There is some great stuff going on at DIYPhotography.net instructables group. This fantastic group is a true demonstration of the DIY spirit that is behind this site. I have talked before on the subject of creating your own flash. In that article Avner Richard explained how to utilize xenon tubes to create some real Watts/Second power flashes. It is a great piece for the ones that are electrically capable.
Reader Peter Boden a great photographer in general and a Bike photographer in particular have a neat way to creatively light his subjects – among them a BMW K1200 RS. Without a doubt a subject that needs respectful handling. Not an easy subject to light – highly reflective curved surfaces, combined with black-matte-light-absorbing surfaces. Not an easy task. But wait, there is more. Since we are talking Heavy Bike here, just lighting will not make the cut. Once you have achieved acceptable lighting, you want to make sure you convey the right emotion.[Read More…]
Reader Michael Lim (zac08) came up with a cool snooted flood light. It combines the concept of a home made snoot with a clamp. The design is similar to a mixup of both, but uses a florescent light instead of a flash.
The bonus here that there is almost no assembly/DIY-ing required; it comes ready from the shop. As for hacking the right materials, the snoot used is a Lay’s Potato Chips pack. (Empty of course, lighting is tasty). Here is what Zac has to say;[Read More…]
Reader Bankara has followed up on the cheap ringlight article with another very affordable ringlight. Not as cheap as the one you can get from your LCD, but still way cheaper then the ones you get in stores. He has posted an instructable on how to build one of those monsters babies.
One of the cool features about this particular ring light is that it is collapsible. Yap! It folds in half. Simple math brings me to the conclusion that I’ll only have to defend its existence in my home half of the time. (The other spare half will go toward explaining the wife where her living room went).[Read More…]
Reader B.Stevens has a cool idea for the cheapest most versatile ring light ever (now we have shown some ringlights before, but not that easy to make). The image on the left is using this ringlight (best viewed large). The idea is quite simple: Take a huge apple monitor. If you can get your hands on a 24 incher, you are on the right track. Tape some patterned paper on the monitor. Bring your 1.8 or 2.8 lens and your 1600ISO low noise camera and you are good to go. HEYTHEREWAITAMINUTE you said cheap. So, let me go through this method step by step and see where you can reduce your costs.[Read More…]
Sometimes you want to make a diagram of your photo session. (OK, sometimes you don’t, but sometimes you do). I, for example, am going to use studio lighting diagrams for explaining about low key and high key studio setups. If you are like me, with two left hands in all that related to sketching, you are in a tight spot. When I draw (just like when I write), only one person in the world can understand what I wrote. Sadly, I have not met him yet.
So the solution to my situation is to use lighting diagrams “out of the box” with no handwriting involved what so ever. Ahhhhh…. sounds like heaven, right?
Great, how do you get one? Both Rui and Strobist have pointed out two great sources for creating lighting diagrams. One requires Photoshop and the other one is online. I’m going to show both.[Read More…]
After discussing contrast at a very top level view, I would like to introduce two twins, closely related to contrast – High Key and Low Key.
Both High Key images and Low Key images make an intensive use of contrast, but in a very different way. When approaching a shoot of a dramatic portrait, the decision of making it a High Key, Low Key or “just” a regular image has great impact about the mood that this picture will convey. While High Key images are considered happy and will show your subject as a tooth-paste poster; Low Key portraits are dramatic and convey a lot of atmosphere and tension. Let’s explore those two dramatic lighting alternatives.[Read More…]
Gridspot (or grid) is a studio accessory that you can attach to your flash. When the flash fires through the grid, the spread of the light rays is limited. The effect you get is very similar to the effect achieved by a snoot, but light more controlled and really hits a small surface. You often want to use a snoot or a grid for avoiding light spillage when you are setting up you back light.
Remember those old mice you use to have before computer mice became monsters with twenty five buttons, side buttons, rollers, sliders and what not.
Dave Schlier had a spare oldie (mouse that is) that he recycled into a shutter release cable. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that clicking a mouse is the most affective way to take a shot. But if that what it takes for you computer addicts to take the camera out of the bag, my task here on earth is completed.
One of the oldest lighting techniques in the book is called “Three Point Lighting”. It is vastly used in studio photography and by snobby fashion photographers. It is also a very good basis for any portrait photograph. In this technique you use three lights:
The first light is a key light. Usually this is the strongest light and this light sets the lighting of the scene.
The second light is called a fill light, this light helps fill the shadows that the main light casts.
The last light is called a backlight (because it comes from the back), and is used to create a contour and separation. It is common to use a snoot or a gridspot on the backlight to avoid a spill.
The guys at mediacollege have created a nice illustration and explanation of that basic technique. They have also created a cool flash simulator (After writing this, I’ve noticed that this is a pan, so no credits here. Kudos for the great pan) that can help understand the concept of a three point lighting. Or you can just click the various lights and enjoy seeing how the model reacts to each type of light. The flash simulator is also good way to understand key light and backlight in general.
While in general the guys (or girls, I don’t know who works there) deal with video, the lighting stuff is great for still photographers as well.