How to Make Simple DIY Gobos to Improve Your Portraits and Modeling Shots

On this video portrait photographer Joe Edelman looks at how to use a Baby Pin Wall Plate and what you can do with it.

A gobo is a simple type of light modifier. It is masks some of the light and let the rest past through creating a pattern on the background or the subject. You can use a light blaster or if you have a powerful enough light source of your own you can make your own gobo easily by cutting it out of paper or better yet foam board.

Edelman also suggest to use an Exacto knife which you can find at Art and Office Supply stores or at Amazon and a straight edge ruler. It’s also a good idea to use a cutting mat or at least some old cardboard under the foam board when you cut it so that you don’t ruin your table top or floor.

There is no simple answer to how close should the light be to the gobo and how far from the background or subject should the gobo be – this video shows the different effects of this distance on the resulting image and general look at the end of the day though – you will just have to experiment.

You can find lot more lighting tutorials on our photography lighting section here on LensVid. You can also check out many more interesting DIY photography projects here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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