Posts Tagged diy

DIY Background Support for under $30


I wanted to do some seamless white shots… so I bought some pure white paper… but I didn’t have any way of getting that paper off the ground… so, looking into my options…. I could buy a background support system for $150… too expensive… I could buy 2 light stands, 2 super clamps and a pipe…. totaling somewhere over $100… too expensive… But in addition to that… I had an interesting space constraint. The room itself isnt that big… so this background has to go behind speakers and a giant heater. So, I can’t have wide legs from the light stand holding this stuff up. The perfect solution… buckets of concrete.

Building Bucket o’ Concrete Background Support System

STEP 1 – Make a trip to your local hardware store and buy the materials :)


STEP 2 – Cut posts to length (if necessary). These posts were 8′, and that is probably the perfect height for the stands but unfortunately our ceiling is only 7.5 ft, so I ended up cutting these to 7ft.


STEP 3 – Sand and seal. Take something like 100 grit sand paper and sand them down! Then spray with polyurethane.

Building a background stand

STEP 4 – Place post in bucket (its easiest to clamp the posts to scrap wood to keep it in place) and pour in dry concrete mix. Then add water and mix.

Building a background stand

STEP 5 – Let dry. Depending on what type of concrete you use… it may take a few days for it to be ready for use… mine said wait 24 hours before subjecting it to stress.


STEP 6 – Attach hooks, insert PVC to roll of paper, place roll on stand.


STEP 7 – Take awesome photos!

This works for any background but I went with white. You could probably also have multiple rolls of paper if you get multiple hooks and PVCs… but I’m good with my white for now :). Plus, it doubles as an excellent projector screen!

If you’re shooting seamless white, Zack Arias has a good tutorial .

Materials/Approx Costs
(1) Bag of Concrete – $2
(2) 2×3 studs – $4
(2) buckets – $6
(2) hooks – $12 (should’ve found cheaper ones, but whatever)
(2) screws (for the hooks) – cheep, had some lying around.
(1) PCV pipe (for background paper) – $3

Total: $27

Some test shots:

Camille’s Halloween Costume









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Build your own remote!

I’ve been telling myself that I’ll do a write-up on how to build one of these for a long time now… its pretty trivial but my friends always ask me how to do it. Anywho, I stumbled upon a site that’s already done it for me, so I’m just going to link you to it.

or for something more interesting,

Though, (for the first link) instead of using two switches, you really need only one switch to do bulb exposures and two push buttons for normal triggering.

And if you’re not shooting with a rebel camera, but rather one of canon’s higher-end models… you’ll need a way to connect the remote to the proprietary n3 port. I wrote a post on this a while back… you can nab a 3.5mm to N-3 adaptor (see:



Building a 24″x36″ collapsable softbox for under $15!


I’ve always wanted a softbox… and I found some tutorials online for a DIY softbox but as great as they were none of them were collapsible. I don’t have a lot of space so as much as I’d like softbox, I cant have a giant box taking up tons of space lying around. So I came up with this idea to make a collapsible one using rods (like you use to build a tent)… so the problem became finding the right material which would bend but stay straight when you released the tension. I eventually found these Reflector markers at Home Depot which were made from Fiberglass which were perfect. So I built this and bought some fabric… and bam… I have a softbox! I’ll eventually build myself a second one and I’ll take photos step-by-step and post some instructions… but this was just kind of my little experiment… so I didn’t document the steps because I honestly didn’t know what I was doing :P. But I have a materials list below, so If you want to try it… you shouldn’t have too much trouble figuring it out from my photos. And feel free to email me or leave a comment!

The rods I used:
Photo 8

Materials (from Home Depot)
(2) Break Resistant Fiberglass Reinforced Rods (From Reflective Markers) – $1.98 ea.
(2) 36″ rope/string/twine
(2) 3/4″ x 8″ square wood – $0.52 ea.
(2) 3/4″ x 3′ square wood (cut off 1′ for the rear frame) – $1.56 ea.
(4) 3/16″ x 2″ Eye Bolt with Nut – $0.98 for a bag of 2
(4) 2″ screws
(1) 3/8″ x 1″ hexbolt course thread (for attaching to lightstand 5/8″ male stud) – $0.18 ea.
(1) 1/4″ x 1″ hexbolt course thread (for attaching to 2nd lightstand 5/8″ male stud) – $0.11 ea.
(1) Simpson Strong Tie – $0.68 ea.
(1) 2 yrds x 44″ white fabric from Beverly’s @ $1.97/yrd
(1) 1 yrds x 44″ black fabric from Beverly’s @ $3.99/yrd

Some Photos
(I should’ve spent more time on these photos but I am far too busy for that… these are SOC processed in LR)

Testing out the softbox.


Before I went out and bought fabric, I used some garbage bags temporarily.



The Eye Bolts to hold the rods


The strong tie/bolt to attach the umbrella mount.


The bolt to attach the box to the umbrella mount.


The string to hold the top and bottom of the frame together.


More photos of the completed softbox (though I haven’t had time to sew the fabric yet so they’re just clipped on… which is fine… because I’d question my own sewing skills 😛 ):



Test shots with the softbox:

Softbox Only:


Softbox + White card bounce:


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