How-To: Take Schlieren photographs at home

Craft & Design Education Photography & Video Science
How-To:  Take Schlieren photographs at home

My post last week about shadowgraphy and Schlieren photography generated a lot of enthusiastic responses and not a few requests for a more detailed tutorial. Among the comments was one by Ian Smith, who has a great page here describing his own Schlieren photography set-up. (While you’re there, take a moment to appreciate the fact that Ian’s URL is “”….think he’s been around the ‘net awhile?) Thanks again, Ian!

4 thoughts on “How-To: Take Schlieren photographs at home

  1. JTau says:

    Thanks for the update! Will def. bookmark and refer back to this once I salvage some parabolic mirror for cheap….and find a place large enough to setup this rig.

  2. Otto Belden says:

    Nice picture! I have a homemade Schlieren setup that I built from stuff I got at garage sales and for free. Its not that hard to do at home if you have patience and can get a good quality parabolic (or spherical) mirror. I encourage anyone interested to try this kind of photography. If you have any questions about it let me know and I’ll be happy to tyr and help you!

Comments are closed.

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

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan


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).