Category Archives: DIY Projects

Thinking about different types of diffusion and reflection

• Diffusers and reflectors are important tools for using light •

• Diffusers and reflectors are important tools for using light •
Not all diffusers and reflectors are the same. Watch out for the different characteristics.
Photograph showing Mark Cleghorn of the Lastolite School of Photography
and three Lastolite reflectors/diffusers from the Skylite Rapid System.

Using light – creative fun…

Many photographers assume light is passive in the scene. I get really excited about working light. You can use two methods, modify or add light. Diffusers and reflectors are powerful modifiers to manipulate light. To add light you can use flash or continuous light sources. I want to expand on modifying light.

Modifying any light

You can use a modifier of any kind to change light and make it illuminate your scene the way you want. Light modifiers can include the use of gels, softboxes, and all manor of diffusers connected directly to the light source. However, reflectors and diffusers can also be free standing. Free-standing diffusers can be used to change the light from a natural source or an artificial one. However, remember that light falls off to a quarter of its intensity each time you double the distance from the source. Using a diffuser at a distance from an artificial source is going to significantly reduce the light intensity compared to using it at the source.

Using free standing diffusers and modifiers

I have previously written about table top still life photography and using modifiers. I mentioned that you can use white card as reflectors to bring light around the back of a table top subject. You can also use diffusers to reduce the natural light from a window. I use net curtains. The point is that actually there are a range of modifiers in you home and other places near at hand. Here are some simple household items I have used…

  • Diffusers: Net curtains, white blinds, paper, tissue paper, greaseproof paper, tracing paper, plastic bottles and containers frosted glass, drinking glasses, acrylic glass, white bed-sheets…
  • Reflectors: white walls, towels, card, silver paper, silvered insulation block, mirrors, white plates, white bed-sheets, white boxes, a slide projection screen, various white materials (cotton, nylon, wool)…

You might ask why I use such a wide range of different things as modifiers. That is a crucial point. Each and every one of those items in the list have different properties. For example reflectors with very course surfaces have very soft reflections indeed – towels are an example. A large sheet of white paper can be used as both a reflector and a diffuser in different ways and it has different properties too. People often don’t realise that light coming through glass is reduced by anything up to 40%. It is also scattered. So plain, see-through glass can actually be used as a diffuser and light reducer – depending on the properties of the glass. Frosted glass is an even better diffuser.

More after this…

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Most of these different materials and objects can be used by stretching them out, hanging them up or propping them up around or near your subject. All of them have a different impact on the final image. Some of the materials are better for table tops. Others are better for hanging and using for say, portraiture.

It is the properties that count

Modifying light is NOT about buying expensive equipment. While it is nice to have great tools for the job, for the photography enthusiast there are lots of other ways of getting a great result. Amateurs, enthusiasts and beginners alike can benefit from thinking about how the light is changed rather than by which equipment. It is the end result that is important, not the method or equipment used to do it.

Look for different properties and how to use the modifiers

In the video Mark Cleghorn shows us how to use a range of professional diffusers and deflectors. I would like you to think about the different properties of each of them. He shows us silvered ones, a semi-diffuser/reflector and lots of ways to use reflectors. He also makes various points about the way to use both reflectors and diffusers. The different properties have an impact on the shot – including light intensity, colour and reflective type. Overall Mark is showing us a variety of different types of modifying properties and how to use them.

You can use this knowledge to think about the things you have around the house. Once you have used something to modify light a few times you will have a knowledge of the type of light it creates. Then, you can experiment with other objects and materials. After a while you will develop a feel for creating different types of light for your various subjects. Becoming a master of light is about knowing what you can do with the materials at hand.

Using the Skylite Rapid system from Lastolite  External link - opens new tab/page

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Can you write? Of course you can!
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The secret to world travel – but staying at home!

• Winchester Cathedral •

• Winchester Cathedral •
Chroma key work is quite easily done in Adobe PhotoShop and a range of other quality photo-editors.

When you want to be somewhere else…

There are places we would rather be than where we are now. I would like to be on an island paradise …not going to happen! But you can do it photographically. The secret is something called Chroma Key photography or green screening.

