I got sucked into a Model Mayhem thread recently that was about DIY gear (Do It Yourself) versus paying for manufactured equipment. I can't believe how easily I can be drawn into these things. As is usually the case with MM threads, it morphed and distorted and zig-zagged around the original subject but, at first, it remained relatively on topic.
The OP (Original Poster) was wondering if he should make/use DIY gear or should he save up and buy manufactured stuff.
I suggested he use whatever he could until he was able to purchase the real McCoys.
But since, as is often the case on MM, the thread got somewhat personal with a few people becoming
Please note these are my opinions on the subject. Some or many of you might disagree. That's the beauty of opinions: I can have mine and you can have yours and we all should still be able to peacefully co-exist, in the real world or the cyber world. I know. I know. How naive is that?
I have a fair amount of money invested in lighting and grip. I don't think I spent that money because I'm an idiot. (Altho me being an idiot is, at times, debatable.)
All lighting instruments are not created equal. Their qualities, other than simply producing photons, are varied: Power ranges, flash durations, recycling times, maintaining color temps throughout those power ranges, build quality and reliability, and more. If you want better performance, better quality, more versatility, you're gonna have to pay for it.
Example: Profotos versus shop lights from Home Depot? No brainer. Profotos versus crap from Hong Kong? Still no brainer if you're really serious about lighing and photography. (I don't mean to only pimp Profoto. There's plenty of great manufacturers of quality lighting instruments out there.)
All lighting modifiers are not created equal. Again, their qualities differ, sometimes immensely, sometimes in more subtle ways. The right tool for the job is key to modifying light. As an example, I don't own a Mola beauty dish because I'm too dense or narrow-minded to believe a big, modified, DIY'd salad bowl will get the job done equally well.
I don't own Chimera and Photoflex softboxes because I'm an elitist and stick my nose up at cheap-oh shit from Hong Kong, offered on Ebay, even though it's built to the same standards. (Yeah, right.)
All grip gear is not created equal. I don't use stands and arms and clamps from companies like Matthews, American Grip, Norms and others because I'm blind to the fact that wobbly, questionably constructed, cheap-ass, unreliable grip gear--stuff that can be bought for very little--is just as good as the pro gear or because I'm a gear-snob or because I don't know I can find things at Home Depot that might suffice.
Do I sometimes buy shit from Home Depot to use in my photography? Sure. Do I occasionally cobble stuff together to modify or control light? Absolutely. Do I think, because I can cobble or head over to Home Depot, manufactured gear is a waste of money?
The pretty girl pics at the top are a couple of more snaps from last week's shoot with Lupe. Three light sources: Two medium umbrellas, either side, from the front, and a shoot-thru, boomed high and from the side/behind, on the left. Canon 5D, 70-200 f/4 L, ISO 100, f/8 at 160th. Lighting is fairly flat across for my personal tastes but that's what the client wanted so who am I to disagree?