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Workshop: Build your own lightbox

Workshop: Build your own lightbox


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This little “workshop” shows one possible way to build yourself a cheap but nice lightbox. What is a lightbox, you ask? Well, it’s a chamber that is white inside and has transparent openings to allow an almost totally diffuse light setup. So basically it’s just a box with holes that are covered with white semi transparent paper. What is it good for? If you’re doing macro shots or product shots you can use this to have a setup with nice soft shadows. With our finished lightbox you can get shots like this one:

Enough introduction, let’s build this thing and see if it’s any good. For starters we need a box. Most sizes and shapes will do, it mostly depends on how big you want the lightbox to be. Mine is approximately 40x40x25cm.

Next thing we need to do, is cut a whole in the largest side and one in the smaller front side. The large side is to get light inside the box, the smaller side hole will be where the camera looks in:

And the large window for additional lighting:

Now the box should have two holes cut in the sides an we’re ready to start closing the holes with transparent paper.

First of we cover the larger window.

Afterwards the small window gets a nice paper sheet for covering up.

Next step is to cover up the inside with white cardboard (or paper). This will further increase the light reflection, thus enlargening our light source (giving softer shadows) and serve as a background for the subject.

The last side of the box we need to cover is a bit tricky. I decided to use 3 parts of transparent paper for this. Two small ones get glued on the sides while the third, big one is mounted in the middle (but only on the top), overlapping the two smaller stripes.

Through this setup this side of the box can be opened for easy access to the subject inside.

Or it can be closed when taking the pictures.

The last thing that needs to be done is cut a cross inside the front cover with a really sharp knife. This is where the lens will be pushed through. At the end you should get something similar to this:

Completed setup:

I’m sorry for the quality of the last two images, had to take those with my phone since the camera was busy posing :)

And finally, some results (unfortunately I currently only own one flash, using two from both sides would surely increase the lighting quality):

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