Thursday, 21 January 2016

Make Your Photography Skills Better With These DIY LED Lights

One of the most important aspect of taking a perfect, crisp photograph is to have good lighting. One of the best ways to have it is to use natural lighting. But what if you want to take pictures of your project to publish on instructables while sitting on your workshop? Well, natural light cannot reach everywhere and everytime. You can't just wait for day and for sunlight to reach your workspace. The only good option left would be to use artificial lighting. There may be several other options for taking photos in dimly lit areas, but they are neither not too effective nor too easy. When taking photos with artificial lighting, you have to make sure that they are powerful enough to provide good light. Most of the lights on eBay and Amazon are too expensive and high power consuming which makes them a work for only professional photographers. The price of most of them can rise to about $20-60 like this one and this one. The fact remains that they are helpful and provide perfect lighting to pro's in their studio but what should we do to take good pictures with cheap lighting?
So here's presenting you a simple and cheap yet effective cardboard LED light panels that can be used to take perfect photos. The cost of each light panel is just around $5 so it easily fit in your budget. Each light panel contains 40 LEDs that provide enough light to take great photos. The panels also have the ability to control the brightness being free from the PWM system that interferes while making videos. The brightness of the panel is controlled by selecting the number of LEDs switched on. This is done using DIP switches that contains several switches in a single small package. Each of the light panels is powered using a separate 5v USB charger. They are much low power consuming than those huge studio lights which also makes them energy efficient. The materials like cardboard used to make it are simple and no power tools are required to make it. You just need some basic electronics and soldering skills which makes it a good weekend project and to get your kids started with electronics. This can not only be used for photography but also for reading and camping.
Here are some features of this lamp:
  1. Is cheap. The cost of each light panel is just $5 which is much lower than studio lights.
  2. Provides great light. An example is given above of the before photo (taken without the lights on) and after photo taken with the lights on after a bit of editing).
  3. Is energy efficient. Consumes very low current when compared to studio lights.
  4. Is made using simple materials like cardboard, tape and paints.
  5. Can be made battery operated by making some modifications.
  6. Can be used in camping and outdoors.
  7. Can be used as a reading lamp.
  8. And many more!!

For step by step instructions, visit:

A working video of this project:

Parts And Tools:
The following parts, materials and tools are required to make one light panel. The total cost of the project was around $5 or 300 INR (for one light panel). All of them can be obtained from your local hobby store or over online stores.

  • 40x Ultrabright white straw hat LEDs (5mm) (Ebay Link)
  • 40x 68ohms resistors (Ebay Link)
  • 1x DIP switch (with 8 switches) (Ebay Link)
  • 1x Old USB cable (Ebay Link)
  • 1x 5v USB charger (Ebay Link)
  • Thin wire
  • Rainbow cable
  • Perfboard

  • Cardboard
  • White papers (for covering as well as taking pictures)
  • Paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Paper adhesive
  • Paper tape
  • Marker
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

  • Soldering iron
  • Soldering wire
  • Hot glue gun w/glue sticks
  • Wire cutter/stripper
  • Pliers
  • Paper cutter

Photo Gallery:

For step by step instructions, visit:

If you have any questions related to this project, feel free to email me or post it in the comment section below.

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Hope you liked it :)

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