Tag Archives: DIY

How to do DIY diffusion – great light from simple tips

 • DIY Ways to diffuse light •

• DIY Ways to diffuse light •
Image taken from the video.

Inexpensive photography equipment!

Following on from the Save money and improve your scene lighting yesterday, we have another video showing how you can provide yourself with an inexpensive light diffuser. It will be quite as good as any professional diffuser and in fact you make it have variable diffusion effects.

Professional and amateur alike use quickly and easily made DIY solutions for their photography. They know they can make things to the specification they require without the equipment costing the earth. In most photographers studios you will find materials and adaptations to be able to do all sorts of ‘quick makes’ with materials, frames and stands. It just makes sense to save money and do it how you need it, rather than spend a mint on something you only use once.

DIY Ways to Diffuse Light


Playgallery  External link - opens new tab/page

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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+.

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Simple photography in the bath – high key shots

Use a bath for quick and effective high key shots.

Here’s a quick tip. High key shots, with brilliant white backgrounds, are popular. With a white bath you can do high key shots without setting up an infinity wall.

If you would like to do high key shots here is a way to get started if you are doing individual or small items. I have previously covered the subject of high key photography with these two articles… A simple way to make and use a seamless white wall and How to shoot bright white backgrounds. Also there is a definition for high key from our Photographic Glossary: Definition: High Key lighting/photography. If you have read these articles you should have a pretty good idea of how to go about this type of work. Here are some examples of high key images from Google…
High Key lighting/photography images on Google External link - opens new tab/page.

The quick tip

A white bath is, in photographic terms, an infinity wall. It’s a seamless white background. The object of the exercise is to create a distance between the subject and the white background of the bath. If you can find a way to suspend items into the bath, or hold them above it, you have a way of holding your item for the shot. Then you can illuminate the bath around your subject, or below it, without lighting the subject itself. Using a bath is simply an extension of the same principles in the articles mentioned above.

In essence, all you need to do is to create a little distance behind the subject so you can light the bath (within that distance) to about two stops more than the subject. Then you will create a white seamless background behind your subject. There are two main ways to do this…

  1. Suspend the subject above the bath and illuminate behind it into the bath from each end. Shoot directly down on the subject.
  2. Place the subject in the bath bottom about half way down the length of the bath. Illuminate the back end wall of the bath from above the subject and shoot from the tap end down the length of the bath.

You will need to consider the same principles in the bath as those in the article “A simple way to make and use a seamless white wall“.

Some things to consider…

  • DO NOT USE ELECTRIC MAINS LIGHTS in the bath! The proximity to water is a health and safety hazard. Please be sensible.
  • Make sure the bath is clean and dry. That will preserve your equipment.
  • Place thin wood strips across the bath from which you can use fine white sewing cotton to suspend your subject. I am working on a frame to do this so I can photograph between the wooden crossbars directly at the suspended item.
  • It is best to shoot downward into the bath and illuminate along the length of the bath.
  • If shooting an object that is standing in the bath, shoot along the length of the bath and light the bath from above.
  • The bath technique is great for small items, but you get side-shadows if you try to photograph large items. A large item is too near the side and cuts down the illumination around the object.

It is fair to say the high-key bath technique is limited in its usefulness to small items that you can easily suspend. Having said that, the set up is easy and the results are good. Why not give it a try. Like any photographic techniques, experiment until you become good at it. I have had some fun with this today. Enjoy!

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!
Write for Photokonnexion...

We would love to have your articles or tips posted on our site.
Find out more…
Write for Photokonnexion.

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.

Thread Size for Photography Equipment

Photography thread size :: Standard tripod and camera thread sizes

• Photography thread size •
Standard tripod thread sizes and camera thread sizes... these are standard throughout the world.
On the left 3/8 inch 16 UNC thread on a Manfrotto camera mount. On the right a 1/4 inch 20 UNC thread for a removable tripod top. The 1/4 - 20 UNC thread (right) is the standard on most consumer cameras.

Interested in Photography Equipment?

You need to know something before you start buying your kit. You need to know the size of that screw thread into the bottom of your camera. It is used on your tripod and a range of other photographic mountings. To fit things to photo-equipment you will need to know the photography thread size(s). Well here are the details you want…

Universal Photography Thread Size Table
Diameter inch Diameter mm Thread size
1/4 6.3500 20
3/8 7.9375 16

These are set out under the ‘Unified Thread Standard’ (UTS). It’s published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The camera thread is a UNC specification for a ‘course’ thread. The Standard ISO 1222:2010 Photography – Tripod connections External link - opens new tab/page allows for the same fit in metric size.

Most cameras are fitted with a hole to take a photography thread size of 1/4in – 20 UNC thread. This means…

  • A quarter inch width (1/4 inch)
  • By 20 threads per inch UNC thread

Larger/heavier fittings, pro-cameras and heavy lens mountings may take the larger photography thread size…

  • A three-eighth inch width (3/8in)
  • By 16 threads per inch UNC thread.
Manufacturer awareness – consumer awareness

Quality manufacturers are aware of this compatibility of threads. For example, buying a tripod head and tripod from the same manufacturer usually means compatible thread and mounting standards.

Beware of the equipment range trap. Some “pro-range” equipment may have a photography thread size that differs from the standard “consumer range” photography thread size. That difference is despite being made by the same manufacturer. If you are picking and choosing equipment from different equipment ranges or from different manufactures, check photography thread size compatibility first.

If you do buy differing photography thread sizes on equipment there is probably a converter available. However, it is better to have a direct fit than fiddle around with converters on your expensive equipment.

Converters are available from photo-retailers…

 
Photography thread size :: Thread adapters
• Photographic Thread Adapters •
 
Most cameras, tripods and other photo-equipment have mounting screws or threaded holes. If these do not match you have a problem.

Actually, matching a tripod and camera thread is easy. These threads are standard sizes. A variety of adapters are widely available and cheap.
 
Click the link below to see a some adapters. 
Photographic thread adapters
 

 

Tripods

Some tripod manufacturers fit the larger sized 3/8in – 16 UNC to their tripods. When buying a tripod make sure you buy it with one of the standard fitting threads given in the table above. Alternatively, make sure you are able to use a converter if needed.

Very old tripods may not have used the same photography thread sizes I gave above. In most cases a digital camera will mount on a legacy tripod. Just check it with a fitting test. But do not force the thread if it is tight. For modern tripods the threads size for the tripod head and the camera fitting is the modern standard.

Tripod heads

Tripod Heads fit onto the same standard photography thread sizes used on the tripod. So buying a tripod head from a modern photography manufacturer ensures a proper fit to a standard tripod screw (one of the two sizes given above). But, make sure you buy the compatible thread size. Obviously, if the tripod mount has the large size thread (3/8 inch), a tripod head with a small sized hole (1/4 inch) will not mount in a stable way on it as you will have to use an inverting converter.

Lighting equipment and stands

A wider range of fittings are found on light stands and light fittings, flash units and special mountings. They tend to meet the same standards of thread sizes on modern equipment. That allows the easy inter-change of photographic kit. Again, modern manufacturers are aware of the standards. So buying lighting equipment from reputable suppliers and manufacturers will usually ensure compatible thread sizes as I give them above.

A lesson learned…

I bought a light stand that looked like a good deal from a Hong Kong supplier. It did not have a compatible screw on the top for anything except the supplied fitting. This meant that the stand is of very limited use and will not fit with any of my other stands or lighting equipment. The moral is, beware of “knock-offs” and cheap imitations. Stick with reputable manufacturers. That message is true of most photography equipment.

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Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer 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+.