How to Make Your Own Photography Lighting Kit

By Kyle Fiechter, eHow Contributor
Work lights can work for photography lighting if the light is softened.

Photography is a great hobby or profession to explore, full of challenges to overcome and techniques to learn and perfect. It can be very expensive, however, and lighting is not an exception. Lighting is necessary for good photography, and the in-camera flash provides harsh lighting creating distracting shadows. The solution for photographers on a budget is to create other sources of light by using inexpensive materials. One piece of lighting that unfortunately cannot be duplicated cheaply is an external flash unit, as these must be compatible with your camera’s metering. Things you can create include a homemade soft panel, soft box and reflector.

Things You’ll Need

  • Clothes rack or PVC pipe

  • White bed sheet

  • Cardboard box

Show (3) More


  1. Soft Panel

    • 1- Purchase a clothes rack to provide a frame (see References) for your soft panel. Alternatively, you can construct a large rectangular frame out of PVC pipes and elbow joints; each side of the PVC rectangle should not be less than 3 feet in length, and should be freestanding.
    • 2 – Drape an old white bed sheet over the frame. Pull the top edge of the sheet up and over the top of the frame, wrapping the PVC pipe. Glue the sheet onto itself using fabric glue. Attach the sheet to the bottom of the frame as well.
    • 3 – Purchase a 500W work light with an included tripod from your local hardware store. If the light comes with halogen tungsten lights, replace them with 3,200K ultra white light bulbs to avoid the yellow light. They must be double-ended in order to fit into the work light. Place the light behind your homemade soft panel.

    Soft Box

    • 4 – Cut and discard the flaps on the top of a cardboard box. The box can be as big as you want your soft box to be, but should be directly proportional to the size of light you are using with the box (the light source should ideally be a remote external flash unit). Glue aluminum foil to each surface of the inside of the box.
    • 5 – Cut a hole slightly smaller than the size of your light on the opposite side of the opening of the box so the light can fit snugly into the hole.
    • 6 – Glue transparent one-time-use table cloth, silk or sketch paper to the open side of the box.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a white poster board for a reflector. This will illuminate dark areas by providing diffused light.
  • Work lights can get very hot. Be careful when using them for extended periods of time.

Two Seconds to Better Photos: Try the Rule of Thirds

The Daily Post

We’re constantly taking photos, from Instagrammed images of that really good sandwich at lunch to posed, just-so portraits of family gatherings.

It’s easy: look through the viewfinder, center the subject, and press the shutter button, right? Next time, try skipping step two — take those few seconds to put your subject off-center, and see how much more engaging your pictures become. Say hello to the Rule of Thirds.

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Studio lighting: 4 seriously simple lighting techniques to try at home

Studio lighting can seem daunting if you’ve never tried it before. However, most portrait photography lighting techniques are not nearly as scary as most people think. By using a simplehome photo studio kit with just a couple of flash heads and a few basic accessories, you can get great results in no time at all. In fact, it’s arguably easier to use a studio lighting setup than off-camera flash.

Studio lighting: 4 seriously simple lighting techniques to try at home

For this studio lighting tutorial we’re using a two-head Elinchrom D-Lite it 2 Studio 2 Go kit, which costs about £500 ($630), but there are plenty of other options to choose from that will suit any budget.

We’ll take you through some of the standard kit you need, and show you four great studio lighting techniques for shooting professional-looking portraits in your home photo studio, with the help of our beautiful model, Jade.

While these classic lighting techniques are a great starting point, it’s best to experiment, so if you’re working in you’re own home photo studio don’t be afraid to tweak these studio lighting setups.

Each technique will take about 30 minutes to set up and shoot.

Now let’s get started and see how it’s done!

PAGE 1: Introduction to studio lighting
PAGE 2: Creating the perfect home photo studio
PAGE 3: Rembrandt studio lighting setup
PAGE 4: Clamshell studio lighting setup
PAGE 5: Backlight studio lighting setup
PAGE 6: Rim light studio lighting setup
PAGE 7: Final tips on studio lighting


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Posted on Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 at 12:24 pm under Photography TipsPortraits.


