Shooting Products and Video Using Home Depot Lighting - Digital Photography School

Shooting Products and Video Using Home Depot Lighting

Being a part of the UNDFIND ONE team, my job was to create the video and stills that would be used for the Kickstarter project.

We had a very tight budget, and I had recently done a behind the scenes video on creating and lighting a unique scene with just Home Depot lights. So, I thought why not do the same thing for the ONE project.

So, in this tutorial, I am going to show you guys exactly how we setup the lighting for this scene to pull off the final shots shown below. The entire budget for the shoot was $1,500, and lighting (including wiring) only cost a total of $265.

Final Result Samples

Samples from the final video – Shot 1080p 30fps on 5D Mark II w/ 100mm @ F/4

Samples from the final set of stills – Shot sRAW on 5D Mark II w/ 50mm @ F/4

The Setup

Step 1 – Flooring and Wall Tiles ($1065 Total cost)

The first step was setting up the flooring and the wall tiles. Interestingly enough, this was actually where the majority of our budget was spent. But, we figured that we would be using this set in future videos, so it wouldn’t be a one time cost.

The entire space is 10×10 feet. So we purchased 100 square feet of wood flooring tiles from Home Depot (which cost around $200) along with 200 square feet of Seesaw Wall Flat tiles to cover both walls. For some reason, these cardboard molded wall flats cost $86 per box and it took 10 boxes to cover both walls. So, yeah, that is where the majority of our budget went as it cost $860. To the attach them to the wall, we simply used 4 pieces of double sided tape per tile.

Step 2 – J.C. Our Lighting Dummy

Whenever I am doing scene setups, I place a lighting dummy where my subject is going to be in order to shape my light. It isn’t reasonable to have a person stand in for 60 minutes as I sit there and mold and shape our light. So, I pop in J.C., our lighting dummy, to give me a nice example of how the lighting is changing as I add and modify each light.

Step 3 – Wiring the Set ($50 in wires and strips at Home Depot)

Concealing cables on a set is always a challenge, especially when you are shooting wide. Luckily, in this video we didn’t shoot wide enough to see the flooring. But, for future videos I knew that we would. But, with the wood tile floors we had a simple solution, we simply ran the cables behind the tiles along the edge of the wall then pushed the wood flooring against the cables to pinch and conceal it against the wall.

Step 4 – Husky Daylight Work Lights ($50 each at Home Depot)

We used two Husky Florescent work lights as uplights to bring out the texture of the wall tiles. We used florescent daylight temperature lights because we wanted the background to be a nice shade of blue, while we white balanced to tungsten that would be used on the subject.


The image above shows the placement of the uplights on the floor. Each is evenly spaced from the corner of the set.

Step 5 – Workforce Tungsten Work Light Stand ($35 at Home Depot)

The next light in our setup is a twin head Workforce Work Light light which we use as a rim light on our subject off camera left.


While using work lights is cheap, there are downsides. Some of which include the heat, the lack of power control, as well as directional control. While we can’t change the first two, we can change the direction of the lighting. To prevent the tungsten light from hitting the uplit walls, I added on a little cardboard GOBO (Go In Between Object). Don’t worry, the light doesn’t get hot enough to burn the cardboard, though just to be safe, I wouldn’t leave the set turned on while I went to do my grocery shopping.

Step 6 – Workforce Tungsten Work Light ($15 at Home Depot)

To define the right side of the subject, I added an additional tungsten Workforce light to camera right.

Step 7 – Tungsten Modeling Light (Can use the $35 light used above)

Since we have modeling lights sitting around the studio, I didn’t need to spend more money on the work lights for our set. So, while we are using a modeling light as the main light, this would look and work exactly the same with the dual light stand used above. The benefit to using a modeling light is that I have a nice little barn door to easily control the direction of the light.

This light is placed directly to camera right and is used as the main light on our subject.

Step 8 – Softening the Main Light ($30 Scrim)

To soften our main light, we are using a standard scrim out of a simple silver reflector kit that can be purchased for $20 – $30 pretty much anywhere. The purpose of softening this light is to prevent hot spots and shine on the subjects face. This is particularly useful as our set is getting quite hot (literally) because of the amount of tungsten lights in close proximity. So, keeping that main light soft is going to help conceal any oil/shine on our subjects face.


The scrim is placed on a stand directly in front of the main modeling light as shown above.

Finished Set


With the ambient room lights off, you can see the final look of our set above. At this point, we are ready to bring in our real subject, and make a few fine tweaks with the light positioning in order to adjust the exposure and any stray bits of light.

Hope you guys enjoyed this little behind the scenes look. To check out this behind the scenes video as well as our other tutorials be sure to subscribe to the SLR Lounge YouTube Channel.

