Let’s face it, buying photography equipment can add up easily. It’s usually not a good sign when your memory card wallet has more content than your actual wallet. Hooray for DIY! If you’re the type that would rather craft it out, spend your weekends at Home Depot, and knee deep in your garage with a drill, then this article is for you. Over the years, we’ve posted more than a few DIY projects on SLR Lounge – from camera sliders to beauty dishes to V-flats; you name it, there is a photography hack do-it-yourself alternative.
$50 DIY CONTINUOUS LIGHTING SET-UP FOR GREAT PORTRAITS | AARON NACE
For only about $50, you can make a 3-light setup for portraits. Toss in a dark backdrop, some C-stands, some gaffers tape and voila – an instant studio.
POSSIBLY THE BEST DIY BEAUTY DISH THERE IS
Technically this was published in 2014 and missed the 2015 mark by two weeks, but it is still one of the best DIY beauty dishes I’ve seen. It looks very professional and is only about $20 to make. It requires a little more elbow grease than some other projects you might see. The results are worth it, though.
BRILLIANT DIY V-FLATS WITH CUSTOMIZABLE CATCHLIGHTS
This little shoot-through system with built-in catchlights will help you create a studio anywhere. It’s made from inexpensive foam board and tape, so it won’t cost too much more than your latte.
This is another one from Digital Rev and has 5 DIY lighting setups for you to try. And again, these projects are dirt cheap and not pretty. But if you have that empty Pringles can and need a snoot, this video will teach you how to make one.
The following DIY light modifier may be deemed the coolest, but it also involves glitter – which is a really good and really bad thing all at the same time. If you have $5, you can make a project reminiscent of something you made in kindergarten art class, but now it can be useful as a glitter reflector or one of many other creative effects for your photography.
This “phenomenally bright” 1000 Watt Equivalent LED flashlight is as portable as it is powerful. For only $50, you can make this dimmable light good for indoor and outdoor use.
The Easychrome is a DIY color-infrared, LO-FI point & shoot camera that emulates the look of Aerochrome Film. Much more than a mere shift in hue or a digital manipulation, the Easychrome renders reflected infrared light in sizzurp-stained shades of purple, pink and red.
If you shoot product photography, you’ll need a specialized table that will help you control reflections and get your modifiers in really close. The build is fairly simple, inexpensive and yields a highly effective product.
For about $113, you can build a board to organize and hang all of your battery chargers in one place. No more digging through all the desk drawers and fumbling to find outlets while on location. It’s all in one, portable, stress-free location.
Have you built any of these projects? How have they worked out for you? Do you have any DIY projects you’ve created that helps you with your photography? Comment below!
Build a Dolly For Smoother Moving Shots
I don’t do much video so I don’t really want to invest in a camera slider for the few times I do need something to stabilize my moving shots. This DIY project is easy and fun, and you can strap your camera on it or even your phone.
- PVC Pipes
- Gorilla Pod
- Remote Control Toy Truck
- Your Camera or Phone
DIY Ring Light
We’ve showcased many DIY ring lights before, but this one is free using a few items you already have around the house.
- Big screen monitor/TV
- Your Camera
One of the most inexpensive projects may be sitting in your kitchen right now; it may even be preserving your holiday leftovers in your fridge. Simple aluminum foil can make an interesting background that will give your product shot a little something extra – just make sure you use a clean sheet. Read the article here.
Ringlights can be made from anything such as frisbees or fan guards. The DIY ringlight from Tony Northrup more than illuminates the model’s face and it creates a starburst catchlight. It also won him the front page of 500px. The project will run you about $60 and $35 for each light.
For something a little more simple, Film Riot has a project that will make your films more interesting. A constant light source can work just as good if not better than some speed lights. Photographers are being asked to do more and more video work these days with the added video capabilities on DSLRs and Mirrorless offerings, so this project is definitely worth a look.
That bare bulb look can be good for some projects, but sometimes, you need a softer touch. A simple frosted shower curtain can soften up the light to get better skin tone and remove harsh shadows and even better, it will only cost you about $5.
Benjamin Von Wong’s photos are never short of stunning. During a photoshoot for Smugmug, he used a simple $20 PVC rig for a rain machine. The rig helped create epic portraits.
CNET lists simple 3 DIY projects that you can do at home. One easy project involves an egg timer to create panoramic timelapses. This projects can be used by iPhone photographers and professionals alike and requires only a little work to pull off.
This happens to be one of the DIY projects that I tacked this year. The project is a bit time consuming, but Todd Owyoung’s beauty dish gives impressive results that speaks for itself.
In under 3 hours and for $75, you can have a simple elegant slider that yields impressive results and save your hide if you ever forget your gear. Rhino not only provides a video, but a how-to PDF to follow along.
DIY projects might be the furthest thing from you mind after all the food, family and merriment of the season. Keep this list in mind for the “better your photography” New Year’s resolution and be sure to bookmark this article so you can come back for some rainy day ideas.
My favorite hacks in the 10-minute video are #1, the “Tripod Sling” and #7, the “Strap Filter.” The strap filter one is so simple, but something I’ve never thought about doing before. By just using your camera strap to cover the bright sky and metering for the land, you can get a nice exposure of the sky – if you forgot your ND filter or where the HDR function is – which I usually do.