In this article Aron Brand will demonstrate how, using homemade and accessible materials, you can improve the light quality of a simple slave flash, and get a natural and soft light. This sort of light is good for jewelry photography, shooting items for eBay and portraits. Note the picture at the end of this article, not only showing softer shadows, but also pops the look of the metal, giving it more polished, expensive look. Similar methods to obtain the same effect can be a light tent, of a flash mounted softbox. Good luck.[Read More…]
All the articles in this section were contributed by Brian L. Zimmerman. Brian has done a great deal of home studio constructions and was very kind to share his knowladge. Brian has built a homemade flash diffuser, a homemade flash bouncer, homemade backgroung stands, and other soft light panels. (I bring the information here in first person form, as a direct quote from Brian).
you can see more of his work at BLZphotos.com.
The articles in this section present various designs for home-made soft lighting panels and stands that can be useful in portraiture, still life or product photography. Click on articels in the section to see Brian's design for use with a slave flash (or hotlight) mounted behind the 3×4' panel on a single pole stand (what I currently use with slave flash). See the Hotlight Design folder for another lighting stand designed for use with "hotlight" illumination using the same 3×4' panel with an inexpensive quartz-halogen worklight. Soft flash folder shows a simple way to soften flash output on a typical flash unit, plus a tip for selecting nylon fabric. Other articles show designs for a flash bouncer, backdrop stand, reflector stand, and carrying case for the stands.
I cannot guarantee that any of these designs will give you the exact results you want, but they can give some good results with minimal investment of money (my goal), if you have the time to experiment and are somewhat of a handyman with some basic tools. I bought all the supplies I needed except the nylon fabric at a local hardware store (Lowes, like Home Depot). Ripstop Nylon is Item number 263-7783 at Jo-Ann Fabrics, 60" width @ 5.99/yard. Or maybe from looking at what I have done, you might come up with a better design to fit your own needs. I'd enjoy hearing about your own endeavors to use a home-made lighting setup.
Dean Collin's Tinker Tubes: http://www.software-cinema.com/tinkertubes/tt-book.pdf
Todd Asher's Backdrop Stand: http://home.mn.rr.com/rayzorfist/temp/
Todd's Instructions: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1025&message=4158683
Home studio by Brian L. Zimmerman
© 2002-2005 Brian L. Zimmerman, BLZphotos.com
If you are a photographer and using flash (either for studio pictures or for outdoor shooting), you are probably aware of the problems that a hot-shoe flash introduces: the shadows of an object are crisp-sharp, creating an artificial look to the object. When dealing with studio lighting, you can use a softbox to diffuse your shadows and this is an acceptable solution, but for the amateur photographer it does have some disadvantages:
1. A softbox is very expensive. A simple softbox like this softbox from Arri, can cost several hundreds of dollars. (See our big DIY softbox version)
2. A softbox is big, and can not be carried around.
The amateur photographer can compromise and us a flash mounted softbox like this softbox from Lumiquest, or a stoffen box. The problem with this one (although a minor one compared to the “big” Softboxes), is the cost, nearing 30 dollars. Well, I guess that for some 30 bucks is no big deal (and especially no big deal for photography equipment), but I am going to try and do even better.
In the following tutorial, I will demonstrate how to make your own flash mounted, homemade softbox (view results).
You will need two good hands, and some patience, but your reward will be a nice softbox for the cost of only 3-4 dollars. (Not to mention that wonderful feeling of cutting and gluing, like you are small kids again).