Hobbyist Forums banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,019 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have these inexpensive clip lights I bought at Lowes awhile back for use in photographing my models. I've learned that it is often desirable to diffuse the light, softening it so as to give more even illumination to your subject and reduce the stark contrast between light and dark from strong shadows you would otherwise get from using an uncovered bulb.
I've tried a few methods to achieve this effect; one involved placing translucent florescent lighting panel material over the face of the lamp using duct tape, another used duct tape to tape T-shirt type material to the lamp

Recently, I decided to try something new. The clip lights are 8.5" in diameter. I found these 8" wooden embroidery hoops at Michaels. Unscrewing the outer hoop I hot glued the inner hoop to the outer rim of the lamp:

Lamp by trekriffic, on Flickr

Then I placed a square of this frost cover fabric I had laying around for protecting outdoor plants from frost over the front of the lamp. It's very light with tiny holes in it that will allow for air to circulate around the bulb which is an incandescent. I wrapped it over the rim and the inner hoop. Then I screwed the outer hoop down tight over the cloth using the thumbscrew to stretch the fabric tight:

Lamp by trekriffic, on Flickr

Lamp by trekriffic, on Flickr

Then I trimmed the fabric from around the back side of the outer hoop:

Lamp by trekriffic, on Flickr

I'm pleased to say the hoop and frost cover fabric worked well as a diffusing mechanism:

Lamp by trekriffic, on Flickr

The hoop cost less than 2 dollars from Michaels and the fabric (purchased from my local hardware store/garden center) was not too expensive either. Aside from being inexpensive this approach is superior to taping material over the lamp from the perspective of removing the diffusion material more easily by just unscrewing the outer hoop. You may also wish to take shots of your model in scenes using a red, yellow, or some other color glow and swapping out the white cloth for colored cloth should be easy to do if you want to get creative with your lighting effects.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,019 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I'll try to post some images of my new lighting/backdrop setup when I take my next round of model pics. Someone on one of the forums I visited mentioned using PVC irrigation tubing and fitting to make stands for clamp lights. They also included a link to a how to video. So, following the instructions on the video, I made two clamp light stands. Then I took it a step further and made a large framework for hanging a cloth or foamcore panels from as a backdrop; it will also support the background fill light. Best of all it was cheap, under 20 bucks at my local hardware store for five foot sections of 3/4" tubing and the tees, elbows, and coupling fittings needed to make the frame. I spent about the same to make the two stands. So under 40 bucks for a rather decent photography setup. I also purchased some full spectrum CFL bulbs so my models will be lit with natural light from now on for more faithful color reproduction in my photos.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,986 Posts
Good tip.

Caveat: watch out for heat buildup and don't let the bulb touch the fabric. You might be fine with CFLs, but it's good to be safe. Rosco sells "tough" diffusion material that's heat-resistant.

The key (hah!) in softness is the relative size of the source to the subject, right? Larger source/subject ratio means softer shadow edges, with more of a wraparound light effect. (The closer the source, the larger its relative size to the subject. Move a light closer to the subject to soften the light and let it wrap around the subject.) By diffusing the source as you have, you've effectively increased its size, for a given distance & subject, from bulb-sized to reflector-sized.

Got a CRI (color rendering index) value for those bulbs?
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top