Can DIY Modifiers Compete Against Pro Grade Modifiers?

Last week I wrote about why you would want to do a DIY photography project, but can it match up to pro gear? Challenge… Accepted!

This week I did a whole photoshoot using only DIY modifiers for main lights. With the help of my girlfriend and her friends to model for me, the challenge was on.

diy-vs-pro

The idea behind challenge was to prove that making your own modifiers and equipment is not all that bad compared to branded expensive material. (And before the first comment starts coming in, let me say that I do own a couple of Westcott softboxes and umbrellas, and I use them when needed or when working with high end clients, I just really like my DIY’s).

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Just Fab’s Turkey Pan Beauty Dish

just_fab_beauty_dish_00Beauty Dish for the Mechanically challenged a guest post by Just Fab

I had the honor of being photographed by one of my mentors, Don Giannatti (Wizwow on flickr) the other day after attending one of his fantastic lighting seminars. He chose to use a beauty dish on me. I love the way beauty dishes look, especially the way it sculpts the edges of my roundish face. Soft concentrated light which falls off quickly. You can learn more about the merits of the beauty dish on Don’s site.

Most of my inspiration for lighting setups come from that site and DVD. Anyway, I was so excited when I saw the images I knew I had to come up with something that could recreate the look that was portable and wouldn’t break the bank. Although I am handy with PVC pipes, my ability to use power tools are in question. I was thinking of cutting out a hole in a wok or mixing bowl, but I still couldn’t figure out how to rig it to reflect the concentrated beam back into the dish, plus my lighting stand would probably never stay upright with that kind of weight.

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Studio Lighting – Flash Mounted homemade DIY Beauty Dish or From Soup Dish to Beauty Dish

flash beauty dishDo you know why they call this piece of studio equipment “Beauty Dish”? Because it make people look beautiful. The idea is similar to other diffusion ideas – the more diffusion you put in your light, the softer the image is. This idea is widely deployed in photography studios – the softbox, the beauty dishes and the reflector disc all work on close principles.

The unique thing about a Beauty Dish is the way that it diffuses light – unlike a softbox or a reflector which has an “illuminating” surface the beauty dish has a circle of light with an opaque center. Now, what all this has to do with soup. You will soon find out. [Read more...]