Substitution

In chroma key photography the subject is photographed against a uniformly lit green background. Then, in post production the subject is easily selected out from the green background. The selection can then be pasted into any other photographic background.

Any uniform colour can be used as a backdrop for the chroma key shot. The picture above is selected from a blue background and pasted into a picture of Winchester Cathedral in SE England. The two pictures were taken on different days.

To make the selection of the subject from the background it is important to light the background evenly. When the colour is even the selection is easy and can be completed in one operation. Colour variations from uneven light make it more technical to isolate the subject.

Green is the most frequently used colour in chroma key photography. The colour is very easily separated from human skin tones. Where the subject has green tones, blue is often used as the chroma key alternative. Blue is a common colour for clothing. It is therefore less suitable than a strong bright green which is not so popular as a fashion colour. However, green does have other advantages. The human eye is able to see more shades of green than any other colour. This makes it easy to see variations in the green when setting up the lighting. Green sensitivity is also built into software applications to match the abilities of the eye. This helps us to work with the background when doing awkward selections.

Fun and games

The substitution of a subject into any other photographic background provides great opportunities for doing fun things. Film stars can be placed in your garden. You can apparently travel the world without leaving your front room. Just find the right pictures and substitute yourself into the background of your choice.

Of course there are also opportunities for advertising, graphic art, product photography, still life, portraiture, action shots and many other false situations. Of course we should be careful not to be immoral about such things! Feel free to have fun though. You can really make it look like you have travelled the world.

How is it done?

Basically you need a chroma key background, lighting to illuminate it evenly, a camera and a subject. On a small scale this is easy to do. A lot of people doing chroma key work for the first time start with still life or table-top photography to get the technique right. Probably the most common use of the technique is for portraiture. Take a picture of yourself or your friends and then start playing. For this you need a larger screen…

The video is a complete introduction to the use of chroma key photography. You can take the same techniques and scale them to any size. The video introduces the ideas you need to grasp and shows how to set up the lights and the equipment. It also shows one of the software applications. After the video I will briefly look at that software for you.

How to Green Screen (ChromaKey) with Photography!

markapsolon  External link - opens new tab/page

Software

There is a whole range of software that is capable of doing chroma key. In essence chroma key software has two jobs. The first is to select the subject off the green background (or whichever colour you are using). The second is to successfully blend the abstracted subject with the new background.

The software from the video is called PhotoKey from FXHome  External link - opens new tab/page. It has been produced specifically for chroma key compositing. It is not alone in the market. However, there are not many applications specifically aimed at this work. Instead there are plenty of applications that do chroma key blending as part of a general suite of editing tools.

The website advertises a “try for free” download system. I did download the editor and install it on my computer. However, the try out does not produce a viable picture. The watermarking is so heavy the try out is really just to have a go at using the tools. So don’t expect to get something for free in reality. Here is the same picture from the top of the page done in Photokey…

• Winchester Cathedral •

• Winchester Cathedral •
Produced in PhotoKey from FXHome. The watermark is put onto the image when you use the trial download version of the application for free.

As you can see the result is similar to my Photoshop version at the top of the page – except for the heavy watermarking ruining the picture.

The actual process for producing the final blended image is relatively quick and easy. The tools are quite self explanatory if you have some editing experience. On the right are the main steps of the process arranged in order of use. Starting at the top you can created a final blend of the two images by clicking on each step in turn and working your way down. As you select a step the tools for the import, selection, blending and finishing of the image become available. As with any editor the blending tools manage colours, contrasts, edging and so on. The order of work is simple and the use of tools quite easy. Most tools are simple sliders. I did like the reset button on each which allowed you go back to the default for that tool if you made a mistake.

At the end of working through the blending process you final image is on screen. You can make further changes to it if you wish. If you are satisfied with it you can export it to make a .png, .jpg or .tiff image. If you are not satisfied with the final output you can go back to the blend left in the editor and do further work.

I liked the application interface. It was simple and easy to use. However, it had some tools that were a little difficult to understand. I think those would become clear with practice. This is not an application you can use immediately – it requires practice.

