Archivi categoria: doityourself

How to Create a Simple DIY Smoke Effect for Product Shots

This short DIY tutorial by Caleb Pike over at DSLR Video Shooter shows you how to create a great smoke effect for your product shots or B-roll footage—no fancy smoke machine required.

Smoke is an intriguing component of photography, but it’s difficult to produce conveniently and photograph correctly. The direction and thickness of the smoke is never fully under your control and that makes photographing it a challenge. Fortunately, this little DIY technique helps you reign that pesky smoke in.

To do this at home, you’ll need a simple bulb syringe and a smoke-creating vape device made up of a battery and a tank. In Caleb’s case, he used an Eleaf iStick 50W battery attached to a Nautilus Atlantis tank, that he then filled with some kind of vaping liquid.

(Note: Caleb does NOT use liquid that contains nicotine. Nobody is encouraging smoking. Everyone’s lungs are okay. No baby seals were hurt in the making of this video.)

From that point on it’s pretty simple. You press a button on the vaping device to create the vapor, use the bulb syringe to draw it out (sparing your lungs in the process) and then apply that smoke wherever you might need it.

This simple setup is a great way to create and disperse small amounts of smoke exactly where you want it. It’s particularly useful where a big smoke machine would be overkill, filling up the room and ruining your images.

To see the simple idea in action, check out the video above. And if you like this simple tutorial, head over to the DSLR Video Shooter channel for more like it.

(via ISO 1200)

How to Develop and Push the ISO on Color Negative Film at Home

I finally did it! After sitting in my fridge for a few months, I managed to developed myself a roll of CineStill 800 pushed to 3200 ISO, and the results look great! The great thing: it’s actually pretty easy to develop pushed C-41 film at home.

If you don’t know what pushing film means, let me introduce this technique.

Basically, you purposely shoot a roll of film at a higher ISO than it’s intended for, in order to gain extra stops of light. This means that you underexpose your film, then compensate this lack of light by extending the developing time.

Why Would I Do This

If you are shooting in low light or need a faster shutter speed to freeze an action shot, this technique can be helpful.

Black & White film photographers are usually familiar with pushing film because most of them are processing their own film at home, and can adjust the developing time at their convenience.

On the other hand, pushing color negative film is not as common, simply because it requires manual development and most labs can’t (or won’t) do it because the machines they use are 100% automatic. It’s convenient for them because, when shot at box speed, all C-41 films require the same developing time regardless of their ISO rating.

But that’s not an issue anymore and, like B&W film, you can develop color film yourself too!

Before we get started, let me introduce our partner in crime: CineStill 800.

Initially, this was a film used to record motion picture, hence its legendary cinematic look from. The Brothers Wright later made this film usable in C-41 chemistry by removing a layer called “remjet”. This allows us (and labs) to develop it without ruining our chemicals.

It performs best when shot under tungsten lights (city lights) but you can also get great results in daylight by using an 85B filter to adjust the light temperature.

Another advantage of this film is that it can be pushed up to 3200 ISO, and that’s what interest us today.

These images were all shot at night when I was in Vienna for my birthday. I wanted to travel light so my tripod stayed at home and this was the perfect excuse to push CineStill to its limits. You may have guessed it already, but I used my Hasselblad Xpan and its loyal 45mm lens.

About the exposure. Usually, you want to expose for the shadows when shooting color film, but here it was impossible… there wasn’t enough light even at 3200 ISO. So instead, I exposed for the highlights and then added 1 or 2 stops when possible just to make sure that the darker areas wouldn’t be completely black.

Most of the photos were shot between f/4 or f/5.6 and 1/15 or 1/30 of a second.

Now, let’s talk about the home development process. I ordered a Tetenal Colortec C-41 kit that comes in the liquid version. It also exists in powder version, but I guess there are very similar in the end.

Basically, you get 3 solutions:

  • The Developer
  • The Bleach/Fixer (aka Blix)
  • The Stabilizer

Each of them has to be used at a specific temperature, which makes it slightly more challenging that developing B&W, but it’s not complicated at all.

