In our latest DIY Photography Hacks post we appeal to macro lovers everywhere and show you how to make a simple tabletop studio from paper and lamps.
With macro, you don’t need lots of fancy equipment for good indoor lighting. Cheap table lamps can make great macro studio lights, and a roll of poster paper is a perfect background.
Constant lighting from bulbs, rather than flash, works best, because you can see results as they happen, and bulbs are a powerful directional light source.
The bulbs won’t be daylight-balanced, so use custom white balance to set the colour temperature (you can fine-tune it later in Photoshop). Coloured gels work wonders too, so read on…
01 Watt the world needs now…
Buy two energy-saving bulbs of varying power, such as a 12W and a 20W. These are ideal for creating a mini pro studio setup, with the most powerful light acting as a key light and the other as a fill.
02 Everything just gelled
Cut some coloured gels from some cheap A5 document wallets. Simply cut a square slightly larger than the lamp diameter from the largest side of the wallet.
03 Bulldog spirit
You’ll need to fix the gels onto the lamps slightly proud of the hot bulb to avoid melting. Clamp two small bulldog clips to each side of the lamp rim and slot the coloured gel between the clip handles.
04 Get on a roll
To obtain a neutral background, get some poster paper, or even old wallpaper, and roll it out on a tabletop. Fix one end to a wall and drape the other end across the tabletop.
05 Shoot the fruit
Experiment by placing the lamps at varying distances from your subject. Of course, you don’t have to use the coloured gels, but they’re great for injecting background colour as well as subtle tints.
06 The final cut
With a balanced and powerful macro setup, perfect studio lighting can be achieved. Balance the colour by shooting using a custom white balance in-camera, or fine-tune the raw file in Photoshop.
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