and has a strong opinion and stand towards anything in this world – starting from the location of the kitchen chairs (always on the move) through the best place for a ball of cereal (the floor), ending with his own spot in the world (in my hands).

So yesterday we had a small family gathering to celebrate. Of course daddy was on the camera to document the event.
[Read more…]

A DIY Optimus Maximus keyboard For GIMP, Photoshop or Lightroom

DIY Keyboard For Image Editing Software If you have not heard about the Optimus Maximus keyboard, let me fill you in.

The idea is simple: Use OLED technology to place a tiny monitor on each key; Make each such small monitor completely configurable, and updatable in runtime; have each button display any image depending on what you are currently doing with your computer.

The easiest example to grasp is that pressing the shift key will turn all “engravings” on the keyboard to CAPS. But a more interesting application would be a keyboard that displays the icons from your favorite image editing software. No more having to memorize what Ctrl + Shift + Alt + S does (it save for the web). Each key will display an image of its action. Isn’t it nice?

Well, you are about top learn how to make an Optimus Maximus keyboard yourself.

Uwe  Mayer (flickr, site) and Markus Dollinger (if you read German) show us how to make a keyboard that well, kinda does the same. Actually, this DIY keyboard is more like the awesome keyboard you get from RPG keys, but you can make one on your own and it will only cost about 30-40$. (See demos here). I just could not pass on the Optimus introduction.

You can use this keyboard to expedite your Lightroom workflow, your Gimp experience or your Photoshop speed-keying.

[Read more…]

Making a Softbox Just Got Easier

studio_photography_best_softbox_ever.jpgIf you’ve been reading DIYP for a while now, you know that I am a fool for home made softboxes.

DIYP has featured all kind of softboxes, ranging from small light weight camera strobe to big studio photography strobes. Some are minutes to build and some are hours. Here is a list of some of the better softboxes we’ve had here on DIYP:

The Best Softbox Ever (Image is from this project by Nick Wheeler)
Two Great Weekend Projects – Striplight and Softbox
Even Better Softbox Part One – The Build Process
Even Better Softbox Part Two – The Test Results
a home grown softbox
Flash Mounted homemade DIY Softbox

One of the trickier parts of growing a softbox at home is the planning. The delicate work done by professionals to calculate the lengths of segments. The gentle work of trigonometry to calculate the angels. Light-less nights spent in dark basements with calipers.

(Actually it is the drawing of the the
individual pieces before you glue them together that is the real hard task)

[Read more…]

The Easy Tripod to Reflector Holder Conversion

reflector holderThis is another fun project from the factory of reader Jerry Hamby.

It is a reflector holder from a $9.99 tripod, a 3ft long piece of PVC pipe, an elbow to fit, and a small clamp. (The Tripod is 9.99$ on July 26th on Amazon, but I bet similar tripods are always on sale somewhere). Like the previous project from Jerry, the Green Bean Hair Light, it’s a short and fun project, and you don’t have to make it in whole, if you like the idea, you can expand it to things other the tripods…

[Read more…]

The Green Bean Hair Light

hair lightReader Jerry Hamby just sent in this great hair light project. It is made from a cheapo 45 ws ebay flash and – believe it or not – a green-bean super value can (the kind you don’t want to eat too much of at one time). Just before sharing his tutorial with you, allow me to extend two small tips:

1. Empty the bean can before using it.

2. Do not empty it alone. 

Now, to the tutorial. [Read more…]

Reflector Card Cheat Sheet

Reflector Card Cheat SheetMy previous cheat sheet dealt with the impact of light position on portraiture. The idea was that you can print this cheat sheet and carry it around for fast consultation and getting fast results.

My next investigation involved a single flash again (this time shot through a shoot though umbrella) and different uses and positions for a 5 in one reflector.

Again I suggest printing the card so you have a quick look when ever you are not sure of what a certain reflector effect may be.

[Read more…]

Two Great Weekend Projects – Striplight and Softbox

photography softbox and striplightDo you know those weekends when it is just to hot to get out of the home? Well just for those weekends we have a great weekend project. Actually we have two weekend projects.

The first project is a Foamcore softbox. We’ve had those before, even for small flashes. But this one comes complete with build and assembly instructions by Paul Both. To top sugar with cream (or light with diffusion) Paul also made a nice strip light – again complete with plans and chocolate syrup. (The designs were made for the 580EX2 and 430EX Canon flashes, but will fit any flash with minor adjustments).

Paul said the role of inspiring muse for this creation was Nick Wheeler who made the best softbox ever, just a little while ago.

Download the plans for the softbox here and for the striplight here. Read on for assembly instructions (flickr set here).

[Read more…]

Portrait Lighting Cheat Sheet Card

Portrait Lighting Cheat Sheet Setting up lighting for a portrait can be quite a complex task. If you, like me, are using small strobes which have mo modeling light it is hard to predict what will be the outcome of each lighting array.

There are however some basic lighting schemes, kind of a starting ground for new portraits. Of course, once you lay out the initial lighting you can change it, move it around and use modifiers to soften or restrict the light.

Wouldn’t it be nice, though if you have a magic card that will show you what will be the final lighting of almost every lighting scheme? I think it can be pretty darn cool.

[Read more…]

Spiderlite in Action

spiderlight_2435827940.jpgA while back I posted a great lighting project by Alex Campagna called the DIY Spiderlight.

The project successfully aimed at building the Wescott TD5 Lighting fixture (AKA Spiderlite).

Alex even threw in a DIY softbox to complete the design.

If you’ve wondered what’s so good about them spiderlites, Scott Kelby from Photoshop insider shares a great video that has all the good reasons to buy on (or better yet, to build one). See the video on the full article.

[Read more…]