Photographing the Slopestyle Training Session at the Winter Olympics

Nina Zietman

One of the New Zealand riders

You know a day is going to be good when it starts off with clear skies. As the bus drove up the mountain this morning to the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, the sun was beginning to rise over the valley, turning the sky from pink to blue. Everyone seemed excited because today was the first official training for the snowboard slopestyle, which is making its debut at the Winter Olympics this year.

Lookin' sweet up top in Rosa Khutor Lookin’ sweet up top in Rosa Khutor

I arrived on site early before the other photographers had arrived. It was quiet, just the sound of the snow cannons topping up the slopestyle course. By 9am, the riders were beginning to trickle down the slopes. First the British team, followed by the Americans, Canadians, Norwegians, Swedes, all hooning down the 30ft drop at breakneck speeds. I saw every snowboarder I’ve been writing about for the past three months ride by…

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I’m a freelance travel, culture and documentary photographer based in the Philippines. My passion lies in creating images that communicate a strong sense of place and cultural awareness in unique, challenging situations. You can see my work

By  on 31 Aug 2011 in Shooting7 Comments ]

There are numerous things to think about and often challenges to overcome when working on a photo documentary. Here are eight useful tips that I believe will make the process easier and help you create more compelling and powerful stories.

1. Shoot What You Like. The best photos will always come from a subject that you have a deep interest in. There is something to be said for following your passion and doing work that has personal meaning or interest to you. Your compassion toward your subjects and genuine interest in your story will show in your final images.

2. Don’t Rush It. Many great documentaries have been done over a period of time, sometimes months or even years. While your project may not need to take that long to complete, it’s important to spend quality time working on it. Even if that means taking it one step further by going back for a second or third time to visit your subject/s. The more time you spend on a project the more possibilities you create to witness something special or unique that could give your story more depth.

3. Do Your Research. Gather as much information on your topic as possible. This will help you start to visualize and develop a framework for your project. By researching you will likely discover other work done on the same topic, find important background information, locate people to meet, or find ideal places to visit. When you start putting all of your information together you will be able to visualize a more realistic picture of what you may be able to create. Ideas should start flowing.

4. Get Inspired. Get yourself excited about your project. Some suggestions to get your creative juices flowing are; explore other photographers work on a similar topic, listen to your favorite music, watch a video documentary on something similar or even think about the impact your documentary will have on others. There are a multitude of ways to start getting inspired, just figure what works best for you. For me, this is often just a continuation of my research, which is usually inspiring in itself. When I’m researching for my topic I’m normally getting excited and motivated at the same time.

5. Make Multiple Contacts. Locating contacts while working on a story, I find, is a super important component to a successful documentary. A local contact will likely know best where to find the things your looking for and give you good all around information. I find though that sometimes a contact trying to help you out doesn’t always fully understand what you are after (even if you explain it to them). They may point you in a different direction, simply because they can’t understand what you are doing. By making multiple contacts we increase the chances that we find an individual who is on the same page as us. Contacts can be made before you start shooting your story or while on site. I have found fantastic contacts both ways.

6. Ask Permission. Talk with your subject/s and make sure they are okay and understand what you are doing. By being open with the people you plan to photograph or work with you will create a more comfortable environment. This will make your work easier and help you produce more authentic images.

7. Try Something New. Experiment with your lighting, POV, approach in communicating with your subject, asking different questions, exploring a new location, or anything that you may not have done before. I believe by trying new things we can help spark our creativity and keep things fresh. It may be something small, but we should try to do at least one new thing for each project we are working on. The worse case scenario is we find out it doesn’t work. The best case scenario is we find a new creative and useful way to create stronger images.

8. Be Prepared. This is straight forward enough. Although this goes beyond packing the appropriate gear, chargers, extra batteries and strobes (albeit getting this right is also very important). We must also prepare for the type of environment we will be going into. Will there be language differences we need to learn, certain clothes we will need, a support network, travel arrangements and even food considerations. We shouldn’t get bogged down with preparing for every single detail, but rather cover the basics which will let everything else fall into place.

Jacob Maentz is a freelance travel, culture and documentary photographer currently based in the Philippines. His passion lies in creating images that communicate a strong sense of place and cultural awareness in unique, challenging situations. You can visit his website here, read his articles on his blog, follow him on Facebook or Google+.