Lighting on a Budget
Empty pockets. It happens to all of us, photographers especially. It’s easy to spend all your money on a camera and forget about that thing called “lighting,” that is either going to make your pictures stand out or look pretty standard. I know all these examples don’t necessarily apply to shooting action/wake photography but some do and others are good to know if you are looking to mix it up from time to time.
10. Sodium Light
This is basically a street lamp or something you would find on a dock to attract fish or what your buddy uses to grow that funny stuff in his basement. I came across one at a garage sale for $5 and I must say it’s a fun light to use though a little on the greenish side.
Cost: $5 to $40
9. Scrap Mirrors
You know you’ve seen people throwing out mirrors broken or even ones in good shape. Or maybe your mom has one you can pull off the wall. However you come across one, mirrors are almost 100% reflective and are great for bouncing light around from the sun.
Another example of a mirror, building are always throwing around crazy light during the day, you just have to look for it. Also when you go inside them there is usually really great diffused light coming through their big windows.
I’ve been looking like Mary Poppins a little lately with this white umbrella I carry around but it certainly serves a purpose. Putting people in the shade on bright days can do wonders, especially if you shade them with things that are kind of see through like an umbrella or bed sheet.
Cost: $15 to $50
6. LED flashlights
You gotta love these things. Great for really long exposures and using the “light painting effect” or just get like 15 of them and light someone and a background up. Tape 3 or 4 of them together and then tape them on something facing the direction you want.
Cost: $30 for 20 (LED’s are SUPER cheap, make sure you don’t overpay at Radioshack or some place like that)
5. Flash Cubes
If you ever hit up garage sales or thrift stores you may have seen this things. They are little one time flashes that people used to use on old instamatic or pocket cameras. You can usually get a couple for cheap and though they only work once, they blast awesome light! Don’t worry video guys you can use them too, they have a really slow “flash duration” that allows them to show up on several frames of video. Wait a minute, what is flash duration? We are not going there, check out wikipedia.
Cost: $2-5 for a pack of three with 12 flashes total
4. White Objects
White is going to bounce light for you and that is something you can always count on. Your shirt, a white wall, a white door, a towel, a boat cushion, whatever it is, use it to your advantage, You can find something white in almost any situation.
3. Construction Lights
The big ones you see in parking lots and construction sites. They usually have their own generator and they are usually turned on even when no one is around. These are a favorite for people who have big unlit parking lots.
2. Christmas Lights with Ping Pong balls as diffusers
I’ll let you know how this one goes. Experimentation is great especially since most new digital cameras allow you to shoot at high ISO without alot of grain or your picture looking too “muddy.”
1. The Sun