studio life

DIY Diffusion Panels For Less Than $30

As a product photographer, I use diffusion panels almost daily. I prefer the flexability and control I get from them over softboxes, and they're easy to store or pack flat for taking on location. Several companies have prefab "blades" intended for holding diffusion materials and fit nicely into grip heads/knuckles, but at nearly $100 a pop, buying several of them may not fit into everyone's budget. A friend showed me an easy way of making my own for a fraction of the cost, so I put together this video to show you the process.

Note: In the video I used a portion of Rosco #3008 diffusion material from a roll I had in the studio. This material is also available in pre-cut sheets for a few dollars each if you don't want to pony up for an entire roll.

The Professional Advantage

There are times I communicate with potential clients regarding a project that they ultimately elect to either tackle themselves, or hire another photographer who may not have adequate experience in the applicable genre. The decision is usually made with the intention of helping their business by saving money. The problem with that philosophy is that photography is generally not an area where cutting corners actually helps a business. Before consumers buy a product or hire a service provider, they are usually drawn to images of the product or the service provider's work. Poor quality of images can actually work against a business having a reverse effect. In architecture photography for example, while a contractor may be a phenomenal craftsman, if the images they use to display examples of their work contain slanted walls caused by odd camera angles, or distorted counter tops, vanities, and furniture because of "wide-angle" lenses, potential customers may miss the intended message. This is where an experienced professional can be a huge advantage.

In the example below, a client of mine who's a very talented fabricator and artist, shot his own photo of a table he'd completed and used it for an ad in a local publication. Later, he decided that the image simply didn't do the table justice. He hired me to reshoot the table which we both feel better represents the stunning quality of his work.

Which image would capture your interest when thumbing through a magazine or newspaper? Better yet, which table would you be more inclined to buy?

Before (Client Photo)

Before (Client Photo)

After (Photographer Photo)

After (Photographer Photo)

Smart Smoke e-Cigs | Seattle Product Photographer

Spent the morning in the studio creating images for Smart Smoke, while a visiting up & coming photographer got an explanation of my technique.

Product photography for Smart Smoke in the Spokane photo studio.

Product photography for Smart Smoke in the Spokane photo studio.

Tony Roslund Photography
Spokane - 509-995-6316
Seattle - 206-486-5857
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Pro Tip: File Naming Conventions

With all the software updates, new software, and various hardware storage solutions entering the market these days, it’s important to have a strategy for naming files so that you can import, move, and find them as you migrate or upgrade within these platforms. What happens if a file gets separated from the parent folder for whatever reason (accidental drag & drop for example)? Finding that file if you don’t remember the exact name could be a royal pain.

One thing that any system is going to be able to do is sort files and folders by name/title. Having a naming convention that is the same format for every job will make it easy to sort and find files/folders.

After years of trial and error, the convention I’ve settled on is as follows:

YRJOB_Subject_SEQ where YR = two digit year, JOB = three digit sequential job number, the subject is whatever I’m shooting, and finally a three digit sequential number for images within that job. For example 13001_McDonalds_001.NEF would be the first job in 2013, with the subject of McDonalds, and the first image in the shoot. 

Now if I need to, I can sort in ascending order, all the files in a folder or on a drive and they will automatically go in order first by year, then by subject title, and finally by shot number. If I need to find a particular image quickly, a client can either give me the job number (13001), the subject (McDonalds), or at the very least the year it was photographed. My sorted list of images would look something like this (with a lot more image numbers in each job):


As a commercial photographer, I don’t do enough jobs to use up all 999 job numbers (13001-13999) in a year, but if you were a portrait and wedding photographer for example, you could just simply use a four digit job number, and four digit image numbers (130001-139999 and 0001-9999). Finding an image for the McDonalds wedding from 2013 would be pretty easy.

The subject portion of the name can be as detailed as you want, often times I will include the agency-client-model all within the subject.