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Post Production Pye I hate speaking of myself in the third person, haha. I am a Partner and professional photographer with Lin and Jirsa Los Angeles Wedding Photography, and the Senior Editor for SLR Lounge Photography Tutorials. I am passionate about photography as an art as well as my part as an educator in the industry. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel and feel free to hit me up with questions anytime on Facebook.

  • http://aprilforever.com Chris

    Epic post! 1st to comment!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/JW-Photo/220514364636193 Joe

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve been asked to do a portrait shoots for a karate studio and was looking for a way to do lighting without spending thousands. How hot did it get on the set?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/joetuna/

  • http://www.kerstenbeck.com Erik Kerstenbeck

    Hi

    This is a great article and explains how to use continuous lighting and not spends a fortune on fancy studio gear! Well done. I would add to shoot in RAW so that you can make adjustments to the White Balance later – hard to know what the color temperatures of your lights are going to be!

    For a simple one light strobe shot like this one, it could have easily been done with a much cheaper setup!

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/boudoir-part-15-keep-it-simple/

  • Scottc

    This kind of project is always interesting and usually has some great ideas we can use. I’d really like to see the final result. Nothing against the writer or the article, just kind of hard to fathom what that may look like based on the write-up. A it pricey as well, at $1500.00.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/sets/72157626664460062/

  • http://www.rosh.com Rosh – Photographer

    Interesting ideas. Home Depot is is an excellent place for light and backgrounds. It’s also amazing all the interesting colors we get form all the new light sources.

    Rosh

  • raghavendra
  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jeet/163550653733694 Jeet

    Great ideas, I think I should visit the local equivalent of Home Depot sometime soon.

    For those saying its expensive … out of the total of $1500, $1060 went for the floor/background and only $265 on lighting. Take this as a Lighting how-to, not as a studio set up how-to.

    And $1500 isn’t that lot if it helps set up a multipurpose corner.

  • http://www.kingmotorsportphotography.com John King

    Nice article. But would have like to see a final photo or two of your model to see the lighting effects you were able to achieve with your setup.

  • http://www.kingmotorsportphotography.com John King

    Duh! I scrolled by the first shots without even looking at them. The final shots came out very nice.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/gipukan gipukan (Rob Gipman)

    Nice to see your promoting/helping other photo ppl to get their msg through! I saw this already when they posted it on they’er web site. They also do great lightroom tutorials. Some also apply to Bibble pro usage with my raw files.

  • kpt_haase

    very interesting! i like how you really go into detail. i don’t like your maths though. i suggest you correct it to 100 sq ft floor and 200 sq ft of walls.

  • http://www.slrlounge.com Post Production Pye

    Thanks kpt for the note, I fixed the error.

  • http://annaraine.deviantart.com MadisonRaine

    lighting dummy! That is such a good idea!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/47167603@N08/ Timor Kuliev

    I personally think DIY for lighting is wast of time and money, unless you will use this lighting else where, just go to ebay and order cheap flash light and triggers, it will be almost the same price, but much more easy to work with, and the flashes still great on manual control

  • http://www.smilingismyfavorite.com Susan

    I work at my local Home Depot and also am a photographer. It’s so cool to be able to see our products be used like this! If I had a place to try this out, I most definitely would. :)

  • Greg

    I love your idea hear. I took your lighting one step further and made my own lights from some flood lights i had in my shop, an electrical box some 14-2 extension cord, and a dimmer switch (I don’t recommend doing this unless you are comfortable with electrical wiring). The great thing is that the dimmer allows me to control the power coming from the lights. Oh yeah i also attached a clamp to the back so they can go anywhere i want them. Two lights cost me less then $50 each.

  • http://www.kimberlygauthier.com/blog Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, Photography Blog

    I use my studio mostly for product photography and I have shop lights that are great. They give me just enough extra to get the shots that I want. The only downside is that they heat up so quickly – but the “products” don’t sweat it.

  • http://www.kimberlygauthier.com Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, Photography Blog

    I use my studio mostly for product photography and I have shop lights that are great. They give me just enough extra to get the shots that I want. The only downside is that they heat up so quickly – but the “products” don’t sweat it (har d har har).

  • http://pictureimages.net Doug Johnson

    I am basically cheap; therefore, I use this type lighting but will add a bracket with a clamp and paper in front to soften the light. White balance can be a problem but an 85w cfl in 5000K gives a warm color but not much heat. This equals a 350watt bulb, lasts a long time and cost me $35 per bulb.

