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Tips & Tricks

DIY Photography Galore! Three Projects to Save You Money

By Hanssie on November 19th 2014

This year, one of my goals was to not answer “busy,” whenever someone asked me how I was doing. This meant scaling way back on work, my business and various other activities that stole my sleep and contributed to the unslightly bags and circles under my eyes. This also meant much less money to spend on fun things like a new lens or any other random business related accessory that my accountant always encourages me to buy this time of year.

If you’re like me and have more time than money, you probably need to be more resourceful in finding tools that you can make to help you in your photography, or better yet, some new piece of gear to entertain and inspire you that won’t cost three times your car payment. *cough* Fuji X100s *cough*

Enter this fun video from CNet that is sure to fill up your weekend with a few fun photography hacks. In this ~10 minute video, you’ll learn how to create panoramic timelapses with your phone, make an inexpensive dolly for smoother moving shots and a DIY ring light to create that glamorous look for free.


1. Panoramic Timelapse

Tired of the same timelapase videos? Make a panoramic timelapse with your phone. Just remember to turn your phone horizontally when you start shooting (unlike the lady in the clip below).

Items Needed:

  • Cell Phone
  • Timelapse app – such as Hyperlapse
  • Wind-up Kitchen Timer
  • L-Shaped Bracket
  • Adhesive – she used tape and a command strip

DIY-projects-22. 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.

Items Needed:

  • PVC Pipes
  • Gorilla Pod
  • Remote Control Toy Truck
  • Your Camera or Phone


3. 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.

Items Needed:

  • Big screen monitor/TV
  • Tripod
  • Your Camera


What do you think? Are you gonna try any of these projects? Leave a comment below!

[Via CNet]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Steve VanSickle

    I’ve used my 55″ TV for headshot backgrounds before, but the ring light idea is kind of neat. I need to try that one!

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  2. Hans photoWerks

    Useful ideas…. guess sometimes needs do drive creativity.

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  3. Fernando Lachica

    Ideas comes from creative people like you. You’ve got the whole project into useful one.

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  4. Barry Cunningham

    Free ring light? Not quite.
    Besides not having an large screen HD TV, let alone a spare, I just can’t see hauling it down to the Cleveland Botanical Garden to do butterfly macros.

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    • Hanssie

      Well most of us have a large screen in our house, so in essence it is “free” in that we don’t have to purchase another item. And no, there’s no way to lug that thing around. Haha

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    • Scott Pacaldo

      I don’t have that large screen HD TV but I sure do have a common sense to find other ways to shoot at home since it is impossible and just ridiculous to lug it outside. sheesh

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  5. Matthew Riley

    It is amazing what you can come up with a little thought and creativity.

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