How to Light an Amazing Portrait with a Low Cost DIY Lighting Kit

Phlearn is back with a great lighting tutorial using a cheap DIY light setup that costs less than $50. More importantly, Aaron Nace breaks down how to use the lights to get a certain look. He goes further to show his camera’s settings for the shots and how to work with your subject to get the best possible portrait with this setup.

The lights he mentions in the above video can be found currently for $15.99 each here on

Forget the $500 Gimbal; Make a DIY Anti-Vibration Drone Camera Mount for $10

The problem with mounting a GoPro to a DJI Phantom or other drone is that the vibration of the propellers creates a terrible jello effect in the footage. This is the main reason that gimbals have become such a popular accessory for drones. But gimbals are expensive.

Two grad students from USC were searching for a cheaper way to reduce the jello effect in their footage from their Phantom-mounted GoPro. After months of failure in testing several aftermarket products, they finally built their own mount with household items for less than $10.

They discovered that they had to dampen the attachment between the GoPro and the Phantom, which is something that none of the attachments on the market allowed. In the end, they used a pair of sponges and some semi-rigid wires to connect a mount that was constructed from a plastic lid.

The results are impressive and resemble the look of an expensive gimbal when viewing the output footage. You can see a full walkthrough, along with sample footage, in the video above.

Homemade Soft Boxes

5 completed softboxes

I recently decided that I wanted to take my food photography up to another level, and in order to really make that work, I needed some soft boxes to better diffuse light.

The problem was that all of the available soft boxes I could find cost upwards of $100 apiece (and I would certainly need at least two soft boxes to make my setup work). Since this was just a project for sharing amongst my friends, rather than for paying work, I couldn’t justify the expense. [Read more…]

The $60 DIY Camera Bag

DIY Camera Bag

My Vivitar camera backpack has way outlived its shelf life, with ripped dividers and nowhere near enough protection for my gear, and it was time for a replacement. Initial research showed that nearly any of the name brand offerings were out of reach, ranging from $130 for the Think Tank Retrospective Bags, to $300-400 for their rolling cases. While these products are worth every penny typically, my lean budget wasn’t going to accomodate it.

A Cheesycam article perked my interest in creating my own solution out of a padded divider from Calumet, along with a cheap rolling suitcase from a big box store, but those dividers are currently backordered. With the possibility of this sort of solution in mind, I set out to find something similar. [Read more…]