On balance I liked the application. However, for a beginner in chroma key work it is hugely expensive. At £119 (around $180 US) for the basic version it seems prohibitive. I think I would rather spend that amount of money on a full blown editor like Adobe Elements which could do the same work, and a lot more, for substantially under £100. An editor like GIMP  External link - opens new tab/page could also do the same work and a lot more and it is free.

The one benefit that makes it worth investing in this application is the simple and fast processing. If you have a lot of chroma key work the use of this software would save a lot of processing time. If you happen to be doing a lot of it professionally then it would be worth investing in the Pro version at £229 (at time of writing).

While I was not impressed with the basic price, the application was useful and could fill a niche in the market. However, it is not worth it for the beginner. Instead, it would be better to invest in a decent image-editor and broaden the work you do overall. However, if you are specialising then it may be worth considering providing you return income to cover your investment.

The way to do it in Adobe PhotoShop

The general photographer is most likely to have use of a quality image editor like PhotoShop, Elements, GIMP, PaintShopPro and others. All these are able to do the type of work that PhotoKey can do. Admittedly it takes longer. But for beginners it is better to save your money for more general photography kit. For those who are interested, here is a short video explaining the Photoshop method of doing a chroma key composite. It is a simple technique using standard photoshop tools.

Isolating with a Chroma Key Background

This tutorial is aimed at Photoshop intermediate level users.

Overall…

Chroma key work is fun. There is quite a lot to learn, but it adds flexibility to your photographic work and post processing. The use of up to date quality image editors is probably better than splashing out on expensive specialist applications. Nevertheless specialist applications do a great job, saving time in post processing.

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The secrets of good backgrounds

• Backdrops •

• Backdrops •
Wallpaper can be used extensively as a backdrop. There is plenty of variation and the material is relatively cheap.

Get more out of less.

One of the central ideas behind photography is to reduce the “clutter” especially in the background. We want to simplify our shots to help focus the viewers attention on the subject we have chosen. Often, by way of controlling the scene we use backdrops. For the modern photographer a backdrop provides a simple uncluttered background that can be used to off-set the colours of the subject, or to complement them or remain neutral.

Backdrop secrets

Modern backdrops have a wide range of finishes. However, strong patterns and fussy details draw the eye off the subject. So most backdrop patterns are designed to reduce the impact on the eye. Rather than regular strong lines or shapes these back drops will tend to have random and subdued variations in the theme. Other backdrop types are solid colours. The best backdrops are minimalist.

Black backdrops are often used for darkening and absorbing the light. White backgrounds are frequently used for high-key photography. Reds, purples and blues are often used for different types of shots, but can also form effective variations for monochrome work (single tone shots or a single colour and white).

Bright green backdrops are called chroma-key (chromakey). They are often used to provide a set colour ready for post processing technique called compositing. This is where new colours or entire images are to swapped into the image. The subject is retained but the green colour is replaced with an entirely new image. This technique is the digital replacement of the old ‘back-projection’ or painted backgrounds techniques used to make it look like there was something solid in the background in the days of film. Actually there was a blank screen behind the subject. This technique is also known as “green screen”.

Backdrops can be used anywhere but are used extensively in two particular branches of photography. Portraiture and fashion photography use backdrops to simplify the scene as much as possible. This allows the person or model to be the strongest element in the scene. The eye is therefore drawn to the person which is where the photographer wants people to look. A fashion or portrait shot where the eye is not on the person is a disaster!

Still life

The other area where backdrops are used extensively is in various types of still life. Again the intention is to create a simple scene so the subject is the centre of interest. However, in still life the relatively close up nature of the work can allow the use of stronger elements in the backdrop.

Heart in hand

Heart in hand • By Damon Guy
In smaller scenes or still life backdrops can be stronger. The diagonal wallpaper pattern here helps the flow of the eye.


In the picture above the hands are the centre of attention. The backdrop is used in this case to provide a dynamic feel (from the strong diagonal) and to direct the eye along the line of the phrase in the heart. Eyes naturally tend to follow lines like that.

