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Low-Budget / No-Budget Lighting Studio


Hormone Induced
Jun 21, 2005
Alberta, Canada
The Jeep of Theseus, Angry Wagon
So, I've been hooked on lighting lately, and I figured it was time to create some sort of miniature lighing studio for myself. I also wanted backdrops of different colours that could be changed easily. However, my budget for the project was approximately $0, so I needed to come up with something extremely cheap and simple. And it had to be made out of stuff I already had, if possible. To make matters worse, I had almost no space to work with! This is what I have created:


It's very, very simple. The changeable backdrops are the backsides of colourful T-shirts that I had sitting around. (One white, one green, one orange, and one black.) These can be found at Value Villiage for a pittance, and can be found in a rainbow of colours. They are held to the wall with duct tape (the photographer's secret weapon) and I "switch" between colours by holding the upper layers to the wall with (you guessed it) more duct tape! The only shortfall to this system is that the shirts can wrinkle, which is easily sovled with a common household clothing iron. In fact, moulding the shirts can have some interesting shadow effects that I intend to make use of.

Lighting comes from two common desk lamps, one with a light diffuser attached (read: piece of paper held on with electrical tape because I left the duct tape in the other room). Both lights are easily positioned and angled. Adding more light sources is as easy as a trip to Ikea.

The other essential bit is the tripod. I already had one, but anyone can buy a cheap but quite serviceable one for $20-$30. Heck, anyone half interested in photography should have one anyway. ;)

The results of the setup are not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I would have a better guage of quality if I had a DSLR and could compare to other studio lights, but I don't, so I can't. Here's 5 images I took today, they're pretty simple:






Feel free to give me some comments/criticizm, etc. Future plans involve more lights and a reflector made of (what else?) duct tape!

Yeah, it's really simple to make and at the same time make it look good.

But you have to pick your background colours according to what you are shooting. I really like the bullet one (even though the bullet is slightly out of focus) and its BG colour, the same with the robot shot. But the wrench doesn't look good with the orange (but it's still great :) ).

Just letting you know my opinions :) Nice shots overall! :thumbsup:
I think I'm going to abandon the green and orange completely, they're too "loud" to be used as backdrops. I might actually spend some money on some thinner and less wrinkle-prone cloth strips from a craft store to use instead of t-shirts. That way I can pick the best colours and have more of them. I also plan to get a couple more lights and a hanging LED flashlight for a spotlight.
Shadows can be distracting. But overall, creative! :thumbsup:

See what happens with an LED flashlight, if one could be aquired.