Forums > Photography Talk > Home Depot/ Do It Yourself DIY Lighting Solutions?

Photographer

malibucanyonphotography

Posts: 257

Las Flores, California, US

Home Depot/ Do It Yourself DIY Lighting Solutions?

Anyone have any stories or pictures (both of the equipment and of the models) of your experiences with this?

Thanks!

Rock on!!

smile

May 27 10 09:48 pm Link

Photographer

robert christopher

Posts: 2680

Snohomish, Washington, US

i spent two years, tons of time and who knows how much money trying to build soft boxes with 10 100watt fluorescent bulbs, halogen lights, 5, 4 ft fluorescent double tube shop lights and i have a thousand blurred images to show for it, yes i got a few keepers, but just take the plunge and get a few strobes. even the $59 160 ws strobes from adorama will get you far beyond the home depot setups. my vote, keep the home depot stuff in your garage for changing your oil.

May 27 10 10:02 pm Link

Photographer

Lucas Chapman

Posts: 6129

Scottsdale, Arizona, US

robert christopher wrote:
i spent two years, tons of time and who knows how much money trying to build soft boxes with 10 100watt fluorescent bulbs, halogen lights, 5, 4 ft fluorescent double tube shop lights and i have a thousand blurred images to show for it, yes i got a few keepers, but just take the plunge and get a few strobes. even the $59 160 ws strobes from adorama will get you far beyond the home depot setups. my vote, keep the home depot stuff in your garage for changing your oil.

+100  Don't waste time pissing around with hoakie inadequate DIY setups.  Spend a few buck and get the right stuff if you want to get the right images.

May 27 10 10:07 pm Link

Photographer

nwprophoto

Posts: 13915

Kalibo, Western Visayas, Philippines

Lucas Chapman wrote:
Don't waste time pissing around with hoakie inadequate DIY setups.

At least a strobist type set up

May 27 10 10:10 pm Link

Photographer

Wildkat Photography

Posts: 914

Colorado Springs, Colorado, US

I use some clip on spots with 100w equivalent CFLs as fill lights and sometimes hair lights but my "main" light is nature or strobes.  I get the most use out of them when I am shooting stock product photography and need to get rid of shadows.  They can also double as a makeup light or work light so they will be in my travel box for a long time.

May 27 10 10:14 pm Link

Photographer

JWB2

Posts: 5965

Evansville, Indiana, US

May 27 10 10:21 pm Link

Photographer

JWB2

Posts: 5965

Evansville, Indiana, US

Not sure how to post a picture on this forum but here is one I posted on another forum.   
http://stepheneastwood.com/forum/index. … 84#msg1684

May 27 10 10:23 pm Link

Photographer

One Hot Number

Posts: 108

Honolulu, Hawaii, US

Lucas Chapman wrote:
+100  Don't waste time pissing around with hoakie inadequate DIY setups.  Spend a few buck and get the right stuff if you want to get the right images.

Not to mention if your Jerry Rigged device decides to implode at the shoot, then slice's your model and your left with a lawsuit.

May 27 10 10:26 pm Link

Photographer

JWB2

Posts: 5965

Evansville, Indiana, US

Michael Isdes wrote:

Not to mention if your Jerry Rigged device decides to implode at the shoot, then slice's your model and your left with a lawsuit.

Just bounce the light off of a wall.  Never point them directly at any body.  Most lights come with a safety shield anyway.

May 27 10 10:30 pm Link

Photographer

Shadow Dancer

Posts: 5504

Mashava, Masvingo, Zimbabwe

Taken with 3 Home Depot lights bounced off of 2 sheets of foam core:

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/091201/22/4b160b78c2e55_m.jpg

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/100116/00/4b517f369e561_m.jpg

Taken with one Home Depot light and homemade "barn doors" thingie. 18+

http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/15975409

It can be done, not sure if it should be done. Hot lights are HOT!!! You can burn yourself or your house down, to say nothing of blowing a circuit breaker.

I like my strobes much better for the most part.

May 27 10 11:04 pm Link

Photographer

R.EYE.R

Posts: 2835

Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Just finished designing my very own portable modular reflector and made few smaller soft boxes.
Dragonflies in my Macro @ http://www.3byk.org/gallery2/ are lit by 580EX+home made soft box...

http://www.diyphotography.net is a great resource..