Wallpaper

While solid colours and simple patterns are well catered for in the market, specific patterns on backdrops are limited. However, in the picture at the top of this page you can see that I have arranged a variety of different wallpaper samples. Wallpaper is easy to find – it is in every DIY store and great patterns, plain or textured can be found at relatively cheap prices. If you are working at small, still life, sizes one piece of wall paper might be sufficient. However, I have sometimes worked with wallpaper on a full sized portrait backdrop. In this case I use strong tape to stick the wallpaper sheets side by side to make the backdrop wide enough. Then, I staple the wall paper to two light wooden battens, top and bottom. This helps hold the papers together with less damage. It also helps pull the paper out so it hangs flat. Wallpaper has a tendency to curl. Then the top batten is clamped to the backdrop cross bar. Hey presto! You have a cheap but patterned backdrop.

Other patterns, shapes and marks can be used to do other things in a picture. In fact if it is used properly the use of backdrops can be complementary, can be contrasting, can form effective reflections, light dampening, and many more things. Understanding backdrops is a great way to ensure that you can control what is going on behind the main subject.

Decor

Backdrops have rich history in the theatre. Today, in modern still photography they are relatively simple and uncluttered. However, if you have a specific scene in mind you can use wall paper to provide fun and varied backdrops to complement or change your scene. While proper cloth or paper backdrops can be quite expensive; wallpaper is a relatively cheap way to use fun patterns and interesting backdrops.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

find out more...Photokonnexion tips by email
If you enjoyed this article please sign up for our
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How to overcome frozen movement in panning (Action shots Pt. 7)

A fun capture, but there are some shortcomings in this shot.

A fun capture, but there are some shortcomings in this shot. This airborne vehicle is travelling at about 40 miles an hour, yet the wheels are not spinning!

Some things should move when panning.

When taking a picture of a moving vehicle, you want the wheels to be movement-blurred. Nearly everything you are panning should be sharp, but some things still need to move. Here’s how to work through the problem.

Examine the picture above. The wheels are slightly blurred. At around 40 miles per hour they should really have been blurred to appear real. The problem is finding the right shutter speed. Two low and your panning technique is lost to blur. Too fast and the subject freezes.

Here’s how to fix it. Get comfortable panning for the main subject, say, a car. Try a few panning shots to get it sharp. When you have that right, slow the shutter speed down by one third of a stop (one click on most DSLRs). Do the wheels look blurred? No? Try again. If the wheels still have no movement blur, turn down the shutter speed. Shoot and check for wheel blur.

If you have to turn down the shutter speed a lot, you were panning with shutter speeds starting too high. Normally one or two clicks down finds a point where the wheels will blur.

This works with most panning subjects. When photographing a running man a little leg blur is great. Track the body, get that sharp with your panning. Next run, turn down the shutter speed. If the legs are not slightly blurred, do it again.

You have to practice to get it right. This technique, progressively slowing shutter speed, will get the speed right. Soon you will judge your starting shutter speed better. Then, one or two adjustments and you get movement blur that looks good.

If you cannot pan without blurring your main subject, reverse the idea. A faster shutter speed will make it easer to get sharper panning on your main subject. Practice and adjustment is the key.

Read this article with the other panning articles. Good panning comes with practice and knowing what shutter speed suites your favourite subject.

How Safe Is Your camera sensor from dust?

The camera sensor is incredibly sensitive to dust. Your shots can be ruined!

The camera sensor is incredibly sensitive to dust. Your shots can be ruined!
Image Sensor picture curtesy of Wikipedia  External link - opens new tab/page

Your image sensor is your camera!

Without it, you have no means of taking pictures. It makes sense to look after it and to prevent dust from getting onto the working surface. What can you do if it does get dust or other substances on it?

How does dust get onto your sensor?

In a variety of ways… The main entry point is the lens hole. Every time you open your camera, you expose the inside to dust. It is impossible to avoid this. However you can minimise the potential for dust entry…

  • Avoid any opening of your camera unless necessary.
  • Avoid dusty environments. Wipe down your camera with a slightly damp cloth and wipe dry before opening.
  • Avoid windy environments. Get out of the wind before opening.
  • Avoid damp environments: dry before opening. Moisture kills cameras and takes dust inside.
  • Hold your camera with the lens hole pointed toward the ground so that dust/skin/hair cannot fall into it.
  • Avoid having an open lens hole for any longer than necessary.
  • Do not breath or blow directly into the lens hole!
  • Avoid opening the camera in the warm soon after coming in from the cold. The same when entering air conditioned places from hot out-doors. Temperature differences cause air to be sucked in and moisture to condense inside the camera. Allow several hours to equalise temperatures inside and out before opening.

