Making your own photography equipment might seem like a somewhat silly idea. After all, cameras are precision instruments composed of hundreds of carefully made and assembled parts. But depending on your photographic goals, you may very well be able to make a lot of the equipment you need, possibly even the camera itself.
Unless you're a skilled craftsperson, your DIY photo equipment might not look as slick or high-tech as commercially available items, but when you just need the stuff to work, who cares what it looks like? Most photography equipment is based on simple principles: capturing light on a sensitive surface; directing, filtering and reflecting light; and so on. Many of those principles can be replicated with home-built devices, allowing you to try out all sorts of fun techniques without having to spend a lot of cash.
Cameras and Repair
At its most basic, a camera is simply a box that controls the capture of light on a photosensitive element. And while many cameras available for purchase are significantly more complex, it is possible to use that basic simplicity to build your own camera–even a digital camera. There's something deeply satisfying about creating images with a camera you built yourself, and there's also a definite thrill to being able to fix a problem with your camera with a simple adjustment or a bit of know-how.
- How to Make a Pinhole Camera
- How to Make a Pinhole Shoebox Camera
- How to Make a Camera Obscura
- How to Make a Digital Camera from a Scanner
- How to Fix a Stuck Digital Camera Automatic Lens Cover
- How to Fix a Lens Error on a Digital Camera
- Do-It-Yourself Shutter Speed Testing
- How to Make an LCD Screen Protector for a Digital Camera
- How to Make LCD Screen Cleaning Solution
- The Basics of Through the Viewfinder Photography
Lighting, Light Diffusers and Reflectors
If you browse the lighting section in your local photography shop, you may see a dizzying variety of different lighting solutions for various types of photography and assorted situations. But at its heart, lighting is composed of sources of light, things with which to diffuse light (or change its color), and things with which to reflect light. Unless you're an electrician, you'll probably still have to buy your sources of light (tip: inexpensive halogen work lights can be surprisingly useful), but you can make nearly any diffuser or reflector you'll ever need for a fraction of the cost of a retail product.
- How to Make Your Own Ring Flash
- Do It Yourself Color Flash
- How to Make Your Own Softbox
- How to Make Your Own Light Box
- How to Make a Light Box for Free
- How to Make Flash Diffusers for Pop-Up and External Flashes
- Three Ways to Make a Flash Diffuser
- How to Make a Rigid Reflector
- How to Make a Reflective Umbrella
Tripods and Equipment Supports
Really good tripods are expensive for a reason, but there are all sorts of other kinds of camera and equipment supports you can easily make yourself with the right supplies and a good how-to article. From a simple trick to eliminating all but the worst camera shake (a string tripod) to an inexpensive but effective car mount, you'll be able to take your photography further without spending much.
- How to Make Your Own Camera Bag
- How to Make Your Own Custom Camera Straps
- How to Make a Walking Stick Monopod
- How to Make Your Own Gorillapod-Style Tripod
- How to Make a Beanbag "Tripod"
- How to Make a String Tripod
- How to Make a Car Camera Mount
- How to Make a DIY Flash Clamp
- How to Build an Inexpensive Backdrop Stand
- How to Make a Focusing Rack for Macro Photography
Lenses, Lens Adapters and Lens Mounts
A good selection of lenses is a useful addition to any photographer's camera bag, but when some lenses cost more than your camera, it can be difficult and expensive to get the items you need. Luckily, there are some types of lenses and adapters that can be made fairly inexpensively with the right materials.
- How to Make a Lens Hood
- How to Make a Lens Cap
- How to Make a Lens Cap Keeper
- How to Make a Macro Lens for DSLR Cameras
- How to Make a Macro Lens for Point & Shoot Digital Cameras
- DIY Magnifying Glass Macro Lens
- How to Make a Reverse Macro Ring
- How to Make a Fisheye Lens
- How to Make a UV Pass Lens
- How to Make a Microscope Camera Lens Adapter
Filters and Filter Mounts
Although filters are usually much less expensive than lenses, putting together a collection of all the filters you're likely to need in your studio or camera bag can still add up to a significant financial outlay. But many filters are easily made from a variety of inexpensive and easy-to-find supplies.
- How to Make Your Own Filter Mounts
- DIY Custom Color Filters
- How to Make an IR Filter
- How to Make Neutral Density Filters
- How to Make a Polarizing Filter
- How to Make a Soft-Focus Filter
- How to Make a Star Filter
- How to Make a 1.5 Diopter Lens for Your Viewfinder
- Ring Flash Image Credit: DIY Ring Flash by Daniel Schwen [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
- Filter Image Credit: Optical Filters by en:User:Kallemax [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.