DIY Lighting Ideas

As community college students, many of us are on a tight budget. For those that are creative, however, there are ways to get creative with light on a budget. Using several different DIY techniques, we can add a little extra “pop” to our pictures on the cheap.

One example is the shopping bag light modifier. By placing the bag over single speedlight, you can create great lighting for portraits.


Photograph taken with the shopping bag light modifier.

Another example is making a beauty dish out of a salad bowl. This one is definitely more involved, but if you already have access to the tools used, the cost are minimal. Here is a great step-by-step guide on how to create it.


Salad bowl beauty dish

Shower caps can also be used over a lighting kit to give you a softbox effect. The video tutorial below shows how you can construct your own.


Another person even created their own lightbox with cardboard boxes, tape, and a plate of glass.


DIY Lightbox

These are just a few of MANY ideas for those on a budget to get some unique lighting in their photos. We discussed even more in class about how to use tin foil and foam board to manipulate light. This is important for us, as pinching as many pennies as possible is often a requirement for those just starting out. This also helps us start to think outside of the box and get creative – a very important quality for communication majors. It just goes to show, it isn’t always the equipment that makes the photographer. Being creative with what you have is far more valuable.

– A. Joseph


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