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02-23-2011, 05:13 PM   #1
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Light box (?) for taking pictures of "smallish" items

I believe what I am seeking is called a "light box". But I know very little about them. I need one large enough to take pictures of whisky/beer bottles, and some small packages of a confection that my wife makes ... max of about 12 inches high, perhaps 8" or so wide? Preferably changable background colors; white, gray, blue?

Any suggestions?

My question(s): can the box and necessary lighting be purchased as a kit? I have several lights that might bue useable but if I can save money buying a kit and just be done with it, that is better than ordering lights seperately.

02-23-2011, 05:48 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Green_Manelishi Quote
Any suggestions?
DIY - it is just some fabrics on a frame and light outside (flashes, etc)
02-23-2011, 07:00 PM   #3
Ira
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QuoteOriginally posted by deejjjaaaa Quote
DIY - it is just some fabrics on a frame and light outside (flashes, etc)
Yep--and these days, shooting raw and being able to adjust color balance later, you can even use powerful and cheap Home Depot work lights.

For the money of most lower-end photo lighting kits, you can buy twice the quality as a DIY.

Also, you may have a corner of a room, on a desk for example, that's most convenient for you to shoot. So using that as a start and rigging a DIY set-up is the way to go.
02-23-2011, 07:26 PM   #4
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Get several pieces of Construction Paper for backgrounds. Hang a cork board on the wall behind your desk to hang the paper from. Push pins work fine for hanging the paper.
Ira is right about the Home Depot lights. I got a couple of them (two 300 watt lights on stands each) for 40 bucks.
They run hot, which can be dangerous to filter. I've seen florescent worklights at THD which run much cooler, they are somewhat more expensive than the halogen ones.
If the room can be (or is) painted a suitable colour, then the lights can be bounced off the walls and back to the product, though this can make for bland light unless flags are used.

Anyway, you don't need anything complicated, this stuff isn't rocket science (and even that works with kerosene and bottled oxygen). I've seen the cheap store bought mini studios and personally I think they are a rip off. Mostly they are too small.
Even a couple of desk lamps with handkerchiefs stretched over them to diffuse the light will give perfectly nice light for many small product applications.

Get yourself some beanbags. You can lay a product onto them to allow easier framing, and they can look quite nice.
BlueTac or similar is also useful for holding small objects in position.

But don't buy a canned "studio". You probably have everything you need in your house already.

02-24-2011, 04:01 PM   #5
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Thanks all for the input. I did try my hand at a DIY some time ago but the results were, shall we say, less than spectular or useful.

Any hints/websites with fool-proof step-by-steps regarding light wattage, etc?
02-24-2011, 06:14 PM   #6
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Is this something along the lines of what you're looking for?

Strobist: How To: DIY $10 Macro Photo Studio
02-25-2011, 02:05 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by MobiusOne Quote
Is this something along the lines of what you're looking for?

Strobist: How To: DIY $10 Macro Photo Studio
That is spot on.
02-25-2011, 03:21 PM   #8
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If you have any nylon-canvas camp chairs or other lawn furniture, (especially torn ones) remove the canvas and throw a bedsheet over the frame.

Baddabing.

02-26-2011, 08:30 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
If you have any nylon-canvas camp chairs or other lawn furniture, (especially torn ones) remove the canvas and throw a bedsheet over the frame.

Baddabing.
Great idea !!!

Excuse my ignorance but would it work to throw a bed sheet over the frame of one with the canvas still on the frame? If not, why?
02-26-2011, 08:58 AM   #10
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I wanted something both portable and professional looking so I bought one one of these. Very happy with it.

New Photo Studio Tent Cube Soft Box in a Light Box LS34 - eBay (item 310263791603 end time Mar-20-11 08:58:20 PDT)
02-26-2011, 09:04 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Green_Manelishi Quote
Great idea !!!

Excuse my ignorance but would it work to throw a bed sheet over the frame of one with the canvas still on the frame? If not, why?
Depends. You need the flash to fire through the bed sheet, if the canvas is in the way it will soak up too much light and could change the color of the flash lighting. If you can arrange the sheet properly it might be fine. Give it a try.
02-26-2011, 09:25 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MobiusOne Quote
Is this something along the lines of what you're looking for?

Strobist: How To: DIY $10 Macro Photo Studio
$10? That' a bit rich for me!

I have a chair on top of the dining table, with a 2 ($3?) clip light on the seat.

I have a sheet of tissue taped to the back of the chair and over a mirror lying flat on the table. Opposite the light I have my old shaving mirror and a crinkled sheet of tin foil.

I could do with spending another 2 on another clip light, but you don't want to go mad - that'd be a whole 4 ($6).
02-26-2011, 09:28 AM   #13
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I actually made one with a white box using these instructions that I found on the web. I'm thinking of replacing this box with a PVC pipe version at some point though.

How to Make An Inexpensive Light Tent – DIY
02-26-2011, 09:36 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Northern Soul Quote
$10? That' a bit rich for me!

I have a chair on top of the dining table, with a 2 ($3?) clip light on the seat.

I have a sheet of tissue taped to the back of the chair and over a mirror lying flat on the table. Opposite the light I have my old shaving mirror and a crinkled sheet of tin foil.

I could do with spending another 2 on another clip light, but you don't want to go mad - that'd be a whole 4 ($6).
Will you post a picture of that arrangement?
02-26-2011, 10:01 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Green_Manelishi Quote
Will you post a picture of that arrangement?
Sort of - I took a snap of it accidentally when I was playing with the camera but exposure wise you can't see much because there was no other light in the room - you get the idea though. The clip on light is obscured by the right hand front leg of the chair. The dark rectangle front left is my old shaving mirror, and you can see the tin foil on the left as well. The chair is over a long mirror I took off the wall temporarily - not sure it adds much but it bounces some light back.

Photo links to my flickr - I've put two sample shots up too. This was my first go - I need a neater background (tissue I haven't creased) and could maybe do with balancing the light a bit. Something other than a tea cup to use as a prop would be nice too




Edit OK - so that flickr link didn't work as I thought. Here are the samples and a link to my flickr The jewellery is shot with the K-7 and a Tamron MF 80-210 macro zoom on an adaptall 2 k mount - f8 / ISO 100.





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