DIY Weekend Project

DIY Photography is running a contest to build your own soft box and win a flash and speedlight set, or a ring flash and double flash bracket. I need to work on my artificial lighting, so I thought I’d base my design on this design.

Lots of text and pictures of the whole process behind the read more link.

Edit: 20 June 2011 – I want to thank all of the people coming here for the DIY photography contest page. It’s fun to see where my views are coming from, and every time DIY Photo tweets or posts about the contest I get a bunch of┬áreferrals. I’d really appreciate it if you checked out my photos of the day, reviews, and tips and tricks articles and let me know what you think. Thanks again! – Matt from SkwizPhoto

Gathering the materials

I went to the dollar store and bought some cheap aluminum foil. I wouldn’t want to try to use it for food, but it seemed perfect for this project. I wanted parchment paper for the front of the softbox, but I settled for some tissue paper. I figured I could double or triple up if I needed more diffusion, but it would suffice, and since I could get 18 sheets for $1, it wasn’t an expensive experiment. I had glue, scissors, tape, and a pocketknife at home already. I also had a box that came in the mail this week. It contained my ThinkTANK photo Retrospective 5, and I thought it would be fun to use that box for this project.

Getting down to work

The first thing I did after gathering all my materials was cut off the flaps of the box. I figured they could be replaced outside of the tissue paper if I needed barn doors, and my life would just be easier if they weren’t there. I then used packing tape to seal the newly cut sides of the box. I don’t cut the straightest lines, and I didn’t want the cardboard to rip the incredibly thin tissue paper.

I then applied the foil to all the inside surfaces. I used a little bit of plain old white glue spread liberally around the cardboard. I did one side at a time because I didn’t want to fight with the foil, and I didn’t think it would cause any problems. I glued the dull side to the carboard, leaving the shiny side out, because I figured that was best for getting the most light out of the box.

I then cut a spot in the back of the box to insert a flash, ideally, or another light if need be. I didn’t cut the material completely away thinking I could use it to help hold the flash in…whenever I get one. I added some more packing tape around the cuts to keep the foil from peeling away when inserting and removing lights.

I got a piece of tissue paper, folded it in half, and taped it lightly across the opening. I didn’t want to fight to get the paper off if it ended up ripping, or if needed more or less paper.

I grabbed a desk lamp to stick through the hole, and I was happy with the light. There were no harsh spots and I could use a reflector (poster board) to fill in the other side.

I also used some of the tissue paper to diffuse the dining room overhead light to avoid the bright spots during these BTS photos.

Sample shots

I wanted to use this for some “product photography,” and so I could practice the setup for taking pictures of the things I am reviewing. A piece of posterboard for a seamless backdrop, another piece as a reflector, and I used my 50mm lens. I’m pretty happy with how it came out, but I really really really really want a flash to use for this. I know I’ll end up needing to by some other stuff so I can do off camera flash, but I think this setup will work great with a flash, or even just a brighter light bulb shoved through.

What do YOU think about this? More DIY projects? More BTS? Comment, people, I know you’re reading, WordPress has stats!

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