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Professional Lighting for Photographers on a Budget

Framing your subject and setting the focus right for your photos is great and all, but as, any experienced photographer will tell you, getting the correct lighting is at least half of what makes a great shot. Purchasing professional lighting kit can run into literally thousands of dollars, but thanks to the hackers at Digital Photography School and DIY Photography you can build your own lighting gear from scratch for next to nothing.

Digital Photography School teaches you how to make your own light tent.
Digital Photography School teaches you how to make your own light tent.

Digital Photography School and DIY Photography are always a fun read. Apart from excellent advice on how to take the perfect picture and great tips on purchasing equipment, from time to time they also publish a commented list of interesting links that show you how to supplement your kit with DIY contraptions on the cheap collected from hackers around the net.

The one we’re going to comment today is especially… er… enlightening, since it’s all about building professional lighting kit from stuff you can find around the house or buy cheaply at hardware stores or online.

The six-flashes-and-a-coffee-tin from DIY Photography.
The six-flashes-and-a-coffee-tin set up from DIY Photography.

Check out the light tent entry for example. If you want to get the effect you can see in many advertisements where the product seems to be floating in an infinite white void, this what you need. But while buying a professional tent can set you back $100 or more, you can make one nearly for free using a cardboard box, some white muslin fabric and a desktop lamp.

If you’re into portraits and need a circular flash, get yourself six second hand flashes on eBay, some duct tape, and a coffee can and… Hey presto! To avoid the harsh lighting of a single flash in inside shots, all you need is a piece of white card to bounce the light of the walls and ceiling, or you can use the bottom of a translucent water or milk bottle to create a ring flash. The possibilities are endless.

There are many more gems on both sites, and the great thing is that, once you understand that you can repurpose everyday household items, you can start inventing your own devices and share them with others on the Internet.

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Cover photo by flikflak for freeimages.com