On the instructions, you can read that development temperature should be either 30°C or 38°C. Today, we’ll go for the latter as this is the one suggested for pushing film. It says that developing time should be extended by 30 seconds for each stop (no need to extend the fixer or stabilizer time). Here, as the film was pushed by 2 stops, I should have added 1 extra minute on top of the 3 minutes 15 seconds recommended.

Thankfully, Paul from the Facebook group “CineStill Film Users” suggested adding 1 min 15 sec per stop to avoid having negatives too dark. I knew that my images would be very dark anyway, and was afraid to get too much color shifting by extending the developing time for too long, so I went for an average time and developed for 4 min 45 sec total.

The negatives still came out very dark, but I managed to get the grain contained and the colors represented accurately. Then I slightly increased the exposure in Lightroom by 0.5 or 1 stop just to bring back some details.

One last good point for CineStill is that it’s very easy to scan, and the colors look very good straight out of the scanner. That’s not the case with every color film, as you can see in this article where I show you how to correct color negatives scans.

This result are exciting to me. CineStill 800 is a fantastic film that helps to push the boundaries of color film photography in low light, and I will certainly reproduce this experience.

Also, just to be clear with you guys, by no means am I associated with or sponsored by CineStill for this article. I bought everything with my own money, like the grown up adult that I am ;) It’s just an honest opinion on a film that I admire for its characteristics.


About the author: Vincent Moschetti is an Ireland-based photographer who is in the middle of a year-long experiment where he’s shooting only film photography. You can find more of his work or follow along on this adventure by visiting his website or following him on Facebook and Instagram. This post was also published here.

Shoot Creative Double Exposures by Cutting Out Half a Lens Cap

If you have a film or digital camera that can shoot double exposures, there’s a free do-it-yourself accessory you can use to get creative with the technique: it’s the half lens cap.

Photographer Vincent Moschetti of One Year with Film Only writes that he experimented with this technique using his $1 Smena 8M, a 1970s all-manual, scale-focus camera made during the Soviet Union.

The camera allows you to take an unlimited number of exposures on the same frame of film.

“This is possible because the shutter is independent of the film advance,” Moschetti says. “You can recock the shutter as many time as you want without advancing the film.”

To shoot two distinct scenes onto a single frame, Moschetti created a makeshift half lens cap by cutting out half the surface of a black film canister cap.

He found that this film canister cap fits very nicely over the lens of his Smena 8M’s lens — if you have a different camera and lens, you’ll need to find some other cap to hack up for this.

“Now you simply have to cover one-half of your lens (horizontal or vertical), expose your film, turn the splitter to cover the other half, recock the shutter without advancing the film and expose again,” Moschetti writes.

Here are some of his resulting photos from using this accessory and technique:

After flipping the lens cap, you can also turn your camera upside for the second shot to create a mirrored look:

“It takes a bit of practice to visualize a scene this way and imagine how it will merge with the other, but it’s a very good exercise to develop your creativity,” Moschetti says.

Here’s a 4-minute video in which he shares this hack and technique:

You can find more of Moschetti’s work and writing on his website, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

How to Make a DIY Light Painting Brush for Cool Still Life Effects

A couple of weekends ago I was playing about with some ideas for a new portfolio shot involving a wall clock. Now, this clock happens to look a bit like a pocket watch, and a pocket watch normally has a chain (see where I’m going with this?). So I figured: “what if instead of a chain, I use some wispy light trails?”

After a bit of trial and error, this is the shot I ended up with. This post isn’t really about the finished shot though, It’s about the tool (and I use that word loosely) that I used to create the light streaks.

Of course, these days you can easily buy ready made light brushes, sticks, and a plethora of other modifiers aimed at the avid light painter; but seriously, where’s the fun in that?! In true Blue Peter fashion, I knocked together a DIY light painting brush.

