7 DIY gobos using items from around your home

Dec 8, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

7 DIY gobos using items from around your home

Dec 8, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Gobos can be wonderful things. They’re essentially stencils or templates that go between the light and your subject. They’re designed to help shape the light and project patterns. But you don’t have to cut them out of card yourself. You can use pretty much anything to cast a shadow on your subject or the backdrop. In this video from photographer Bill Lawson, we see 7 household items that we can turn into DIY gobos.

YouTube video

Like I said, pretty much anything. Joe Edelman also posted a video on this topic, not long ago, where he even used dog toys as gobos to project interesting shadows on his studio background. But for this video, let’s check out the list.

  • Lace
  • Dish drying rack
  • Kitty litter scoop
  • Colander
  • Straw hat
  • A chair (yes, really!)
  • Fake flowers

While the results are going to vary quite a bit from shot to shot, Bill’s did turn out pretty well. The dish drying rack and the chair looked particularly interesting.

One variable to play with for each item you choose is the distance between the light, the gobo and your subject. Moving it closer to your subject will have a more hard edged pattern. Keeping it closer to the light will diffuse the pattern a little more, and scale it up a bit.

There are so many objects around our homes that we can use to cast interesting shadows on our subjects. I’ve even used an assistant’s arm to block the light from hitting a particular part of a subject before. But, if you want something a bit more configurable and consistent, check out the Light Blaster and the Pro Gobos pack.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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3 responses to “7 DIY gobos using items from around your home”

  1. Stefan Kohler Avatar
    Stefan Kohler

    Lightblaster -> printed slide -> grass in Prypjat

  2. Tj Ó Seamállaigh Avatar
    Tj Ó Seamállaigh

    well that’s nice.

  3. Daniel R. Chang Acat Avatar
    Daniel R. Chang Acat

    Sandra Gutiérrez