Sunday, 8 May 2016

Photographing models - improved lighting Part 2

The diffuser
Having sorted out the shape and how to construct my mini soft-box, it's time to try the contraption out and see whether it actually works! As a diffuser, I took the advice of some of the feedback I have had (than you) and am trying out grease-proof baking paper (£1 a roll from Wilkos)...

I was worried whether this material would be a bit too flimsy, but in the end, I figured that even if I have an accident and pierce the paper-like diffuser I have a whole roll of spare material with which I can replace the damaged piece.

At the moment, you'll notice, the soft-box is held together with tape. This is just so I can quickly put together the prototype and - importantly - take it apart again to use it as a template for a second one. I also need to deconstruct the box so I can add a reflector surface inside the box.

Time to try it out...

Well, that seems to be OK! It has, as I hoped, produced a less focused and softer light which has a wider 'spill'. Although, what you can't see is that there is a bit of a hot spot in the middle, but I how to alleviate that a bit by adding a reflective surface on the inside of the box.

The reflector
The reflective interior of the box will be made of a foil material, probably kitchen foil which would be in keeping with the 'bargain basement' nature of this project. However, I have had suggestions that I crumple the foil first and then flatten it out again so that it's an uneven reflective surface.

I'm sure there is a logical scientific reason for breaking up the surface like this, but I don't know what that is. All I do know is that my professional video soft-box lighting has this sort of crinkly reflective surface on its interior. So, let's see what I can do with cheap (Wilkos) kitchen foil...

The next question is - how do I stick the foil to the cardboard? I wonder if good old PVA would do the job? Only one way to find out...

...Yep. That worked fine. I was a bit surprised! Now to cover the rest of the parts.

Next: I reconstruct the box and test the completed 'mini-studio'.


  1. PVA is good glue for many things. And now you know that to! :-D


  2. Once again I'm deeply impressed by the effort you put in.

    1. Nice of you to say Mr. G, but - to be honest - as it's all just cardboard and sticky tape (a real Blue Peter job) it's been one of the easiest and cheapest things I have done! :)