May 28 10 09:22 am Link

Photographer

Dream-foto

Posts: 4361

Chico, California, US

robert christopher wrote:
i spent two years, tons of time and who knows how much money trying to build soft boxes with 10 100watt fluorescent bulbs, halogen lights, 5, 4 ft fluorescent double tube shop lights and i have a thousand blurred images to show for it, yes i got a few keepers, but just take the plunge and get a few strobes. even the $59 160 ws strobes from adorama will get you far beyond the home depot setups. my vote, keep the home depot stuff in your garage for changing your oil.

+1
Don't mess around, get a simple strobe, stand and umbrella. It will work so much better than anything you get from Home Depot.

http://www.adorama.com/Als/ProductPage/JTSL160BLK.html

May 28 10 09:29 am Link

Photographer

JWB2

Posts: 5965

Evansville, Indiana, US

AltiFlex 66 wrote:
Taken with 3 Home Depot lights bounced off of 2 sheets of foam core:

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/091201/22/4b160b78c2e55_m.jpg

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/100116/00/4b517f369e561_m.jpg

Taken with one Home Depot light and homemade "barn doors" thingie. 18+

http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/15975409

It can be done, not sure if it should be done. Hot lights are HOT!!! You can burn yourself or your house down, to say nothing of blowing a circuit breaker.

I like my strobes much better for the most part.

I found my mystery man.  I would like to give you proper credit.

http://stepheneastwood.com/forum/index. … 84#msg1684

May 28 10 09:41 am Link

Photographer

Shadow Dancer

Posts: 5504

Mashava, Masvingo, Zimbabwe

JWB wrote:

I found my mystery man.  I would like to give you proper credit.

http://stepheneastwood.com/forum/index. … 84#msg1684

Thanks, credit away!!!

May 28 10 09:48 am Link

Photographer

El Mercurio

Posts: 1784

Houston, Texas, US

Lit using a Home Depot CFL light rig with an aluminum water heater pan attached that was hand formed/beaten into a reflective shape with fender dollies and hammers to direct the light better.
http://modelmayhm-2.vo.llnwd.net/d1/photos/100308/04/4b94eed64aa8f_m.jpg
It's a cool thing, but not really something for everyday.

May 28 10 10:07 am Link

May 28 10 10:19 am Link

Photographer

JWB2

Posts: 5965

Evansville, Indiana, US

AltiFlex 66 wrote:

Thanks, credit away!!!

I did.  http://stepheneastwood.com/forum/index. … 34#msg1834

My whole point of the thread is that the finished product does not know how much money you spent on lights.

May 28 10 10:25 am Link

Photographer

JWB2

Posts: 5965

Evansville, Indiana, US

While I am not getting in trouble for linking another forum.  For eye Candy visit my thread on the same forum  http://stepheneastwood.com/forum/index.php?topic=211.0
LOL

May 28 10 10:28 am Link

Photographer

Opportune Studios

Posts: 387

Hayward, California, US

I guess I am a geek at heart, but part of the fun in photography for me is just using my neat equipment.  I like some guys buy fancy cars, I buy fancy lighting equipment and camera's.  At the end of the day I can have fun just playing around with my equipment learning it better.   I have used hot lamps before and the bulbs blowing out or not giving enough power to create the look I had in my mind becamer too irritatating.  Now with 1000's of WS in power I can do what ever I dream.

May 28 10 10:39 am Link

Photographer

Photons 2 Pixels Images

Posts: 16997

Berwick, Pennsylvania, US

I'm using THESE and similar strobes to do most of my lighting.

They go into a standard light socket and can be triggered as flash activated slaves, PC cord, or even wireless.

One downside is the power output is not adjustable.

May 28 10 10:43 am Link

Photographer

JWB2

Posts: 5965

Evansville, Indiana, US

Photons 2 Pixels Images wrote:
I'm using THESE and similar strobes to do most of my lighting.

They go into a standard light socket and can be triggered as flash activated slaves, PC cord, or even wireless.

One downside is the power output is not adjustable.

I think this would be cool also for a hair light.  I guess you can just move the lights to control them. Is that what you do?

May 28 10 10:51 am Link

Photographer

JWB2

Posts: 5965

Evansville, Indiana, US

Patrick W Photography wrote:
I guess I am a geek at heart, but part of the fun in photography for me is just using my neat equipment.  I like some guys buy fancy cars, I buy fancy lighting equipment and camera's.  At the end of the day I can have fun just playing around with my equipment learning it better.   I have used hot lamps before and the bulbs blowing out or not giving enough power to create the look I had in my mind becamer too irritatating.  Now with 1000's of WS in power I can do what ever I dream.

