DIY Photography Lights


The use of light is essential to photography. To capture an image properly, the photographer has to have just the right amount of light. The best photographers learn how to work with studio lights, but are also able to manipulate natural light. Studio lights don't have to be expensive; in fact, you may have everything you need already sitting around your home.

Studio Lighting

Use a halogen shop light to light large areas. The light needs to be spread out to make it effective, so hang a white sheet in front of the light. Be careful not to let the sheet touch the light itself, as it could be a fire hazard. Use a smaller light, such as a clip-on desk lamp, if you need more precise lighting. Direct the light by attaching a cone, shaped from aluminum foil. Foam boards make excellent reflectors, but you can also use a mirror or an accordion car shade. Reflectors are used to bounce light back onto the subject. This creates a softer, more subdued light.

Natural Light

The best light for a photographer is the natural light you can have for free. Natural light exists everywhere and can be redirected to suit your needs. Keep your subject in front of the light source and use your reflector again. You can add to your inventory of reflectors by painting your foam board with silver and another with gold metallic paint. The different colors will cast back on to your subject. This enables you to work with varying skin tones easily.


The possibilities go on and on when it comes to creating your own studio lighting. Buy clip-on lights with their own reflectors to eliminate shadows on your backdrop. To tint the main light, attach pieces of colored cellophane to the glass just make sure it doesn't get too hot. To soften the main light, use sand paper to cloud the glass. Several yards of white muslin fabric work well as a backdrop and add light to your area. Creativity is the key so keep adding and experimenting and you'll have the studio everyone wants to visit.

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About this Author

Jennifer Gibbons is a freelance writer in Florida. She has been writing professionally since 2001, and her work has appeared in magazines such as "Senior Living" and "Mature Lifestyles." She is working on a Bachelor of Arts at State College of Florida with a major in mass communications. Gibbons is also a professional photographer and an accomplished portrait artist.

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