DIY – Studio Equipment: Greenscreens and Backdrop Stands

diy studio backdrop / greenscreenThis article will explain how to design and assemble bluescreens, greenscreens and backdrops for photos and video, as well as how to easily and inexpensively build a portable frame to support these backdrops out of PVC pipe or metal conduit. The ideas are similar to the ones that proposed by Brian Zimmerman, with a nice fresh view and clear explanations. (NOTE: Please be sure to read some of the extra notes at the bottom of this guide for optimal performance).

For amateur or hobbyist photographers and video producers, coming up with the money for a nice, $200 (and up!) backdrop and the expensive stands and hangers required to help support it isn’t very easy. Rather, they need a way to make a nice-looking background that is both good looking and easy to transport. [Read more...]

DIY – The Cheap Yet Shamefull Underwater Camera Housing

under water camera housingIt is reported that Navy SEALS commonly use two condoms to seal firing assemblies for their underwater explosives, having thus coined the term: “Dual Waterproof Firing Assemblies”. This article is a tribute to their ingenuity, and it expands on the concept of the waterproof condom, in order to make a waterproof housing for my digital camera (and other consumer electronics).

(OK, OK, the original title was “Dual Waterproof Consumer Electronics – the condom housing”) [Read more...]

DIY – Release Cable for Canon DSLRs

canon DIY release cableThis is a very simple diagram and instructions for building a shutter release cable for a canon DSLR.

Cable release is that thingamajig you use when you want to activate your camera, but you do not want to touch it. Why would you want t do this? I can think of two reasons: 1 – you do not want to move the camera by pressing the shutter release button. And 2 – you need to stand away from the camera. Compared with Cannon’s RS60 E3 this is a real nice deal. [Read more...]

Take Infrared (IR) Pictures With Your Digital Camera

infra red filter for digital cameraIn this article, I will show you how to make a cheap infrared (IR) filter for your digital camera out of bits and pieces such as cardboard rolls, electrical tape, and some black processed photographic film (old negatives). This is just getting a brand new Hoya R72 IR filter for free.

The idea for this project came while researching IR light. When I discovered unexposed processed film made an effective IR filter, I literally had to put my house upside down to fish out some old negatives. Sadly, I also destroyed the zoom motor on my trusty Canon A60 by making a case that was too tight. You will see I have included several warnings here to prevent you from making the same mistake! I am now the proud (and poorer) owner of a brilliant Canon A710… [Read more...]

Taking pictures of paintings

Brian Edmonds writes:

I am trying to take pictures of paintings in my studio. I am having trouble with hot spots and dead spots. I have tried angling the lights but I get a little of both. I am using a canon digital camera that allows for changing settings but only has the snapshot flash. I would also like to take these digital pictures and turn them into slides. I know there are companies that do this do you have any suggestions?

I have read your blog entries but do not know which suggestion applies to me. I am an amateur photographer but I can usually manipulate things enough to get by. My studio has natural light fluorescent bulbs. Should I try to use these lights in combo with the angled lights or should I try to use only the angled lights?
Thank you in advance.

Truly frustrated,

Brian Edmonds

Hi Brian,

Taking pictures of paintings is a tricky subject. While it looks simple when thinking of it, going into the practical setup can be rather tricky.

There are a few setups you can use to take picture of painting. I think that the easiest way is to take your pictures out side to a shady location and take the shots.

If you insist on taking the shots in a studio (and I can see a few reasons for insisting so) here are my recommendations.

  1. Use a tripod. Even if you are using a flash, and can go to high shooting speeds, using a tripod will help you verify that your camera is completely parallel to the painting.
  2. You can use the setup up suggested in the diagram below. It has two strobes with umbrellas. If you don’t have two strobes you can use continuous lighting, just make sure you use the correct white balance – use a gray card.
    I have left angle "A" as a "variable" as it depends on the size of your painting. For small painting I’d go with "traditional" 45 degrees. For larger paintings I’d use a wider angle. When playing around with angles make sure that the strobes are not angled too wide. This will cause the light to skim your painting, reducing brightness and creating uneven lighting (brighter on the edges). Also make sure that both strobes are set t the same output levels and positioned in the same distance from the painting.
Taking pictures of paintings diagram

Best of Luck,



Make money by selling your images

DIY – Continuous Ink Systems

continuous ink systemsSome how, back in February of 2006, I found out about Continuous Ink Systems (CIS) and begin my search. I came across a man selling what I deemed to be a good system to try on E-Bay, and through a few emails, discovered he lived just up the street from me. I bought my first CIS from him within a week.

A CIS supplies “phony” cartridges with ink continuously from large reservoirs out side the printer with silicon tubing. The average home printer cartridge holds only 8-15ml of ink, and the CIS I bought comes pre loaded with 100ml of ink in each color container. That’s a lot of cartridges worth of ink! [Read more...]

DIY – Cheap Mini Monopod

cheap DIY mini monopodLooks like 1/4″ bolts are very useful. They have been attached to bottle caps and to wires to create several type of DIY tripods. here is another great project for an owner of 1/4″ bolts. Here is another idea by Christian Kahle:

Based on what the Pop bottle cap camera holder, I built the MiniMonoPod (MMP).

I found that it is just amazing useful when handling smaller cameras. As my Cannon XTi has little or no grip space on the left hand it made it hard to hold on to it securely, especially with cold fingers. Now with the MMP fingers are together so they stay warmer. It’s easier to hold on to the camera with a larger lens with the left hand. And right handed people can use their right hand to do stuff and still maintain a strong grip on the camera with the left hand. [Read more...]

DIY: The Super-Small Bottle-Cap Tripod

DIY bottle cap tripodWhen you are going on a field trip, you want your tripod to be small. Small and light. It would be best if it can fit in your pocket. When Ron Uriel saw the post about the wrap-able tripod, he had an idea. Why not use the 1/4″ bolts in other ways. He told me about an idea to make a small tripod from a coke bottle.

This sounded like an interesting idea so I got to work. First I got several coke bottles (you can learn allot about a person by the bottle caps he uses. In my case, the gray-silver cap suggests I drink the diet version of the bubbly beverage). I also needed a 1/4″ hex bolt, a 1/4″ hex nut, and two of those round thingies called washers. For the finishing touch I used some sand paper. (If you are not into coke or diet coke you can use the beverage to perform the Mentose and Diet Coke experiment – just make sure you retrieve the bottle) [Read more...]