When you first start out in the field of photography, you may not have a professional studio, or the budget to but expensive lighting equipment.

But that does not mean that you should give up on your passion and drive to produce the highest quality pictures possible. There are many ways that you can improvise!

Here are 8 easy and cheap D.I.Y. lighting set ups that D Scott Carruthers recommends will allow you to create the photographs that you know you are capable of.


1. Ring Flash Out Of Milk Cartons

A ring flash is a common tool that is used in photography to create a unique lighting effect, especially for fashion photography. The ring flash usually is situated around the lens of the camera, but can also be situated out to the side.

You can create one on your own by cutting a plastic milk jug into the shape of a ring flash. Get the same shadowless light with a halo around your subject, and save hundreds of dollars at the same time!


2. Light Table

When you want to light up your subject matter from the bottom, you can use a light table. Make your own by fitting a cardboard box with a glass plate on the top face of the box.

Then, put a light inside of the box, shining directly upwards, into the glass “window” of the box. Place the item you want to shoot ontop of the glass plate.


3. A Grid Spotlight

Grid spotlights create the effect of highlighting one object in your photo shoot, over the other objects. In essence, a grid spot light is separating beams of light in order to create this unique, focusing effect.

Create your own grid spotlight by using many straws or cardboard, cut and taped together, as a filter for your lighting.


4. White Backdrops

Since white backdrops reflect light, instead of absorbing it, simple white backdrops can have a powerful effect on your lighting scheme.

Use a sheet, paper, or table cloth for this reflective lighting tactic.


5. D.I.Y. Light Diffusers

When you want to soften the lighting in the area of your photo shoot, try creating a screen to place over spherical light bulbs.

When you literally flatten the light by placing something flat in front of (but not touching) the bulb, you will find that your lighting softens and looks more professional.


6. Spot lights

Remove shades from your regular, interior lighting fixtures and see what a difference it makes. Angle lights using props in order to focus the light stream in on one particular area for a spotlight effect.


7. High Voltage Flashlights

Tape or wire several high voltage flashlights together for a powerful light source that will light up an entire area, for larger shoots.


8. Light Tent

Create a light tent by cutting a cardboard box and fitting all sides of it (except for the bottom, and one open side), with a translucent material.

The material that you use should be see through, but not clear. A white sheet, or thin white paper will work well.

Then, shine a light source into the box, possibly even from several different angles.

A light box creates nearly shadow less lighting that is perfect for some types of photography.

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