Some cameras leak in other places too… The battery cavity, plugs and jack holes for cables may allow air and dust inside. Every time you put a battery into the camera you are creating a piston to push air (and dust) into your camera. Beware – apply the same rules above for all plugs, batteries and cards movement.

I suspect dust on my sensor – how can I tell?

It’s sometimes difficult to tell if dust is on the lens or on the image sensor, or even if it is on the viewfinder. Here is how it is done.

A dust spot most often shows up on your pictures in the lightest areas. If you are looking for dust, hairs and specks then photographing blue sky does the trick. First, thoroughly clean your lens with lens cleaner and a proper lens cloth. It is best to do the photographs in aperture priority mode. Choose f22 or the smallest aperture. Zoom out to the maximum amount. Then, manually focus to infinity (the camera will probably not be able to auto-focus in a clear sky). Take a few pictures of the sky – the blue areas only.

Download the pictures to your computer. Enlarge them on-screen to the full size. Any dark spots, specks or lines you see on every picture in the same place are dust, other detritus or hairs. Birds, aircraft and UFO’s will be in different positions on the pictures.

What can I do about dust I find?

The simple answer is, clean it. This sounds terrifying. It really is not. It can be done in a few seconds with one simple piece of equipment. You will need to buy a blower. They are simple pump-action nozzles that expel fresh air against the sensor and blow off the dust. Here is the one I recommend… I have used them for years without any problem.

 

The Rocket Blower

Once you have your blower find out how to lock the mirror up on your DSLR. The mirror lock-up function will be somewhere in your menus. Check in your manual.

The procedure below is best with the camera on a tripod. You can look into the camera with your hands free to use the blower. There will be no danger of moving the camera while doing the blowing.
To blow-clean the sensor with the Rocket Blower:

  1. Mount camera on a fixed position/tripod away from contaminants.
  2. Take off your lens so the lens hole is open.
  3. Turn on your camera.
  4. Set mirror lock-up to enabled in your menu.
  5. Activate mirror lock-up for cleaning (as advised in the camera manual).
  6. There will be a click and you will now be able to see the sensor.
  7. Hold the blower so the nozzle points at the sensor, at about 60mm to 100mm from it.
  8. Squeeze the bulb of the blower about 3 to six times, directing the air at the sensor.
  9. Unlock the mirror lock-up (as advised in the camera manual).
  10. The mirror will click and drop.
  11. Turn off the camera.
  12. Replace the lens.
  13. Retest for dust – re-take sky pictures and view on the computer.
  14. Repeat if dust is still present. (Normally once or twice is enough).

The whole procedure for one test and clean-up should be about five to ten minutes.

Check that the procedure is compatible with instructions in your camera manual before proceeding. Follow any variations suggested.

Common Sense

Be sensible. While you are cleaning your sensor make sure you…

  • Use only air.
  • Use only the type of blower shown above (any similar brand).
  • Do not use compressed air (especially canned). It may damage your camera beyond repair.
  • Do not use other gases (they may contain particulates, corrosives or moisture).
  • Do not use anything to directly touch the sensor.
  • Do not use your mouth to blow into the hole – grease and bodily fluids will be forced onto the sensor surface and will not come off again.
If after three or four attempts you still have dust…

The next level of cleaning involves wiping the sensor with a sensor cleaning fluid and using a cleaning implement. This is a much more delicate operation. It should only be carried out if you are confident dealing with delicate electrical components. I do not cover this operation here. If not confident, take it to a properly accredited service agent for your camera manufacturer.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Black and white is fun – try monochrome

Reflection of a girl in a shop window

Reflection of a girl in a shop window. There is more to monochrome than black and white photography. Single colours are a great way to express yourself.

Give your shots a new dimension.

There is something exciting about black and white. The use of one tonal range gives a simplicity that is a new dimension. You can do the same working with one colour other than grey.

