Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Photography Light Box

When planning the layout for my new craft room, one of my priorities was having a designated photography spot. It stinks when I finish a meal, craft project or shop item and then have to put a bunch of time into finding a clean, well-lit area to take photos of the finished product. 

About a month ago, I set up this table and put up a white backdrop which helped the quality of some of the photos but it would still get stuff piled on it that had to be cleared off or the sun would be shining too intensely or not at all. This week I finally got around to putting together the light box that I have been wanting to do for a long time. 

Side note: The following measurements are for a finished 2' x 2' x 3' light box. You can alter the measurements to fit the size that you need.

The supplies you will need for this project are:
(4) 1" x 2" x 24" boards
(6) 1" x 2" x 22 1/2" boards
(2) 1" x 2" x 36" boards
(12) small L brackets
(2) 2' x 3' sheets of thin plywood
(3) clip lamps (in the industrial lighting section)
(3) 75 watt crystal clear bulbs
approx. 3yd thin white fabric
pure white paint
wood screws

plug-in lamp dimmer switch
1-to-3 outlet converter

staple gun
paint brush or roller

Start by painting your plywood with the ultra white paint. Let dry.

Cut your 1" x 2" boards down to the sizes specified above. Make two 2' x 2' frames using two 24" and two 22 1/2" boards for each one. Then one 3' x 2' frame using two 36" and two 22 1/2" boards. Attach the boards in the corners using L brackets like these:

Cut down your fabric so that you have a few inches hanging over on every side. Wrap tightly around the sides and staple down like you would wrap a canvas painting. Repeat for each frame.

Lay your plywood on top of the 2' x 2' frames with the painted side facing down and the raw sides of the frames facing out. Screw the plywood into place. You might want to enlist a spare pair of hands for this part. It can be done alone but it is a bit difficult to wrangle.

Set your frame upright and screw the back piece of plywood into place as shown above. (Sorry this pic turned out so blurry.)

Clip one lamp on the outside of each of the sides. Set the 3' x 2' frame on top of the box and clip the third lamp on the front. 

You can screw the top frame into place if you want but I chose to leave it loose so that I can remove it if I want to take a photo from high above and don't want the frame getting in the way.

If you want to be able to adjust the brightness in your box, you can plug the lamps into a converter that changes one outlet into three. Then plug that into a plug-in lamp dimmer switch. This step is completely optional and the lights will yellow your photos a bit at a lower wattage.

You're done! Admire your finished product and start taking some pictures! 

In the photo above, I was using 60-watt soft white bulbs because it was all I had on hand. My pictures looked really yellow though so I switched them out with some 75-watt (the maximum allowed for these lamps) ultra clear bulbs. It made a huge difference which you can see in the photo below:

To see what a difference it is already making in my photos, check out this pic that is straight from the camera without any photo editing used:

The colors look great and there isn't a glare on the glass tile like I usually get. I am really happy with how the light box turned out! I can't wait to get to know my camera better and work on styling my photo shoots as well. :)

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Leslie said...

Wow.. it's great that you have created your own photo box ~ Thanks for teaching us.

Amanda said...

this is a really neat idea!!

KatBell said...

Fantastic project! I might need to do this (which means I get to use my tools)! But then I will have to get a better camera!

Kimberly Kerr said...

Thx' again for sharing how to do this. I wondered how people made their pictures look so professional. One day I'll try and get my hubby to make me one.

Chio said...

Love it! Can this box be made with store bought canvas?


Zane Zillner said...

Awesome! I am hoping to make something like this! Thank you so much for the tutorial! <3

Wizard Zane
Inner U Alchemy