The cheapest and easiest DIY cinematic lighting setup to make at home

Jan 19, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

The cheapest and easiest DIY cinematic lighting setup to make at home

Jan 19, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Do you prefer natural light over studio light? Peter McKinnon does, and in his latest tutorial, he shows a simple way to make your own “natural light” when you don’t have enough of the real one. And not only is it simple, but you can make this setup for about $80, maybe even less. If you shoot and/or live in a place with little natural light, this setup is a lifesaver.

YouTube video

Just like Peter, I am also a fan of natural light. Photography is more of a passion than a profession for me, so I don’t own a studio. I’ve always used mainly natural light to create my photos, and it worked pretty well:

I take a lot of stock photos of various objects, as well as self-portraits, which means I take plenty of photos at home. But I recently moved to the darkest apartment in the world, so I have very little natural light. It has been making me frustrated for a few months now and making me take fewer photos at home. If you are in a similar situation, you’ll find this tutorial very helpful. Also, I think this setup is a nice upgrade to this one we covered earlier.

You will need

Clamps

Blue Filter Gels (1 or 2, depending whether you’re using a desk lamp)

Cheap LED panel

Gaffer Tape (masking tape also works)

Cheap light stand

Foam Core x 3

Desk lamp (optional)

The setup

Peter uses a GorillaPod to fasten the working light to the light stand. But in case you don’t own one, you can mount the light to the light stand. Since the light has its own flat base, you can even go without the light stand. You can put the light on a desk, on a stack of books, a chair etc. The ironing board also works well.Tape the blue gel to the light panel to neutralize the yellowish hue, because cheap LED panels tend to produce it.

Now that you’ve sorted out the light, bring two pieces of foam core together with clamps. You can lean them against pretty much anything in the room. Peter leans them against monopod as they stand on a desk. Point the LED light towards the foam core to bounce it off – and voila! You can see how it looks in the title image, but don’t forget to add the gel, too.

Now, this only gives you diffused from one side. Peter likes it, but you can add a desk lamp if you want to fill in the negative space on the other side. I suppose you already have a desk lamp somewhere around, so just use that one, plus another piece of foam core and blue gel. Add the second blue gel to the lamp in order to neutralize the yellow hue. Point the lamp towards the foam core to diffuse the light, just like you did with the LED panel.

This setup on the other side will even out the light and help you fill in the shadows. Here are the examples before and after turning the desk lamp on.

Personally, I find this tutorial quite handy, and I even have most of these things around the flat. I’m definitely going to try it out and spend lazy winter days in the best possible way – taking photos at my warm, cozy home. How do you like it? Did you try out something similar? Share your thoughts, suggestions and examples in the comments.

[DIY LIGHTING SETUP on a Budget! | Peter McKinnon]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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2 responses to “The cheapest and easiest DIY cinematic lighting setup to make at home”

  1. tinne_aerts Avatar
    tinne_aerts

    How do you clamp the foam board to the lighting stand?

    1. Dunja0712 Avatar
      Dunja0712

      The lighting stand is for the LED panel. He brought 2 pieces of foam boards together with clams, and then he leaned them on a monopod. But I suppose you can put them on a chair or lean them against anything.