Like many people venturing into photography at a more than amateur level, there is a lot of equipment to consider. Lights, diffusers, soft boxes, strobes, stands, backgrounds for studio work. Lenses and cameras to make pictures. Software for post-processing. The list is endless, and the choices are many. Because I am not interested per se in studio work, but rather intrigued by it, I don’t want to spend a lot of money investing in items I may not use more than a few times. I like making things, so I began looking at do-it-yourself projects. Amazing what is out there!
I came across plans for photographic studio equipment called “Tinker Tubes” by Dean Collins at software-cinema.com. These are really cleverly designed, easy to make, and incredibly inexpensive. I decided to make small frames to use as reflectors and diffusers, and put together frames measuring 2 x 3 feet. Being a novice to PVC pipe, primer, and glue, a small project made sense. Then, I followed Collins’ footing plans to support the frames.
The coverings were easy enough, as I’ve done a lot of sewing. I basically made pillow cases to cover the frames, using inexpensive or on-sale material from the local fabric store. I used white nylon tulle for the white diffuser, and for the reflectors a stretchy, shiny gold lame, and a woven metallic silver material. I double stitched all the seams, as well as overcast the edges to keep raveling to a minimum.
The first frame I glued at every corner with an elbow. Then I decided that, rather than just propping them up here and there, it would be a good idea to put them on a stand. I glued the feet, being careful to align the upright T-tube perpendicular to the footing. I didn’t glue the T-tube in the lower portion of the frames because I decided to use them and decide what should be glued, and what should not. Because the entire second frame is not glued at all, it can be angled, as shown above. And, both frames can be easily torn down, and different lengths attached to the footing to allow it to be set up at different angles.
Each frame is lightweight, highly portable, likely to fly away in a wind unless weighted, and dirt cheap. For both frames, including glue, primer, material, and PVC, I probably spent a total of 3-4 hours and about $25.00.
And I have leftovers!