If you’re doing portrait photography, grid spots are a must have. These amazing contraptions help you have more control over the intensity of your flashes light. Because they prevent light spillage, grid spots illuminate your subject perfectly, making he/she pop out from the background. Grid Spots are actually more preferable than other light modifiers because of their ease of use, their small dimensions and the fact that they don’t interfere with the mood of the background. When you think of what really goes into making a grid spot, you’ll realize that this cool product falls prey to the aggressive pricing that most photography products do. Instead of overpaying for a grid spot, it is easier to make one. For learner photographers, it is also an important lesson on lighting! Price is not the only reason you’d want to know how to make and test grid spots. On that fateful day when you’ve somehow forgotten your grid spot during a shoot, if you know how to make one, you won’t have to throw in the towel and call it a day. This article will show you how to make your own DIY grid spot, and show you how to test it to make sure it works fine. Keep reading to find out more.
DIY Grid Spot Build
This is probably one of the simplest builds I’ve seen. And it will cost you next to nothing, if not nothing. All you need to make this DIY grid spot is a tag board, some masking tape, some black straws, a ruler and a blade for cutting. You probably have all of those tools in your workshop. If not it is incredibly easy to access them! And best of all, with this build you don’t have to get your hands all messy with glue.
Begin the build by cutting the black straws into 11/2” sections. Be careful not to cut yourself. Blades are unforgiving. Once done move the straw pieces aside and grab your masking tape. Ideally, your tape should be 24”. Pull a strip of tape and place it sticky side up on your table. Following this, start placing your black straw pieces on the tape (belly side on the tape). For best results start from the center then fan out in each direction. Once done, fold over the last sticky sides on each end onto the black straws. After that process is done, you now need to measure your speed lights dimensions in order to modify the tagboard into a housing unit. Do so using a ruler or a tape measure. For best results measure directly on the tagboard, lightly marking each dimension on the board. To make folding creases on the tagboard, lightly scrape it with your blade. Be careful not to make full cuts. Fold the tagboard into a box then test it out on your speed light to confirm the fit. Once you’ve confirmed that it fits snugly, you may tape it, to give it its final form. After making the housing unit, all you need to do is to fold the black tape into a box shape. To do so, simply use the top part of your forefinger to measure out the length. Fold according to that length. Once done, ensure that the rolled up black straws fit snugly in the housing unit. If you don’t like the first folding method, there’s an alternative. Using the top part of your forefinger as a guide for folding length, fold the black straws in a zig-zag format (front then back). Each time you want to fold back, remove a single straw to make it easier. Once done secure the folded black straws with masking tape, and place them into the housing unit. You are now the proud owner of a self-made DIY Grid Spot!
Testing your DIY Grid Spot
As mentioned in the introduction, the purpose of a grid spot is to control light emission. The lighting in portraits done with a grid spot is very different from those shot without (and frankly more appealing). Grid spots make the subject stand out from the background. They do this by preventing light spillage.
Testing your DIY grid spot will, therefore, be quite easy, having the knowledge above. Simply take a portrait photograph of a subject without using your DIY grid spot. After, fit your contraption onto the speed-light and take another photo of the subject. Compare the two. The lighting subject should pop out from the background, in the photo shot using a DIY grid spot. More so, the lighting should be directed in the area around him as opposed to being diffused everywhere.