Undoubtedly, one of the most important parts of a photographic studio is the lighting equipment. But, possessing a depository of professional studio lighting setup may cost you a fortune. If your stomach churns every time you think about the expensive pro equipment, we are here to help you out. All good photographers start with the basics and try different skills and methods to achieve a certain atmosphere, no matter how expensive the equipment is.
If you’re a beginner, note that no fancy gadgets will make you a great artist. You must know the essential techniques of photography. Just think of the times when you’ve seen a great photograph that was taken with a regular camera and lighting. With a little bit of creativity and effort, and a lot of love for photography, you can do it too. Put on those handyman gloves, it’s time to create your own DIY photo studio!
Being able to light a piece properly and capture its details and true colors can be very difficult. Nonetheless, it is essential for a successful close-up photography of a detailed object. If you ever wondered how people manage to capture such clean and bright footage of their products and get those beautiful photos, you are about to find out. They take their photos in a box that provides natural light diffusion from all sides while offering a solid white background against which to place the object.
Even though a professional photography light box can be very expensive, here you will learn how to make one by yourself for a few dollars. All you need is a cardboard box, any size you want, as long as it is convenient for the objects you will capture. Also, you’ll need any type of white fabric or tissue paper, enough to cover the whole box, wide packing tape or a glue stick and white poster board, the size depends on the box dimensions. And of course,lights, an essential and probably the most affordable part. Start by taping the bottom flaps inside and outside to keep them out of the way and secure your box. Cut off the top of the box, then mark lines about 1 inch inside of each edge of the box, on three of the four sides of the box.
Cut the lines you drew carefully, using a box cutter or another precise cutting tool. Be gentle while cutting, as you don’t want to demolish the box. Cut out a piece of white fabric or put together enough tissue paper to cover one side of the box, then tape it to the outside of the box. Repeat this step for every side opening you’ve made. Next, cut the white poster board. The width being the same as your box and the length twice as long. Place the white poster board in such a way that it curves inside the box towards the top. But, do not overlap it because the edge will be visible in your photo.
For an elegant, infinite, endless background on your photos, curve it as gently as possible. You are almost done! All that it’s left is to add lighting. Place the lights wherever you like. Make a lot of test shots to achieve the lighting effect you desired and get to work!
Another very useful accessory for your studio, especially if you are dealing with a lot of portrait shots, is a lighting umbrella. Whether you’re in this for the long haul, or you’re just a beginner, the DIY lighting umbrella is the cheapest way of controlling the light reflections in your photos, resulting in awesome portfolio and studio photography, plus you’ll have no trouble when it rains.
The essential item for creating your reflective umbrella is of course an umbrella. The easiest option is to use an umbrella with a silver, reflective face. But it doesn’t matter even if you use the old, cheap umbrella you have at home. Also, you will need a reflective spray paint. Silver spray paint is perfect for cool, low-temperature photos. If you want your portraits warmer, gold paint is the real deal for you.
Also, if you aim for some unusual lighting and color effects, feel free to choose some other color of reflective spray paint. Make sure it is for fabric use. If you did not find an umbrella with a naturally reflective face, which would mean half of the job done by itself, you are going to need some newspaper to protect your floor from the spray paint. Once you have spread the newspaper all over the place, place the umbrella upside down and spray the concave underside with the reflection of your choice.
The paint job does not have to be perfectly smooth. Drip marks are ok as long as they are not noticeable in the photo. Leave it out to dry. After it’s dry, make a few test shots to see if the reflective paint is properly bouncing light. If it’s not, add another layer, and another, and another, until you reach your light purposes. When you are done painting, attach your umbrella to a c-stand.
Last but not least, attach your flash to it. Set up a light into the umbrella, or do whatever you need to get the lighting you desire. Then, start shooting! You can experiment as much as you want with those amazing DIY photography lighting options. Get started!