Photography Tip

My studio became so crammed with junk that it was impossible for students to move around. Getting rid of some junk would not do the trick because I can’t stop collecting it. So, I spent the day at IKEA looking for tables that would take up less space. On the way out I picked up another piece of junk, a trash bin that cost $1.99.

At home I asked my son to cut a hole at the bottom of the bin. He heated a knife on the gas stove, and it slid through the plastic. If you do this, wear a mask and ventilate, because the knife gets coated with plastic, and when you heat it again, the plastic burns with toxic fumes. I am sure I could have cut the hole with a sharp knife or a saw, but that would have been more time-consuming.

The diameter of the hole is slightly bigger than my camera lens.

Then I turned the trash bin upside down and set my camera on top, with the lens poking through the hole into the bin. I took a few photos, and then took the same photos, under the same conditions, with my old plastic light-diffuser, which cost me almost the same price as my 35mm film scanner: $200.

The photo on the left was taken with my old light-diffuser. The one on the right was taken with the trash bin. At this point I had not Photoshopped either photo.

The shutter speed was half a second in both photos. Using my old light-diffuser I changed the speed to one second.

The photo on the left is the new photo. The one on the right is the one above, the original one taken with the trash bin.

I then Photoshopped the photo that I took with my old light-diffuser. First I made it lighter.

Old eqipment photo, made lighter with Photoshop

Photo taken using my old light-diffuser, made lighter with Photoshop

Then I increased the contrast.

Photo taken with old equipment, with increased contrast.

Photo taken using my old light-diffuser, with increased contrast

And this is again the original photo taken with the trash bin, not Photoshopped.

Original photo taken inside trash bin, no Photoshop.

Original photo taken inside trash bin, no Photoshop

I am sure there are other devices you can use, such as lamp shades and plastic containers, that will produce good results quicker and cheaper than a commercial light-diffuser. They only need to be white and opaque. If they are too translucent, you can wrap or cover them with white paper. If you have a booth tent, the white synthetic fabric walls will do just fine to prevent the glare.

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