Tag: DIY

Workspace decoration with instax photos

The first of May, International Workers’ Day is celebrated (nearly) all over the world.

The perfect occasion to lean back and beautify your workplace. Take some time to bring your (home) workspace to life with photos of furry friends, sunny days and lots of fun memories. Grab your instax camera or your instax printer and let’s go!

1. Take some snaps of your favorites with your instax.

2. Add pretty embellishments to them, such as drawings and stickers. Get creative!

3. Put them up on the walls and shelves around your desk using decorative masking tape.

Valentine’s Day Postcard

Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to remind your loved ones you’re esteeming them. Sure, flowers and chocolate will always be welcome on Valentine’s Day. But if you’re looking for something a little less predictable, we’ve got a simple, affordable, meaningful & awesome gift idea for her as well as for him. With a homemade Instax Postcard filled with your love greetings, you are guaranteed to make your lover happy.

You need:

  • some blank pieces of coloured card.
  • a glue stick
  • a special pen
  • one instax snap, that connects you with your Valentine
  • decorative string or ribbon
  • Cut your coloured card down to a postcard size. If you like to you can include a little frame for the instax snap in another colour. We used a brown card that’s a little bigger than the chosen instax picture (We used the instax mini 70.)
  • Now it’s time for sticking your pieces of card. Place your frame right in the centre of the red piece of card and stick your beloved instax snap right in the centre of your frame. Decorate your love card with some ribbon or string to beautify it.
  • Let’s move forward to the important part – your message on the back. Use a special pen like a golden one or a brush pen to express your feelings towards your beloved person.


Your unique Postcard is ready! We hope the lucky recipient is thrilled and you’ll have great Valentine ’s Day with your loved one.

(Soft)box of tricks

How a cardboard box can be turned into a useful light modifier for the grand sum of 60p

I was in my garage the other day and realised something; it’s full of empty cardboard boxes. It’s a shocking confession I know, but what with eBay and other things you just never know when you might need a box, right? The 53 I counted, however, maybe considered a little excessive. I started to think whether I could trim the numbers down a little and my mind drifted to the fact that I’d been taking some flash images a couple of weeks earlier where I’d been a little disappointed by the harshness of the direct flash light. Within moments, a plan was hatched.

ks2_5730

After a root around in the section of the garage not populated with cardboard, plus the kitchen drawers, I ended up with this selection of goodies with which I decided to make a softbox:

  • 1x small cardboard box
  • 1x roll of kitchen foil
  • 1x roll of electrician’s tape
  • 1x pair of scissors
  • 1x flashgun (I’m using an EF-42)
  • 3x sheets of tracing paper at 20p a sheet
  • 1x bottle of glue (optional)

ks2_5732

I started by placing the flashgun in a central position on the box and drawing around it to give me an approximate shape of the flash head.

ks2_5733

Grabbing the scissors, I cut the shape out, going slightly inside the lines I’d drawn to make sure that the head fitted through snugly. 

ks2_5735

Confident my cutting skills had progressed from primary school, I taped the sides of the box down. They could have been cut off, of course, but I preferred to tape them down to create slightly more robust sides to the box.

ks2_5737

I used a couple of lengths of foil to coat the inside of the box. This could be glued down if you wish, but the nature of foil meant that it moulded to the shape nicely and stayed put. There’s no need to smooth it down, just as long as the light can happily reflect around, you’re fine.

ks2_5739

Having covered up the hole in the box, I then cut a second hold through the foil and pushed the flash head back through.

ks2_5740

Putting the box to one side, I took a sheet of the tracing paper and folded it in half to provide the diffusing panel for the front of my softbox. As it transpired, I only needed the one sheet, but you could use more if you wanted an even softer result.

ks2_5741

The tracing paper was then taped on all four sides of the box leaving it ready for action.

Now, it’s pretty evident that my box had a flaw in that it covered up the AF illuminator. As I was only working in dim light, this wasn’t an issue, but if you want to shoot in pitch black you’re going to struggle. There are no worries about metering, though, the X-T2 I was shooting with has TTL metering so I could be sure of accurate exposures.

So, just how good was my softbox? I’d say the results speak for themselves:

dscf2076

This first image was taken without the softbox attached. As I was close to the subject with the EF-42 flash mounted on the camera’s hot-shoe, there’s an issue with coverage. The flash hasn’t illuminated the bottom part of the frame very well, plus the shadows behind the soft toy are very harsh. All in all, not the best.

dscf2073

With my softbox in place, however, there’s a real improvement. The coverage is much more even and the shadows are far less harsh.

dscf2074

But this shot is arguably even better, created by pointing the flashgun, with softbox attached, straight to the ceiling. It’s created a lovely even top light to the toy, which looks more like studio lighting than a flashgun with a cardboard box stuck on it.

Not bad for 60p and 30 minutes of my time, is it?

Throwing some shapes

Black card, tape and Velcro are all you need to add extra creativity to out-of-focus highlights.

If there’s one thing that Fujifilm XF lenses are well known for it’s bokeh. Some folks mistake this term as referring to purely out-of-focus highlights, but in reality it means the whole out-of-focus area of an image and how appealing it looks. But there’s fun to be had with highlight areas, particularly pinpoints of light the likes of which are created by fairy lights. Take a look at the two shots below, the one on the left is a defocused shot taken with an XF55-200mm at the 200mm setting and its widest aperture. The shot on the right was created by slipping a piece of card with a heart cut in it in front of the lens. Cute, eh?

And it’s easy enough to do.

First up, you’re going to need some materials. I used the following:

  • 1x sheet black card
  • 1x scalpel
  • 1x scissors
  • 1x roll of electrician’s tape
  • 1x pack of Velcro strips
  • 1x Fujifilm camera and lens

ks2_5751

The more eagle-eyed among you will also notice there’s an X Series box inner as well. More on that later…

ks2_5756

Start by taking the card and a pencil and drawing round the lens you want to creating the bokeh shape for.

ks2_5757

Once you’ve got a nice outline (not wonky like mine), cut it out using the scissors, then place it back on the lens to make sure it’s the right size.

ks2_5760

Measure the diameter of the card and then use the scalpel to cut out a second circle that’s approximately 1cm across.

ks2_5761

Once you’ve done that, cut a strip of black card and apply the electrician’s tape to one edge of it.

ks2_5762

Slowly wrap this around the circle you’ve already cut out, creating a shallow holder in the process.

ks2_5763

The holder should now slide neatly over the front of the lens.

ks2_5764

Take the Velcro and cut two short strips, sticking them on either side of the small hole.

ks2_5765

Finally, cut a final small piece of card and then either the scalpel to cut a shape you want to appear in the bokeh. A heart is easy enough to cut by hand, but if you want something more intricate shaped punches are available in craft stores and provide a smooth edge. Stick the other part of the Velcro on this card and attach. This way you can easily make other shapes and remove/attach as you wish.

ks2_5766

You’ll need to do some experimentation with different lenses and aperture settings. Naturally, the wider the aperture the better, plus you’ll find that manual focusing is better. After my initial tests with this shape to produce the shot at the top of this blog, I created a second slightly fatter heart shape for the shot below, which I prefer. To add a bit more interest, I also added a lily as it’s my wife’s favourite flower and I thought it fitted the heart theme.

And the X Series box inner? Well that was used for the shot on the right. See, Fujifilm even produce creative packaging as well as great cameras!