In “Don’t photograph in black and white” I said it is better to take a shot in colour with black and white processing in mind. Well, it need not be just black and white. Some photos work really well in other monochrome colour tones. There are several ways you can do it and I am going to set out some ideas for you to try.

Getting the shot

There are many ways you can get a monochrome shot in camera…

  • Find a monochrome subject. My shot above is an example. This girls face reflected off a shop window. The predominant cobalt blues in the shop display created a perfect monochrome reflection in blue. I fired off an opportune shot! So look for situations where you can pick up a monochrome appearance. Reflections are a great opportunity.
  • Filters. There are an amazing range of photographic filters on the market. There is a whole range of colours. Using these you can colour your image as you take it – strong filters will impart a monochrome overall. You will need to experiment however, filters change the nature of the light entering your camera. You might get some surprising results!
  • Gels. Photographic gels are coloured material that colour light. You can, if you stretch it tight, put thinner gels over the front of your lens. This will colour the light as it enters the camera. Try to make sure there are no wrinkles or you will get dark lines across your shot. Although, you might artfully arrange wrinkles to give your shot a unique texture as well as colour. If you use gels you might need some strong lights, hard light is best. Gels tend to be quite colour saturated. So they need the subject to be brightly lit so you see details. Its all part of the fun!
  • Coloured light. Using gels you can also light the scene with a strong colour. Deep red, blue or green gels make some really erie colours and impart some interesting shadows. If you use your gels in conjuction with strong house-lights the colour-cast will be enough to completely colour the shot as a monochrome. Moody and atmospheric shots are especially good with strong gels. They make for some great scenes. If you have an off-camera flash you will be able to try a wider range of shots with brighter results too. Just lightly tape the gel onto the lens of the flash so it shines through the gel when the flash goes off.
  • Shoot through glass. Shop windows, especially armoured glass often imparts a greenish tinge to everything you see through it. It also gives a sort of dreamy, almost watery feel to the shot. Try taping a small piece of glass like that to the front of your lens hood.
  • Colour ordinary glass. There are many types of colourant that will go on a small piece of glass. Various paints, makeup, inks, food colour… I am sure you can think of a few others too. The single colour will be imparted to the shot. Some of the things you put on will give an inconsistent coverage. More creative fun can be had by producing patterns on the glass with your colourant. Then you will be able to influence not only your monochrome shot, but also the texture of the exposure.
  • Processing. There are a whole range of ways you can get some shots to be post-processed in a monochrome. You could just have a go with your favorite image editor. Experimenting is a great way to learn. I will also be doing a future article on monochrome processing here.

I hope those ideas give you great creative thoughts. Activities like this are fun and great for extending your skills. Just make sure you keep exotic liquids, paint and chemicals off your lens. They may damage the coating on the glass.

DIY Camera Chest Harness for Weak Hands & Arms

Chest based harness to help support the weight of your SLR if you have weakness in the hands or arms

Chest based harness to help support the weight of your SLR if you have weakness in the hands or arms. Click to see the full construction articles on Instructables.

Carry on using your SLR after weakness causes problems

A lot of people suffer from weak hands and arms. Injury, disease and age can all affect photographers. It is understandable that weakness makes it difficult to lift or hold a DSLR. The frustration, and perhaps pain, can be very off-putting. Here is a solution that just about anyone can make. It takes the weight off the hands and arms. Bracing the weight of your camera against the chest makes sense. It is a stable platform, the weight is supported by the neck and shoulders and it is easy to use with one hand. Using a remote trigger you can even hold the camera with just your left hand.

This easy-build solution is found on “Instructables.com“. There are detailed instructions on how to build the ‘Camera Chest Harness‘. In addition detailed photographs show you the components and assembly. All the parts are easily purchased or made from materials found in local hardware warehouses or DIY stores.

If you have not seen “Instructables.com” it is a great site. There are lots of Instructables DIY photography Projects as well as thousands of other interesting ideas for DIY projects. If you sign up for free you can follow people to keep up with their latest projects. Or, you can post your own hacks or projects. You can comment and ask questions and take part in all sorts of community activities including competitions. There are quite a few DIY photography projects there too. Why not take a jump over there and check it out.