December 06, 2012
DIY Indoor Photography Lighting
Most photography tutorials I've come across online proselytize that you should always have a natural light source when you shoot photos, even indoors. But what if you don't have a natural light source?
It's been annoying. Winter = less light = less time. Plus we live in a major metropolitan city. So I can't just waltz outside with a tripod and take my own photos. For me, the solution has been relying on Matt once per week to get my shots for me. We began shooting style posts indoors with a little lighting system that he put together.
In the past few weeks, I've gotten a lot of questions about how to do this, so I thought it would be interesting to show you guys just what goes on behind those shoots!
Is achieved by this. Our rig is actually pretty simple! (If not a little annoying to set up.)
As you can see, the very first step is hanging some white fabric against the wall. You can use any kind or color fabric- even a cute vintage fabric like this girl! But we found that the white really helps the light that we do get bounce back and make the photos brighter.
Note- dark backgrounds absorb light and produce a different effect on photos. See here.
Next, you will notice the lights themselves. Matt picked up these incandescent lights at Home Depot. I think these were the exact ones. He manually pried off those thin pieces of metal crossed over the lights.
The clamps come already attached, and we clamp them onto the backs of chairs. They were insanely cheap... the link says that they're $13, but he swears he paid $5 to $10 each. You do need to buy the bulbs separately though.
Now for the bulbs- We like the incandescent ones. We briefly tried out some fluorescents, for less of a yellow tint in the photos. But they weren't bright enough, so we switched back to the originals. It means having to edit out lots of yellow tones, but it's worth it.
Speaking of brightness- in case you couldn't guess, the lights will be very, very bright. It's hard to get used to at first. But basically, if they are shining directly at your face and you are going blind, it's a good thing :P
Also- they are hot. I was originally wearing a cashmere sweater in our freezing apartment for this, and I had to take it off. Keep this in mind for your skiing/ snowboarding/ xxtreeeem winter vacation clothing shoots :)
Oh, and lastly we use a flash with a light diffuser :) If you're like me, the mention of the word "flash" in conjunction with the word "photography" sends you into fits. But here's the thing- it's very effective when done right. First of all, you can't just go around using the flash that's built into your camera. It's almost always better to use a separate flash, ensuring some (much needed) distance from your lens. Secondly, the diffuser makes a HUGE difference. It softens harsh shadows, and evens out where the light is bounced from.
To be honest, our lighting system isn't completely perfect. There are still weird shadows in some places, we do still get the dreaded yellow tinge, and it can be tough to position everything just right. We're still just learning, and hope to get even better! But it's a great, cost-effective alternative to getting a complete studio light set- even a cheap one can be hundreds of dollars.
I hope this helped some people!! xoxo
♥ watch my new video for "just the way you are" on youtube!! ♥
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