I don't think you are a geek.  The job is easier for you and there is nothing wrong with that.  I myself like to take things one step at a time.  Why spend a couple thousand and have something setting around and not used.  I am sure you use yours trying new things.  There is something to be said for presenting yourself as a professional also but if the models are cool with the pictures and you are having fun with work lights and learning why not use them until you are ready to lay down the cash.

May 28 10 10:57 am Link

Photographer

Photons 2 Pixels Images

Posts: 16997

Berwick, Pennsylvania, US

On the subject, here is another similar thread....

http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?threa … 568&page=1

And one I started on why I personally use DIY lighting for some things.

http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?threa … 254&page=1

May 28 10 11:13 am Link

Photographer

Photons 2 Pixels Images

Posts: 16997

Berwick, Pennsylvania, US

JWB wrote:

I think this would be cool also for a hair light.  I guess you can just move the lights to control them. Is that what you do?

Yes. The power output isn't so great that you don't need a lot of distance to change the intensity on the subject.

I'm actually now getting my home studio set up with track lighting so I can stick a few of these wherever I want around the room. Then I'll put up some curtain tracks so I can put diffusers/blockers where needed between them and the subject.

The globe type make a great light to simulate someone sitting next to a soft lamp (they'll screw right into the lamp itself) and give plenty of light to light the subject so you can use a faster shutter to minimize movement blur.

May 28 10 11:18 am Link

Photographer

Beyond Boudoir

Posts: 316

Portland, Oregon, US

I started with inexpensive strobes, but wanted to be able to shoot faster than they would recycle.  I also wanted to be able to see the effects better than the modeling lights allowed. 

Not having much money at the time, I bought some 55 watt photo grade compact fluorescent bulbs off Ebay and mounted them three at a time in fixtures from Home Depot that were actually for use on ceiling fans.  A simple home made metal bracket allowed me to attach each fixture to my existing pivoting umbrella holders and mount them to the light stands I had used with my strobes.

When used with my old umbrellas, a pair of these 3-bulb fixtures worked great for a few years.  Many of the studio shots in my portfolio were taken using these lights.  They were, however, quite delicate and had to be handled carefully.  Transporting them to a location was very cumbersome.

About two years ago, I started seeing reasonably priced CFL studio lights show up on the web at:  http://www.skaeser.com/

Having a bit more money at that time, I gradually purchased two of his large softboxes and one 4-bulb boom light to use as a hair light.

Here is one of the lights I am using now:

http://www.skaeser.com/servlet/the-815/ … ATT/Detail

One interesting change over the last few years is that more and more powerful CFL photo bulbs have been coming onto the market.  I found the 55 watt versions to be pretty useful.  I now use mostly 85 watt bulbs and have one big 105 watt monster that I use bare to light up entire rooms.  Just look on Ebay under "compact fluorescent photo bulb" and you will see dozens of options.

One thing I'm starting to notice is that the color varies slightly among the different brands of bulbs.  This usually isn't a problem, but if you light a model with different types on each side, the color balance could be a little tricky.  But maybe I'm being overly critical.

Dr. Mike

May 28 10 11:45 am Link

Photographer

JWB2

Posts: 5965

Evansville, Indiana, US

Images by Dr. Mike wrote:
I started with inexpensive strobes, but wanted to be able to shoot faster than they would recycle.  I also wanted to be able to see the effects better than the modeling lights allowed. 

Not having much money at the time, I bought some 55 watt photo grade compact fluorescent bulbs off Ebay and mounted them three at a time in fixtures from Home Depot that were actually for use on ceiling fans.  A simple home made metal bracket allowed me to attach each fixture to my existing pivoting umbrella holders and mount them to the light stands I had used with my strobes.

When used with my old umbrellas, a pair of these 3-bulb fixtures worked great for a few years.  Many of the studio shots in my portfolio were taken using these lights.  They were, however, quite delicate and had to be handled carefully.  Transporting them to a location was very cumbersome.

About two years ago, I started seeing reasonably priced CFL studio lights show up on the web at:  http://www.skaeser.com/

Having a bit more money at that time, I gradually purchased two of his large softboxes and one 4-bulb boom light to use as a hair light.

