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Photography - homemade light box


I can’t remember who told me to do this, but I made a white
enclosure using pellon, the material used in sewing to interface
collars, etc. It is a slightly stiff, white synthetic fabric which is
sold at sewing shops by the yard. I made an outside frame of steel
coathanger wire to support a rectangular 5-sided box that I stapled
together, seams on the outside. The sixth side has a more flexible
white fabric with a slit to stick the camera lens through. I put a
collar of white paper around the lens to complete the whiteness on
that side of the box, and so the only non-white object anywhere in
the arrangement inside is the camera lens. (If you look at some
catalogs of highly reflective jewelry, you can sometimes see the
round black lens reflected on a shiny piece of metal.)

I have 2 trouble lights with flood light bulbs from the photo store,
which I clamp to objects outside the box and direct towards the
jewelry from the sides, between the jewelry and the camera. I move
them around until I like what I see through the lens in terms of
highlights and shadows. I usually use 64 speed slide film, and I use
a small tabletop tripod. My Sears SLR camera, fully manual, is used
with a more expensive Macro lens, and I don’t press the shutter, I
use the camera’s delay switch to avoid jarring the camera as I take
the picture. I get pretty good results with this, and it was all low
cost except for the macro lens. The pellon fabric is capable of
burning from the heat of the floods, so watch how close you get to
it! I think I was accidentally touching it one time, and got a singed
side wall. I made my wire frame collapsible, so this whole thing
knocks down into a 1.5"x12"x12" box, and I just put it away in a
cabinet when I am not using it.

Another trick I use when I want to photograph outside on a sunny day
is to create my own not-too-dark shade by holding a piece of tracing
paper in one hand until it shades the area viewed through the lens of
the camera. This creates a less dramatic lighting than with the
floods and all, but it is very fast to set up! Simple, simple. –
M’lou Brubaker


Greets, I made my light box out of 3 20" x 30" x 3/16" white foam
boards from the art supply store, paid $5 for them (brand name:
Sturdyboard). I cut one of the boards in half making it 10" by 30".
Got out the old reliable heavy duty masking tape and tape the it
together creating 4 surfaces. I left the top open for 2 reasons.

One when I have a bigger piece I can lay it width wise or stand it up
on it’s end if I have a smaller piece. The other reason is that I can
take a thin white cotton material or tissue paper and use it as the
diffuser for the lights (creating cloudy day lighting). I can also
change the color of the diffuser material to and get light hued
surfaces depending on the how much light I point into the box. I also
found that all the pure white surface bounce so much light that if I
point the light directly into the box or use the flash it completely
washes out the picture. It reflects the light so well that I use
different light bulbs from 40 watts to 100 watts to adjust the amount
of warmth.

Guy Payton…


Regarding the rip stop fabric from my post on photography: The rip
stop fabric is found at a good fabric store, it’s used to contain
down in ski wear as well as fiber fill for winter types of clothing.
It comes in many colors, you want the white. It sometimes has a
sort of checked pattern in the fiber of the cloth, it’s ok, the
texture doesn’t make any difference. Along the cut ends it does
ravel, so I use the flame from a candle to sort of burn/melt the
edges, move quickly, it melts fast. I combine this tent with a box
made somewhat like the one described in Guy Payton’s post, the fabric
drapes down and around the top of the adjustable ‘box’ made with the
fibercore board. The set up is very adjustable for various sizes of
work shot. Diane