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30 December 2006

Under $20 Photo Light Diffusion Unit

To photograph books (or any table top arrangement of small objects) I have assembled inexpensive supports for a backdrop, a base, and two diffusion screens.

In a post here I stated that this could be done for under $20 with a bit of scrounging in flea markets. Well I got everything I needed for almost exactly $20 despite the fact that I bought the main light new at a hardware store for $13.

It is impossible ,in a single post, to load all the photo images needed to show readers how the setup is assembled and how I transport the various items for working on location in a bookstore. So I will run consecutive posts with headers that point to the relevant images from this morning's 'dry run' to test various lighting arrangements on various objects.

The first two items I found were standards to hold fabric for diffusing the light from two high intensity lamps. You could also use the neon variety of screw-in bulbs, each in a reflector. (Price = 2@ $1.99 = $3.98)

Next I found a flat plastic affair with creases that divide the unit into two tall panels and a slanting platform. You will see it; it's the blue contraption. I place a book on the slanting section after draping a towel or other backdrop over the back, front and sides of the boxlike frame. (This thing was made to fold shirts. After draping a shirt over it, one folds the panels on the side and then the front section and the shirt has straight folds for packing or for stacking in a drawer.)
(Price = $0.50 Balance = $4.48)

Finally, I bought a new goose-neck high intensity lamp that holds a 20 watt halogen quartz bulb. (Price = $13.00 Balance = $17.48)

This is starting to add up like the card game Blackjack, or 21. My outlay of cash did break the $20 challenge I set myself if you include the halogen quartz bulb I purchased to replace one that burned out on a lamp I intend to use for a second light. That cost $7.98. But since I did not use this lightsource in any of the photo images you will see here today, we won't count it.

Total cost: $17.98 Refer to the post HERE to look at a commercial unit costing $99.


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