Here is one of the lights I am using now:

http://www.skaeser.com/servlet/the-815/ … ATT/Detail

One interesting change over the last few years is that more and more powerful CFL photo bulbs have been coming onto the market.  I found the 55 watt versions to be pretty useful.  I now use mostly 85 watt bulbs and have one big 105 watt monster that I use bare to light up entire rooms.  Just look on Ebay under "compact fluorescent photo bulb" and you will see dozens of options.

One thing I'm starting to notice is that the color varies slightly among the different brands of bulbs.  This usually isn't a problem, but if you light a model with different types on each side, the color balance could be a little tricky.  But maybe I'm being overly critical.

Dr. Mike

Are you really a Doctor?

May 29 10 02:17 am Link

Model

KorianaModel

Posts: 4

Huntsville, Alabama, US

My profile pic was taken with pure daylight from a window on my face.  The light on my hair is from the parabolic shaped shade on a lamp with a 60 watt TG bulb.
As someone mentioned above, foam core is your friend.  I love to use it as a bounce/reflector.

White non-rip nylon is great for diffusing harsh sun light.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v65/earthymoon/DSC_0352-1.jpg

It's also great for making soft boxes.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v65/earthymoon/l_0847f780d6d94cc3e370282c7a649033.jpg

Screw all the naysayers.  DIY can be quite rewarding. It might be more time consuming but it's an art that takes patience to master. It's completely customizable.

May 29 10 02:46 am Link

Photographer

Chuckarelei

Posts: 9562

Seattle, Washington, US

You guys are thinking about light source only. have you given thought of light modifiers from Home Depot?

May 29 10 02:51 am Link

Photographer

Tim Little Photography

Posts: 11597

Wilmington, Delaware, US

I used one of those aluminum pans for cooking a turkey to make a softbox. It was about 18"x30". I took a white plastic trash bag and cut out a section to use as the diffuser. All I had to do to attach it to my Sunpak 383 was to cut a hole in the back. I wasn't satisfied with it and never used it again.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4041/4649881382_981e691f9f.jpg

May 29 10 05:14 am Link

Photographer

slave to the lens

Posts: 9070

Woodland Hills, California, US

Chuckarelei wrote:
You guys are thinking about light source only. have you given thought of light modifiers from Home Depot?

an older thread about DIY modifiers:


http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?threa … 333&page=1

May 29 10 06:24 am Link

Photographer

JWB2

Posts: 5965

Evansville, Indiana, US

slave to the lens wrote:

an older thread about DIY modifiers:


http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?threa … 333&page=1

Thanks for the link.  You DIY people are awesome.

May 30 10 01:16 am Link

Photographer

J Nicholas Photography

Posts: 1485

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

Here is my hoakie piece of junk home depot setup that I pissed away my time building:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3168/2854055980_824c544f02.jpg

shot this with it:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4001/4548318077_8d28f4d657.jpg


I have a ton of Speedotron equipment but I had a ton of fun building and using this rig...because I could. smile

May 30 10 06:27 am Link

Photographer

Jhono Bashian

Posts: 2432

Cleveland, Ohio, US

we have made flat rolling walls 8' tall and 4' wide and parabolic rolling walls with a few building supplies. they can be painted or outfitted with foam core. Roll them into a set as a reflecting wall or paint them black for negative bounce back.

May 30 10 06:33 am Link

Photographer

GER Photography

Posts: 7929

Imperial, California, US

Most of my pics were shot with my DIY CFL softbox, ( six 100W Equiv. 6500K bulbs, Pics of it on my flickr pg. )  Like this one!!;-)

http://modelmayhm-6.vo.llnwd.net/d1/photos/081003/12/48e647d055439_m.jpg

May 30 10 06:38 am Link

Photographer

Ian Brooks Photography

Posts: 577

Kincardine, Ontario, Canada

I made my own sync cords with Home Depot stuff.

I bought PC-to-household (male) plug cables online.  I also bought mini phone-to-household cables.

Then I went to Home Depot and bought some lamp cord and female plugs.  I made several different lengths of extension cord that are female on both ends.  +++ For safety label as photography tool +++

My intention was to be able to use more flashes with the number of Pocket Wizards that I already own.  I still haven't used it to its full potential.  But, it's nice to know that I am not always at the mercy of every high priced piece of equipment out there.

May 30 10 07:07 am Link