Even Better Softbox Part Two – The Test Results

Softbox Article Part One - The Build ProcessNick rocks again with a follow up on the Better Softbox – a comparison of softbox lining materials.

One of the questions asked in the comments when I built my first large softbox was “would a matte white finish on the interior give a more efficient output?” I had to admit, it had never crossed my mind to use anything other than aluminium foil as the lining material as I had just assumed this would be very efficient. After doing a bit of research on the internet I found a table with the following values listed for the reflective efficiency of various materials and finishes: [Read more...]

Even Better Softbox Part One – The Build Process

Softbox Article Part One - The Build ProcessAnybody who’s read this blog for a while knows that I am a big fan of Nick Wheeler. Not only he creates great imagery and photographs, but he also shares his setups, and creative process. If you did not visit his stream so far, you are in for a treat.

Last time Nick guest posted on DIYP, he showed how with a little time, two good hands and ingenuity you can create a professional grade softbox. But Nick was not happy and promised to return with a better design. And Nick is the kind of guy that keeps his word. Read on to see how Nick created an even better softbox (who would have thought this is possible) with interchanging lining and a truly genius flash holder.

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DIY Photography Lighting – The DIY Speed Strap

photography_speed_strap_2465826296.jpgI really wanted a speed strap. Ever since the restrictive light post over at Strobist, I wished for one of those magical straps. If you are not familiar with them look at David Honl’s site, it is filled with goodies.

“Why do you need one”, you ask? Because they are A – Really good at blocking light. B – Small and can get in my small bag when I go out for a shoot and C – They are just too cool that I could not effort not having one.

I even designed a new one. (Not so good, more on that in a few lines).

Then I decided that I am going to get one from Amazon. Since I (like my eight months son) can not delay satisfaction, must take photos to live, I made a new one that really works (and inspired by the Thomas Schwenger Complete Two Seconds Lighting Kit). [Read more...]

Readers Projects – DIY Spider Light by Alex Campagna

spiderlight_2435827940.jpgThe Readers Project column is one of my favorite columns in the DIYP. It is a column that brings you DIYP readers to front page and let you share your experience with the rest of DIYP community. (See the bottom of this post for more projects).

There are actually a few ways to get featured in the Readers Projects column: you can post the setup and explanation to the Flickr Image Pool or Discussion threads; you can drop me a note, or you can give me a call (ok, no one has actually done this yet, but I am open…)

Spiderlights are a great source of light. Basically a Spiderlight is a mount with five sockets with which you can do whatever lighting you want: fluorescent or PL bulbs, hot lights or bulb-strobes (Jim from ProPhotoLife has a great comparison of your options here). The only rebuke is the price: if you want to get your hand on one of those, be prepared to bye-bye a few hundreds of dollars. [Read more...]

Shooting the Team – The Optimizer

the-little-professor.jpg Hai was the next inline for the Team Portrait Project.

Hai is just the kind of guy who wonders around and fixes things up. Be it the shelf on the wall, the air conditioning tunnel or the cable modem which we work on – none will stay broken if they are near Hai. Ever saw Pulp Fiction? Remember the great role Harvey Keitel did as THE WOLF? This is what I am talking about.

Another thing you get to hear allot when you are around Hai is “This is not optimized”. Before you know it, Hai will tweak it, bend it, re-assemble it and fry it to make it “more optimized”. This is how Hai got to be THE OPTIMIZER.

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Readers Projects – The CD Spindle Ringflash

photography_ring_flash_b2541835a3.jpgDIYP reader Chaval Brasil came up with an ingenious way to create a ring flash. By routing the light from a hot shoe flash to a CD spindle, Chaval was able to surround his lens with light. Chaval joins a long tradition of readers projects that we had here on DIYP (see The Food Saver Omnibounce, Thomas Schwenger Complete Two Seconds Lighting Kit, and The Christmas Tree Ring Light for more readers projects).

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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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