It won’t win any awards for style—in fact, it’s about as aesthetically pleasing as tooth decay—but it did give me the effect I was looking for and it’s super simple and cheap to make. So I thought I’d quickly show you how I put it together and maybe it will help someone who is looking to do something similar.

Here’s the list of parts you’ll need:

  • 1 x £2.99 LED Tourch
  • 1 x Coke Bottle (empty)
  • 1 x Off Cut of Black Card
  • 1 x Snoot Grid
  • 1 x Colour Gel (colour optional)
  • 1 x Roll of Sticky Tape

Honestly gaffer tape would be much better but I couldn’t find any (it’s probably on the floor somewhere) so sticky tape had to do.

Assembly was extremely complex and involved several CAD drawings and a team of engineers. Fortunately though I am now able to present you with a simplified process ;)

Stick The Bottle To The Torch

Adding the bottle to the torch diffuses and scatters the light, helping to create a softer light trail with different brightness levels within it. It almost gives the light a textured appearance, rather than just a solid beam.

Next I cut a piece of black card, made a tube, and taped it around the bottle. It’s basically acting as a snoot, focusing the light at the bottom of the bottle and preventing it from spilling out all over the show. You can, of course, dispense with the snoot, but you’ll find that it gives a different effect and it wasn’t what I was looking for in this particular case.

Wrap black card around the bottle and watch out for light leaks!

I should have made the card longer so it extended all the way over the bottle and blocked up the end. Leaving it short like this meant unfiltered light leaked out and was captured along with the blue light, you can see this in the right hand image above.

(By the way that’s my daughter waving the light stick, if you look closely you can just about see her leopard print pajamas!)

In the end I just wrapped a cloth around the bottom part to block that unwanted light from view.

Next I stuck a blue gel over a grid, it’s the type normally used in a snoot. As luck would have it the little grid is almost exactly the same size as the end of the cardboard tube. Result! So it was simply a matter of fitting the grid into the tube and securing with a little tape.

I wanted a blue light, so the reason for the gel is pretty obvious. The grid was added to reduce the light output (filter helped with that also) and narrow the beam. Without the grid the light was too bright even if I stopped down, and I was getting way too much flare.

And that’s it!

One light painting brush/torch/wand/stick (whatever!) complete. It did the job. The fact that it looks like something a 3 year old made in art class and that it will almost certainly fall apart doesn’t really matter to me. It was the right tool, at the right time. Low cost and low effort.

Here are a few examples of the effect achieved with this DIY light painting brush. These three images are pretty much straight out of camera, they have just had black/white adjustments in Lightroom and the clarity bumped up a bit.


About the author: Darren Turner is a Northern Ireland-based product and still life photographer. You can find more of his work on his website, or by following him on Facebook and Instagram. This post was also published here.

How to Build a Great DIY Lightbox for Under $50

There are a ton of options out there for building your own product photography lightbox, but this is one of the simplest and most functional creations we’ve seen. For under $50, you can build it for yourself.

The tutorial was created spur-of-the-moment by photographer Chris Kuga, who was asked for some product photography while visiting Napa Valley with one of his friends. They needed a lightbox, stat, so they headed to a hardware store and crafts store and were able to get everything they needed for $100. After a bit of thought, that shopping list was paired down to just $50 for this tutorial.

Here’s what you’ll need: white poster board, a large cardboard box, a couple of clip lamps, and some transparent paper or fabric. You’ll also need an xacto knife, some packing tape, and a sharpie.

To build the lightbox, simply close up one end of the box, cut two squares out on either side and cover them with fabric, and then drape the poster board on the inside. Finally, place the lamps on either side of the box, outside of those fabric diffuser panels, and you’re done!

The lightbox drapes your product in nice, soft light that will work great whether you’re using a DSLR, point and shoot, or smartphone. Check out the full tutorial above to see how Kuga built his, and then check out this post to see how you can turn a simple lightbox like this into a 360° photo platform.