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How to Make a Dirt Cheap Lighting Studio

Whether you are interested in lighting for photography or video, you can find solutions that won’t break the bank. Since breaking the bank was my primary concern, I had constructed an inexpensive decent light studio with improvised odds and ends that served my purpose very well. Although it was was a good option for beginner videos, after almost two years of using this method, I was ready to step it up a notch.

My budget light studio:

  • 2 Clamp-On Metal Work lights
  • 2 50 Watt Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
    • The “Natural” or “Daylight” kind of bulbs are very important as to avoid looking yellow
  • 2 Translucent Collapsible Clothes Hampers (got them for $5 each at IKEA)

This allowed me to have a cheap and effective way to put out soft, diffused light for photos and video, and looked something like this:

Old Lighting "Studio"

Important Note: If you have been holding back in making your own videos or trying some freelance photography because of the costs of lighting, don’t! Sharing your creativity with the world has never been easier, and the above set up had people thinking that I had my own professional light department! 😉

Though the budget studio comes close to the ‘real deal’, nothing can really compare to the quality and convenience of the real thing. Check out this video of my brand spanking new setup:

How much do you think the above arrangement cost me?

The stands, the natural-light bulbs, umbrellas and green “screen” was priced only a bit above $150. Granted, some lights offer more advantages than others but there are a few sources for equipment for your average YouTuber or non-professional videographer/photographer.

Great places to look for novice lights, gear and advice:

  1. EphotoDiscount Wholesalers
    • I was lucky enough to find this retailer in my area, but they also ship anywhere in the United States for outlet costs!
  2. ProPhotoLife – This professional teaches us amateurs about getting the best out of your self made lighting endeavors. Most of the videos featured here require a bit more labor intensive than my method but are definitely worth it!
  3. Etsy – With this fun video he expands a bit more on the work light idea that I outlined, along with integrating some more semi-professional light options.

I’d like to especially thank..

Clay Enos – He has a stunning photo blog that motivates me to “Make Pictures” and videos better on a constant basis.

A.J – Who’s high standard in video making pushed me to that next level, him initially showing me the concept of video equipment wholesalers.

You – For without you guys, none of this would be possible. <3