DIY Softbox

Hi and welcome to this blog post!

Sorry for the enormous delay in posting, but now I’m back with this interesting topic – how to build a softbox the easiest way.

Well, even if I’m using professional stuff most of the time I also like DIY equipment. 🙂

Some photographers will lough now, maybe. But this is a very easy way to get a softbox. Also remind Joe McNally who uses windows with linen in front of them as a giant softbox. There are no borders to create a softbox. You do not always need that expensive Pro-Stuff.

Anywas, the easiest way to build a softbox is to use a carton. Some hardware stores sell those “automatic” cartons. One move and they are ready to go.
So, buy one of these and also a white color spray can. Paint the inside of the carton completely white. That will be the reflector inside our softbox.

In the next step tape velcro on the front edges of the carton and cut the upper carton lids first. Now get a piece of white linen or some other kind of cloth that fits the front of the carton, but let a edge where you will stitch the velcro onto it.
Finally, put the cloth onto the front of the carton and fix both with the velcro.

That’s it. Now you have a great softbox that you can set up and strip down very fast.

You can use the handle holes of the carton to put the softbox onto a stand. Also try to mount it onto a c-stand. I use Superclamps to fix it. Maybe you have another great idea how to fix it on a lightstand – just write a comment. 🙂

This softbox is more for indoor than outdoor use.
The results are great. Don’t worry the softbox function is always the same. You really do not need to buy expensive softboxes for your home photo studio.

There are lots of carton types. Just use a bigger and flatter one for a much bigger and softer light. Feed all of them with one, two or more Speedlights.

Here is my very fast version of that softbox:

I used any carton I had at home.

For the inside of the carton I used aluminum foil, because I had not any white color at home. I made that very sloppy because it doesn’t matter how detailed you work. Just remember: It has to work not to look great. 😉

In the next step I mounted the carton onto a light stand. Therefor I used Superclamps – one underneath another one above the handle hole of the carton.

Finally, I put a Nikon SB-800 into it and covered the carton with a white cloth.

And here you can see the result:

Looks like the light out of a typically softbox. Isn’t that kool? Of course it is. 🙂 Just give it a try and maybe you can do it even better. 😉
Have fun.

Bye!
Chris

Shooting Car Interiors – In An Improvised Studio

Hi and welcome to this blog post about how to shoot a commercial-like car interior photo in an improvised studio.

! Before I will come to the topic, I want to note that I will publish blog posts in a regular basis from now on – every 1st and 3rd Sunday of a month.

Okay, lets start.

A few month ago, I made my first try on car photography in a more professional and commercial-like way.
Except that I love to drive cars and think that tuning them discreetly is necessary I’m not a real car fan. However, my interest on this field of photography grew because of my ambition to shoot portraits of people in a context to their interests. I started with my grandpa and his 1956 BMW motorcycle and when my cousin Anna-Lena will get her drivers license I also want to take a photo of her and her first car etc. I don’t just want to take an usual photo but something special. To me that “something special” is a commercial-like looking image – shot with professional techniques and camera systems to get high-quality. That’s my approach in all fields of photography that I’m active in. I just love that commercial look and the high-quality.

After I shot an Audi A4 from outside a few months ago, I wanted to take an interior shot this time. Therefor I used a 5er BMW.

At the Audi shoot I recognized that I would need a much bigger white surface to bounce off the flash to flood the car with 5000K warm light.
For the interior shot I built an improvised studio in the garage. The garage was renovated a few years ago and is shiny white now. Because I only wanted to shoot the cockpit of the BMW I would only need three white walls that surround it. I hung up a white plastic blanket to hide the work bench and to have also a plain white surface in front of the car.


Finally, I had three white walls to bounce off the flash to illuminate the car interior with diffuse light.
The wrinkles on the blanket don’t matter because the flash will lighten it up so strong that you won’t see any of the wrinkles in the final image.
Then I drove in the car and began to mount the Nikon Speedlights. I mounted one Speedlight on every roof rail and adjusted it so that its light would bounce off the ceiling and wall. A third Speedlight I just set in the middle of the car roof – it would illuminate the ceiling and blanket in front of the car. Finally, the cockpit would be illuminated from all three sides by a diffuse light.


In the next step, I set up the camera inside the car on the back seat. To have more working space I expanded the trunk by turning down the back seats.
I used a small tripod and arranged it in the right position – in the middle of the car.
To control the Speedlights I used the Nikon SB-800 Commander and set them to manual power. The Speedlights on the left and right were set to group A and the one in the middle to group B – all with an power output of 1/1 and zoomed to 14mm to spread the light as much as possible to flood the cockpit with soft 5000K warm light.
My Nikon D3 was also set to manual mode and I used a Tamron 10-24mm/4.5-5.6 lens.


I thought it would take a bit more of lighting arrangement but right after the second shot the whole shoot was done. Here’s the result:


Very commercial-like.
The white windows an mirrors are easy to select with the Photoshop “Magic Wand Tool” to insert a scenery or whatever.

I gave it a try and inserted the Skyline of Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


However, the next time I will create a 100% realistic car interior image without photoshopping the windows and mirrors …
So, maybe you want to turn your garage into a car studio now, too … Have fun!

Bye!
Chris