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How to Build and Use DIY Strip Light Modifiers for Speedlights

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Do you enjoy making your own lighting gear instead of spending hefty fees for commercial products? Here’s a 10-minute tutorial by photography instructor Joe Edelman on how to build and use your own strip light modifier for under $25.

Edelman says that a lot of current modifiers are expensive and that spending anything from $125 or more on a modifier that only gets occasionally used is “too much for [him] to justify,” so he decided to create his own. He also thinks shop-bought strip lights are not entirely practical. For example, having to insert a strobe light entirely into the strip modifier means that you can’t access the controls.

With this DIY model, you are able to mount it either vertically or horizontally while still retaining access to the controls.

To create it yourself, you’ll need the following:

  • 3″ x 60″ Kraft mailing tube with end caps ($4.81)
  • 1″ x 12″ Hook and loop cable tie down straps ($1.09 each)
  • 24″ x 48″ sheet of white translucent plastic film ($10.36)
  • Tripod screw holder adapter ($1.99)
  • Flash speedlight umbrella holder ($4.33)
  • 1″ flat washer
  • 1/4 20 x 1″ screw
  • Jigsaw / table saw / sharp utility knife

The video also includes some great tips for how to actually use the strip light in the studio.

For example, with the strip positioned on the right (and with the majority of the strip at a height to ensure light falls from above) a very nice portrait can be taken with just a single light source.

Here are some other examples of different setups, as well as the resulting images:

Reflector added to left of camera.

Clam shell setup.

Check out the full video above for a more detailed walkthrough on building and using this type of strip light. You can also find more of Edelman’s videos through his YouTube channel.

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