Great Photography and Video Projects from the Make: Community

Photography & Video
Great Photography and Video Projects from the Make: Community


The collective smarts of the Make: community never cease to amaze, so we’re reaching out to hear what awesome photography and video projects, hacks, and mods are on your radar. Do you have a great project you want to share with the us? Is there a new trend in photo/video you’d like to see us cover? We’re all ears. Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

And to get the juices flowing (and just for fun), here are eight photo/video projects that have appeared in Make:. Pictured above is a shot taken with the DIY Stroboscope by Nicole Catrett and Walter Kitundu.

LED Photo Lights by Charles Platt

led photo lights

Often I have to take photographs of small objects–for example, when I’m selling items on eBay. Electronic flash is overkill for this kind of work, and video lights are bulky and hot. I decided to build miniature photo lights from small, efficient LEDs.

$30 Gobo Arm by Adam Flaherty

gobo arm

If you’re familiar with tabletop product photography and video, you know what a pain it can be to shoot overhead shots while working on your subject. Tripods just get in the way. Hollywood grips solve this problem with what is known as a gobo arm, a lightweight mount that lets you position your smartphone (webcam, etc.) down where the action is without getting in the way. Commercial units run $100–$150, not including the $30 clamp you attach it to. But for the price of one of those fancy clamps, you can piece together your own Mobile Document Camera Stand using easily sourced parts.

MIDI Camera Control by Josh Cardenas

midi camera control
I had the chance to run visuals for a unique DJ act called The Hard Sell, a collaboration of turntablists DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist. The art of spinning and cutting records is usually not visible to dance club audiences. Cut and Shadow wanted to let everyone see, up close and personal, all the action on their 8 simultaneously spinning turntables playing old 45s. Here’s the multi-camera live setup I devised for the show, and a lower-budget version that you can put together without all the professional equipment.

Monkeysailor’s Photo Lab by Andrew Lewis


Traditional photography is fantastic. I love the way mechanical cameras feel in my hand, and I love the way film makes me think about composition and lighting before I actually take a shot. The only thing I don’t like about traditional photography is the cost of having film processed or buying equipment to develop my own. To cut costs and have a little fun with an Arduino along the way, I decided to make my own film processor.

Digital Pinhole Photography by Forrest M. Mims III

digital pinhole

Any camera with a removable lens has potential for pinhole photography. Conventional film cameras can be used, but digital cameras with removable lenses are ideal. The exposure time can be easily changed, and results are available instantly.

Bokeh Filter by Sindri Diego


“Bokeh” comes from the Japanese word “boke” (暈け or ボケ) which means blur or haze. The English word “bokeh” has to do with the aesthetics of out-of-focus points of light. Different types of lenses may render different qualities of bokeh, so if you own an SLR or DSLR, experiment! With this project, you can create an effect where the out-of-focus point-source lights in your pictures appear any shape you want.

Simple Scanner Camera by Mike Golembewski

simple scanner camera
Several years ago, I built my first scanner camera. The idea was simple: I would use an ordinary flatbed scanner with a homemade large-format camera. The camera would focus the image onto the scanner bed in place of photo paper or film. Making and using a scanner camera is a lot of fun as a technical exercise, but more importantly to me, it provides an interesting photographic perspective on time and movement.

16 thoughts on “Great Photography and Video Projects from the Make: Community

  1. Andrew Hydle says:

    Hi Goli,

    I am currently finishing up building a custom top bar beehive with a special moveable viewing window so I can create a time-lapse of the bees filling the hive over a few months. I am finishing up the electrical portion for the camera but when done (this weekend hopefully). The camera will power up twice a day, power up LED lights, take a picture and shut down.

    I also designed the beehive as organically as possible, making my own sealer out of raw linseed oil, beeswax and turpentine with a stained roof made from boiled eucalyptus leaves. Seems a little much but I figure if I am going to try and make it organic, I may as well have fun with it.

    1. Jonathan Danforth says:

      That is seriously cool.

      1. Andrew Hydle says:

        Thanks man! I am planning on publishing the plans on my site as things wrap up as well.

        1. Goli Mohammadi says:

          Sounds really cool Andrew! Let us know when your post is up so we can check it out. Thanks!

  2. Mac Cody says:

    Back in 2007, I constructed the PanoramaScanCam(TM), a 360-degree panoramic scanning camera. It is based on a severely hacked flatbed scanner. The extensive build log is at this URL:
    It basically works and while far from perfect, was pretty good for a first try. Someday, I will revisit the project by rebuilding the lens assembly and upgrade the software to attempt to properly calibrate the scanner sensor. By the way, the trademark above is somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

    1. Goli Mohammadi says:

      Very cool, Mac! The panoramic aspect is really neat.

      1. Mac Cody says:

        Thanks, Goli!

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

View more articles by Goli Mohammadi


Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).