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5 DIY Lighting Techniques for Beginner Shooters

Taking the perfect picture requires great lighting, but equipment can be expensive. Fortunately, beginner photographers already have the solution in their own homes. And since a bigger emphasis is being placed on high-quality photos in online content, says an infographic by MDG Advertisting, it’s more important than ever for photographers to create stunning, stand out images. While these tips are aimed at photographers, videographers can benefit from most of them as well.

PVC Photo Light Box


A light box is a photographer’s best friend. Create your own with a few PVC pipes, a white sheet, white fabric and white poster board, explains DIY Photography. First, cut eight sections of half-inch size white PVC pipe, each 22 inches long. Use 3-way fittings to connect the pipes and create a cube. Then, sew a 75-inch by 26-inch piece of fabric to a 26-and-one-half inch fabric square to cover the left, back, right and top sides. Create a smooth background by placing a white poster board in the back of the light box.

Multi-Super-SB-Ring Light

If you need some serious flash, gather six speedlight flashes, a coffee can and some masking tape. All you need to do is mount the speedlights around the coffee can using the tape to securely hold them in place, and the end result should be a ring of lights. According to DIY Photography, this upcycled lighting gadget has an estimated cost of $102, which can be lowered by buying used speedlights. The Multi-Super-SB-Ring Light is great for product and portrait shoots since it provides the perfect amount of lighting to make details pop.

Drapes, Shades and Blind Aperture

Lighting that is too harsh can ruin a photo, and sometimes all you need is some natural light. Drapes let you adjust the amount of sunlight that comes into a room, making it less necessary to use costly artificial photography lights. Additionally, solar shades can create a subtle lighting effect without the glare that is ideal for portraits. If you want to change the angle of the light coming in, blinds are best. Also, be sure to adjust the aperture with drapes, shades and blinds so that you can control the highlight, falloff and shadows, says All Things Photography.

Pringles Can Snoot

pringles can snoot

A snoot made out of a Pringles can? Now we’re talking. PopPhoto boasts that this DIY project costs less than $8. Start by using metal snips or scissors to cut a rectangle at the bottom of an empty Pringles can. The opening should fit your flash head comfortably. File down any sharp metal edges. Optionally, fill the top end of the can with bended black plastic straws to focus the light more, says PetaPixel. The Pringles can snoot allows you to focus a specific amount of light on your subject. Want less focus? Simply remove a few straws or use clear plastic ones.

Mixing Bowl Beauty Dish

A professional beauty dish can cost hundreds of dollars. Instead, use a 16-quart stainless steel mixing bowl and an 8-inch pizza tray to make your own beauty dish. Begin by creating an opening that matches the size of the flash you want to use, explains I Shoot Shows. Then, drill holes for the mounting bracket that secure the internal reflector. Sand and paint the interior of the mixing bowl white and the exterior black. Screw on the mounting hardware and attach the flash. You now have a way to create soft light that is ideal for glamour portraits.

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