For those who don’t know, the DIY Photography equipment niche has gone from strength to strength recently, as more people become interested in photography, but can’t afford all the tasty equipment that comes with it.
As a lover of putting together flatpack furniture (yeah, that’s right), I love DIY photography. They don’t always work out to be the best quality gear, but that’s to be expected when you consider the cost, and they can give you a really good sense of whether you want to invest the branded gear too.
This post was inspired by an article I recently saw on David Hobby’s website, The Strobist, where he reviews a product called Bounce-Wall. It looks like a great product, and something that I will keep my eye on, but the very next day after hearing about it, I see the DIY guide is already available. And what’s more, the guide was produced by the very company who produce the Bounce-Wall. Pretty cool.
The concept is that you can hold a screen above your camera, and bounce your flash off of it. This gives you a really soft light, because it’s indirect, and a much better alternative to using an off camera flash without a modifier. It’s also easier to carry and shoot with. But, you can reproduce this product for a mere 99c. Pretty cool, huh? The guide is in German, but the photos are good enough for you to work it out for yourself.
DIY Bounce-Wall – $1
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You can buy expensive filter holders, with custom made bokeh shapers, but that’s not entirely nessasary anymore, thanks to this useful tutorial on creating your own custom bokeh. When done correctly, you can create a gorgeous professional image that really pops off the page (or screen). This post shows you how to customize the shape and style of your bokeh with your very own makeshift bokeh filter.
DIY Bokeh – $1
If you want to take some clean product photos, with a white background, then this is a really useful tutorial. Ordinarily, you’ve have to invest some professional grade gear, but that’s not what this article is all about. Darren Rowse over at Digital Photography School has put together a guide with some information provided by a forum member, on how you can make one yourself using some very basic materials.
DIY Light Tent – $5
The best way to stabilize your camera is to use a tripod, but who wants to always carry one of those with them? Not me. And to be honest, most of the time, I don’t want to carry a monopod either, especially when it’s the winter, and the metal is cold against your skin. In comes the $1 camera image stabilizer, which is just a bolt, a piece of string, and a washer. Remarkable stuff.
String Camera Image Stabilizer – $1
Pop up flashes produce notoriously bad lighting, which is why most photographers never use them. But it doesn’t have to be like that anymore, because there’s a few ways you can modify the light, and this is one of them. Rather than having the flash face the subject, you place some reflective card in between, at a 90 degree angle, and bounce the light above and behind you. This make for much more natural lighting.
DIY Pop-Up Flash Bounce – 25c
The beauty dish is probably my favorite lighting modifier, because I love how the light falls off the subject, in a really soft way. I recommend them to everyone, but they’re not always the cheapest thing to buy. That’s where Todd Owyoung comes in from IShootShows, as he’s written a hugely detailed guide to building your own. Check it out.
DIY Beauty Dish – $20
As people film more and more with DSLR’s, it’s important to keep this footage steady, and that’s where the steadycam comes in. This will counter balance any movement from your hands, and keep your photos and videos steady. Problem is though that it’s quite expensive, so here’s a much cheaper way to do it.
DIY DSLR Steadicam
I’ve seen a number of DIY soft-boxes. Most are made from cardboard, wire and fabric or other random items. None of these look very good or are very strong. Andrew (the writer of this guide) wanted something that would hold up to some abuse and that didn’t look like it was assembled from old boxes. It’s a really great guide, check it out.
Right flashes produce some really good lighting, but boy can they be expensive. Not if you do it the DIY way though, and opt to use some materials from your home, and a little bit of your time. This is a really detailed tutorial, although it does require you to use your flash off camera. That’s not hard though.
DIY Ring Flash
This article will explain how to design and assemble bluescreens, greenscreens and backdrops for photos and video, as well as how to easily and inexpensively build a portable frame to support these backdrops out of PVC pipe or metal conduit. It’s a really thorough article, with good details on pricing too.
DIY Backdrop Stand
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