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  • By Felix Russo

HOW-TO: Studio lighting 101 - A DIY Light cone for shiny objects

A light cone is a great accessory for any tabletop photography where wrap-around diffusion is needed. This is especially useful for photographing shiny reflective metallic surfaces. The camera lens is placed on the small open end of the cone and allows one to shoot down at the subject. Professional light cones made of acrylic can cost several hundred dollars; here is a DIY solution

that is simple and economical.

Get some Mylar

Purchase a sheet of Mylar, 24 x 36 inches from any art supply store (costs about $5.00).

Do some math online

We found Craig Russell’s blog calculator really helpful for measurements for the pattern to construct a flat top cone.

Decide how big you want the cone — the limit here is the size of the Mylar sheet. Choose a diameter for the top, bottom, and height to accommodate the objects you plan on photographing.

Enter lengths A, B, and C into the calculator, click on “Calculate,” and the program will generate the arc angle and radii R1, R2. For the sample shown here, A=100 mm, B=380

mm, and C=380 mm. Output from the calculator gave an arc angle of 124.5 degrees, R1=144.6 mm, and R2=550 mm.