Studio DIY: Gel Holder for Flash

Flash Gel Holder Craig Colvin (Flickr) came up with a great design for a gel holder on a flash. The design includes an L shaped plexiglass.

Now, if you ever followed the strobist way of mounting gels on your flash, you know the great value those little pieces of colored tape can provide.

You probably also know that it can very annoying to apply the gel strips on the flash or to remove them. Not to mention stacking them together – this becomes a Velcro hell.

The nice design by Craig solves this problem by providing a Velcro free gel chassis. Sometimes you need nothing more than some bended plexiglass. See Craig’s full design and instructions here.

If you can not bend plexiglass yourself you may want to consider using an Acrylic stand. I could only find big ones but I know that there is a smaller version from my local coffee bar.

This got me thinking on alternatives to gel holders and the thing that popped to mind was name tag pockets. Those are pretty cheap and once you place on over your flash, you can freely insert and remove colorful gels.

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More Gels:
Homemade Gridspot
Painting With Light
The Optimizer
The DIY Speed Strap – Accessories And Samples [Read more…]

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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25 Ways to Jump Start Photography Inspiration

So, you finally have the time to shoot but lacking inspiration? Need a fresh flow of new Ideas? Here are 25 ways to get your photography creativity going.

1. Go to the Movies

imdb_logo2.gifMovies are great inspiration. Before you go, prepare yourself mentally. You can
find inspiration in the story of the movie, in the photography, in the
morals, in one of the characters and in the dialogs.

2. Check Out Flickr’s Explore

flickr_logo_gamma_gif_v1_5_14.gifOne of flickr’s most interesting features is the explore page. In this page you’ll see some of the images that flickr ranks as “interesting“. 99 out of 100 times those are great photos. Take a look at these photos to get inspiration. Do not try to copy them but ask, “What do I like about it?”; “How can I make it better” or “What twist can I add on top of this picture?” (Of course, a nice bonus is to get your image in Flick’s explore)

3. Try to Learn a New Lighting Technique

strobist_200x75blk.jpgSometimes you can get inspiration not by focusing on the what (the subject), but by focusing on the how. even if you shoot a boring neutral subject in an interesting way, you can get a great picture. The Strobist is a great place to learn about lighting, and you can get some lighting ideas here as well.

4. Join a Photowalk

Almost every town has a club that you can join and go out for a have-fun-together session. Your benefit is threefold: 1. You will be forced to get out of that couch. 2. You’ll interact with other photographers. 3. You’ll get some shooting ideas. Rich is having a group in Utah, flickr is running a bunch, and there is a photo walking site – really, they are all around – you just have to get another photog and go out the door to have one. (This is how I started, long, long ago).

5. Look at Popular Photoblogs and Get Inspired

Getting ideas from other photographers can be very inspirational. When you look at a fellow photographer blog or gallery you expose yourself to new ideas, photography styles and techniques. You can later employ those ideas on your photography. If you see anything you like, ask: how I would have taken this image, or how can I use this technique to make a say of my own. This is my list of sites. Chase has one great list as well and Brian held a good list too. Now go surfin’.

6. Go Through Your CD Covers

One of the ways to get your inspiration going is to tap to other great creators and their creations. By browsing your CDs (does anybody still has CDs? or have everyone gone to iPods??!!!) you get a double kick. You get to watch the work of great photographers who shot the covers. You also get to find some great lost music that can get you inspired. Shooting a new cover to an “old” CD is a great project. (And you can always alphabetize the collection as you promised to yourself on new years eve)

7. Listen to Your Favorite Music

While you are going through the covers, find one artist that really inspires you and put it in the player. Try to think what image can describe best one of the songs; The first verse; A single line; the mood of the entire CD.

8. Take on a Photo-a-Day Project

Sometimes what you need to get your inspiration going is a little push. A great push is a photo-a-day project. In such project you commit to take one picture each day. Such projects has various themes and lengths. Some of the projects are portrait oriented (or self portrait); some are generic; some have a general theme. Some are a month long, some are a year long and some are a picture a week. No matter which one you choose, the need to create something new on a deadline can give your creativity that little push it needs.

