Today I am excited to bring to you a guest post from my boyfriend, Anthony! Every blogger knows that the way to get good photos is by using as much sunlight as possible. After hearing me get frustrated over and over again about how there is no good light in my dorm room to take decent photos with, and I didn't have enough money to buy a nice light, Anthony decided to create a simple inexpensive LED panel light for me. This light has definitely helped to improve my photography game and I am excited to incorporate the photos with it into future posts. Now, after seeing how much this light has eased my photography frustrations, Anthony is here to share with you how you too can make a simple, inexpensive, LED panel light to improve your blog photos! Note: For the purpose of this post all the photos included were taken without the light and with very minimal editing.
A very big part of running a blog is making sure you get good photos and one of the best ways to improve your photos is to make sure you have good lighting. In this post I’m going to show you how to make a simple LED panel light for under $20. This project is very simple and requires no electronics knowledge. Although no soldering is required you can solder on this project if you want to learn how to and practice a little bit.
What to Get
- Wire strippers
- Soldering iron and solder(if soldering, you won’t need the connectors)
Some things shown in the photo are optional items that I used to add onto the light, I go into those more at the end of the post.
What to Do
Cut the LED strips to fit on the back of the clipboard. The start of the reel will have a power plug on it, leave it you will need it to plug them in. The strips can be cut every 3rd led but make sure to look for the cutting symbol and only cut there
Use the connectors to connect each strip to each other. Polarity matters so make the sure the + always goes to the red wire and – to the black wire. Open the side of the connector without the wires and slip the coppers pads on the led strip under the metal tabs in the connects then close it. Do this for all the strips you have.
Optional: If you have experience soldering, or if you want to practice, stick the LED strips down and then solder the strips together as shown in the photo above.
Evenly space the LEDs on the clipboard, peel the backing and stick them down.
Plug it in and you’re done. You now have a super bright and portable LED light to improve your photos.
* Overhead light = indoor lighting.
Step 5 (optional)
Buy a gel to help warm the light. LEDs are always very cool almost sometimes blue which can make you subjects look pale and cold so you can buy color corrections gels and use binder clips to hold them over you light. This gel will make it more like sunlight.
This light will help better light your subject and depending on how you hold it you can get a lot of different effects. For example if you hold if over them you will get a lot of shadows on their face and give them a dark ominous look or if you hold it in front and to the side a bit you will get a soft even light on their face and make them look nicer.
I made mine a bit more complicated by adding a dimmer and a switch that lets it run off battery power for maximum portability. It’s a bit more complicated build and I didn’t want this post to be too long but if there is enough interest I will write another to show how to add those options.
About the Author
Anthony is a 21 year old student in California studying Technical Theatre and preparing to get his pyrotechnics license. Anthony loves making stuff, blowing stuff up, flying stuff, and his two fluffy enormous golden retrievers.