Project: Photographic Lighting

Exercise: Making a Photographic Light & Diffuser

For the following exercises you will need an easily moveable source of light and a means of diffusing the light emitted to soften the shadows and highlights a small light source will make on the subject.

Light Source

Fitted With Diffuser

Photographic light source is a 240V, 5500K, 40W,  Studio Photography Light Bulb mounted in a standard bedside lamp base.

I constructed a hood for the unit from an old shoe box and some kitchen foil.

The diffuser was more of a problem as I tried many different materials over the light source but the result was always unacceptable in-as-much-as the diffusion was insufficient to stop a very discernible outline of the lit lamp appearing on the subject.  I eventually settled on two thicknesses of a white, plastic shopping bag, held loosely over the entire front of the shoe box.  Whilst this didn’t prevent the lit lamp image appearing on the subject, it did do the best job of all the materials I tried.

Exercise Learning

I eventually came to the conclusion that shining a light directly at a subject, whether diffused or not, was not the best way to light anything with photographic lighting and that it would probably pay to invest in an umbrella and shine the light indirectly, thus diffusing the light better.


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