9. Read an (Art) Magazine

int_nav_wir06.gifActually you can read n Art / Fashion / Fun magazine. Magazines like wired can trigger new ideas just cuz they are so packed and full of inspirational stuff. Fashion magazines like Elle or Vogue often has lots of great photos that one can try and analyze both for technique and composition. (Heck, even the advertisements are shot in a great way).

10. Shoot a Sporting Event

Sporting events are everywhere. At your local school, College or down
at the park where your little (or big) brother is playing football. It is a great opportunity to take action shots as well as portraits. It is also a great opportunity to practice action shooting if you ever want to make a career at sports shooting.

11. Look 360

When you walk, you are always looking forward, right? As a photographer
you should get used to looking sideways, up and down. You’ll be amazed
at the amount of photo opportunities you can find on ceilings, second
floors, looking down the escalator. Reflections in puddles, car windows, shopping windows. Shadows on the floor, walls. You get the point.

12. Shoot for a Holiday Theme

You got a holiday coming? Great! Shoot something in the holiday spirit. An item related to the holiday: snow-slide; Cross; Menora; Shoot a scene from the Bible, New testimony; Koran – give it a twist.

13. Reproduce Art by the Old Masters

photography_inspiration_the_lovers.jpgAs David says, all the old masters are not called masters for nothing. They had it when it came to lighting, composition and posing. Trying to make an image like the old masters did it, is not an easy task. You can learn allot by trying to produce a very similar image. You can also learn
allot from trying to homage art made by one of the great ones. The image on the left is a great example of such reproduction of Rene Magritte – The Lovers by Mister Rad.

[Read more…]

Get Creative with Selective Focus!

creative_with_selective_focus_03_s.jpgLong while ago I published the Create Your Own Bokeh article which was one of the most fun articles this site has seen. I then followed up with some of the uses of this technique and DIYP Flickr pool had a fine hour with great and creative images that used this trick.

One of the questions that keeps popping us is “can you give some more details instructions on the process of making this this filter?”

Well, your prayers have been answered. Shannon Beauford created a complete guide on behind the scene of Creating Your Own Bokeh.

[Read more…]

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.

diy-lens-support-bracket_03.jpg

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My Mother in Law and the Family of Angles (an Intro)

shooting_painting_foa.jpgSome time ago I wrote about taking art images for my mother in law. Since I don’t have my dream lens yet, I had to compromise on the lens and use the great (but not ideal for this task) Nikon 18-70 lens. (The image to the lest if one of the original paintings)

I got a few mails and comments about the issue of getting closer to the pictures to make the picture fill a wider part of the frame.

Sample Comment (by ‘Anon‘):

Kind of a newb, but why would you have used a zoom lens? And at what
distance/mm? I would think 50-70mm would be ideal, or would getting any
closer affect the “family of angles” thing?

As Norm replied, the main issue of getting further from the image was the Family of Angles constraint. Let me explain:

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Shooting Paintings for My Mother in Law


I love my mother in law
. I know this is not a popular statement, but it may explain the following tutorial and experience I am about to share with you.

Rss readers, grab the video here.

My mother in law is an artist. She paints pictures, and lovely ones, if you’ll listen to my un-bribed opinion. Last week she asked me to make a video clip from some of her shots so she can share her art. The video is also to be used as a pilot for distributing her catalog in video form.

In the following article I will describe the process of making the promotional DVD, including the setup and lighting, the post processing and the creation of the slideshow. (And of course the “thank you” note I got from my mother in law – priceless).

[Read more…]

When Color Temperature Does Not Need To Be Precise – Beaker!

colored_tumblers.jpgBoth the Strobist and Rui talk about the virtues of using gels on strobes to create atmosphere in a shot. Either cold blue or hot read. Uber photographer David Tejada uses gels on a regular basis to spice up his shots.

Reader Tony Bell has an interesting idea on color correction gels. Even though they are cheap and available, you can still beat the price, if you are going for Lomo style and Lomo level color accuracy.

[Read more…]

Great Ways To Include Shadows In Your Pictures – Discussion

shadows_friends.jpgResults from the Shadows Assignment, in which you were asked to include shadows in your photographs.

We had 9 flickr submissions (two by Carlos – waytogo!) as well as 10 comments submissions – coming to a total of 19 submissions.

All images submitted were great and I had a hard time choosing the top four. I got those four as they each reflect a different technique of using shadows.

[Read more…]