Thursday, 29 November 2012

DIY light-box in less than 2 hours.

Hey Guys, thanks for asking about how I made the Light-box. I'm going to give a quick overview of how I made it. 

I was asked by one of my clients to do some food photography, nothing major, just a couple of products for their point of sale display. However, I wanted to do the best job I could rather than just handing them a lousy ass poster. So I had a quick idea this morning of building a light-box for myself.
I knew that they cost around £100, but my logic couldn't justify forking out 100 bucks for a box which simply diffused light. + I thought it would be a cool idea to make a light box out of nothing. 

-To make a light-box without leaving the house or purchasing anything new. 
-To record the time, just so I can make it interesting. 
-To please the client with photography which is on par with a semi-professionals work. 

This will differ slightly for you depending on what you have, but most of these products can be found in your stationary drawer or in your garage. I've shared with you the list I've used but I also provide some alternatives if you don't have the exact things which I used. 

-Stanley knife (Scissor, kitchen knife, your house keys)
-Marker (Pen, pencil etc)
-Clear tape (Brown tape, duck tape, glue etc) 
-Ruler (I didn't use this but if you need a clean cut, its useful to draw a line)
-Measuring tape (I prefer measuring tape but you can quite easily use a ruler)
-Smoke sheet (this could be tracing paper, vinyl sheet or just some white cloth which you have lying around) I used one of the sides from an under bed storage bag. 
-Cardboard box (if you don't have one, just nip down to your nearest store and ask them to give you a Walkers box or Invaders box) square is usually fine but my lighting set-up is quite low so I went for a rectangular box. 

Making the box should be self explanatory but the main aim is to cut the sides of the cardboard to make  big windows. These windows are then covered with these vinyl sheets to help diffuse the light. Make sure you cut the paper slightly bigger than the windows so you can easily tape the area over. Its okay if you make a mistake, I did some quick measurements mainly because I had a small amount of smoke sheet. When it came to cutting up the box, I just eye balled the required clearance from the edge and starting cutting through it. 

I also slit a horizontal line at the back of the box. This was to insert the A2 sheet of paper and hold it in place. By using the slit, you can easily reach the paper from the back and tape it. The curve paper will act as a ground plane and it'll give you a really nice fall off on the horizon line. I prefer this over having the sharp edges of the box. 

The example above shows the difference between standard outdoor lighting and the controlled lighting set-up of a light-box. Notice how the highlights and shadows are crisper in the lightbox version in comparison to the Outdoor version. Having the objects on a white background also makes it a whole lot easier to mask out using Photoshop  

I'm using three of my favourite Ikea lamps to illuminate and control the lighting. However, you can easily do the same with a tube light or simple bulbs. Just mask them off using printing paper if the lights are too harsh. If you've read the 1000 Charcoal blog, you'll know about my lamp. Since I was using three of these I got away with not taking the paper off the lamps. I kinda like it this way. 

Final result

I got the desired result that I was after, and I was happy to not only make a light-box with just some bits found around my house but also saving me pounds. The total project took me less than two hours with the stop watch clocking at 45 minutes for the whole building process. I recycled the parts around my house so the total project cost was actually nil. 

I don't even have a professional camera. I'm just using my HTC camera phones for these images. I've shown a few samples of these to the client earlier on and they liked it (Not Ferrero Rochers). 

I hope this blog has been of some help to you, I always think that there is no one method of getting to your end result. Just have fun and add a little bit of yourself into what you do. I'm a big fan of sports car so I added a little spoiler on top of my box by folding a little flap and taping it over.

There are plenty of lightbox tutorials out on YouTube and google so if you want an in-depth workarounds or alternatives just look them up. This is just my way of solving this particular task.   

Enjoy making your light-box! 

No comments:

Post a Comment