  • Scottc

    After reading this I invested in a home made light box with parts, including the lights, almost exclusively from home depot.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/sets/72157632177265945/

Some older comments

  • Scottc

    December 17, 2012 12:56 am

    After reading this I invested in a home made light box with parts, including the lights, almost exclusively from home depot.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/sets/72157632177265945/

  • Doug Johnson

    January 17, 2012 01:40 am

    I am basically cheap; therefore, I use this type lighting but will add a bracket with a clamp and paper in front to soften the light. White balance can be a problem but an 85w cfl in 5000K gives a warm color but not much heat. This equals a 350watt bulb, lasts a long time and cost me $35 per bulb.

  • Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, Photography Blog

    January 15, 2012 09:36 am

    I use my studio mostly for product photography and I have shop lights that are great. They give me just enough extra to get the shots that I want. The only downside is that they heat up so quickly - but the "products" don't sweat it (har d har har).

  • Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, Photography Blog

    January 15, 2012 09:36 am

    I use my studio mostly for product photography and I have shop lights that are great. They give me just enough extra to get the shots that I want. The only downside is that they heat up so quickly - but the "products" don't sweat it.

  • Greg

    January 14, 2012 08:06 am

    I love your idea hear. I took your lighting one step further and made my own lights from some flood lights i had in my shop, an electrical box some 14-2 extension cord, and a dimmer switch (I don't recommend doing this unless you are comfortable with electrical wiring). The great thing is that the dimmer allows me to control the power coming from the lights. Oh yeah i also attached a clamp to the back so they can go anywhere i want them. Two lights cost me less then $50 each.

  • Susan

    January 13, 2012 02:26 pm

    I work at my local Home Depot and also am a photographer. It's so cool to be able to see our products be used like this! If I had a place to try this out, I most definitely would. :)

  • Timor Kuliev

    January 13, 2012 07:09 am

    I personally think DIY for lighting is wast of time and money, unless you will use this lighting else where, just go to ebay and order cheap flash light and triggers, it will be almost the same price, but much more easy to work with, and the flashes still great on manual control

  • MadisonRaine

    January 13, 2012 01:06 am

    lighting dummy! That is such a good idea!

  • Post Production Pye

    January 12, 2012 05:55 am

    Thanks kpt for the note, I fixed the error.

  • kpt_haase

    January 12, 2012 05:52 am

    very interesting! i like how you really go into detail. i don't like your maths though. i suggest you correct it to 100 sq ft floor and 200 sq ft of walls.

  • gipukan (Rob Gipman)

    January 12, 2012 03:20 am

    Nice to see your promoting/helping other photo ppl to get their msg through! I saw this already when they posted it on they'er web site. They also do great lightroom tutorials. Some also apply to Bibble pro usage with my raw files.

  • John King

    January 12, 2012 01:43 am

    Duh! I scrolled by the first shots without even looking at them. The final shots came out very nice.

  • John King

    January 12, 2012 01:40 am

    Nice article. But would have like to see a final photo or two of your model to see the lighting effects you were able to achieve with your setup.

  • Jeet

    January 11, 2012 07:31 pm

    Great ideas, I think I should visit the local equivalent of Home Depot sometime soon.

    For those saying its expensive ... out of the total of $1500, $1060 went for the floor/background and only $265 on lighting. Take this as a Lighting how-to, not as a studio set up how-to.

    And $1500 isn't that lot if it helps set up a multipurpose corner.

  • raghavendra

    January 11, 2012 01:57 pm

    Wow, this is interesting
    and costly :)

    http://raghavendra-mobilephotography.blogspot.com/2010/09/candle-light.html

  • Rosh - Photographer

    January 11, 2012 01:10 pm

    Interesting ideas. Home Depot is is an excellent place for light and backgrounds. It's also amazing all the interesting colors we get form all the new light sources.

    Rosh

  • Scottc

    January 11, 2012 11:42 am

    This kind of project is always interesting and usually has some great ideas we can use. I'd really like to see the final result. Nothing against the writer or the article, just kind of hard to fathom what that may look like based on the write-up. A it pricey as well, at $1500.00.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/sets/72157626664460062/

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    January 11, 2012 11:36 am

    Hi

    This is a great article and explains how to use continuous lighting and not spends a fortune on fancy studio gear! Well done. I would add to shoot in RAW so that you can make adjustments to the White Balance later - hard to know what the color temperatures of your lights are going to be!

    For a simple one light strobe shot like this one, it could have easily been done with a much cheaper setup!

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/boudoir-part-15-keep-it-simple/

  • Joe

    January 11, 2012 07:45 am

    Thanks for sharing! I've been asked to do a portrait shoots for a karate studio and was looking for a way to do lighting without spending thousands. How hot did it get on the set?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/joetuna/

  • Chris

    January 11, 2012 07:42 am

    Epic post! 1st to comment!

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