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Home Studio: Light Box

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It's finally time to graduate to a home photography studio (also known as a light box). I've done some searches on the web and spent some time talking with our friendly Reaper-Peeps (special thanks to Mad Pat, Reaper Bryan, and Vaitalla Anne - It's great to be a local!!!) and have come to the conclusion that Retail home studios were cool, but hard to justify at the price of $600.00 - $850.00.


I've finally owned up to the fact that I can & should make one on my own. Below are the concept images of the one I'm planning.


Picture 1: The basic concept is a small frame contained within a larger frame. Additionally, the small frame has a clear platform at least 2 inches above the desktop. The outer frame is used for mounting 3 flood lamps. The smaller frame has white parchment (or a white sheet) on the sides and top. This will diffuse the light from the 3 flood lamps. This image is not to scale.



Picture 2: This is a more detailed concept drawing that I'll use to itemize the pieces I'll need. This is a good time to mention that I'm going to construct the studio out of PVC. Again, this illustration is not to scale.



Anyway, lemme know if you are interested in seeing the final result and sample images... I'll make comparison photographs between my old setup and the new one once I've completed it. I'm also thinking about posting a detailed part & price sheet.



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And of course those special thanks go to Ladystorm as well - she patiently listened to me and offered input as well (sorry for the late acknowledgement :unsure: )....


Keep your fingers crossed that I can do this all in a day/this weekend.



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I was talking to a photography instructor here on campus while setting up a lab for him - and really for light diffusers you can use anything in front of the light source.. so it should be easy to jerry-rig a diffuser using vellum or tissue in front of a light source. Also, by putting multiple diffusers in front of the source, you can diffuse the light even more (stands to reason, innit?)


I'm excited to see what you produce.. this is something I want to play with as well. I'd like to create a portable studio to take to conventions and photograph models of what people paint at the P&T as well as contest entries.

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This looks cool and 1/2" PVC is an excellent medium for the framing except how are you going to attch the vellum paper/sheet/light diffuser to it. I guess superglue would work fine.


I am looking forward to see how this works. As I have several minis I have not posted because I am tired of poor quality pics, I will follow this closely.

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That prizm shaped portable one looks pretty kewl and the dowel idea sounds good as well. That tent looks nice too.


Still stuck on the PVC idea:

I chose the home-made cube because I'm pretty clumsy, need something that I will be able to navigate my appendages about in, and want something more permanent than portable. I'll probably fix it to a countertop once I finalize it's configuration. I suppose I could give it a "chopped off pyramid on it's side" shape... I'll have to fiddle around with it to see what works best for me.



I've got two thoughts I'm playing around with for diffusers... well... three: Diffusers that attach to the lights, Diffuser Panels that I position around according to where the lights are, Diffusers attached to the internal cube...


I'm looking for a high usability factor, but low fiddliness.... soooo... we'll see...


Great ideas and information everyone! Thanks! I expect to have time this weekend & I'll be sure to post info/pictures as soon as I'm done!



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I've spent the morning browsing a few DIY (do it yourself) stores and have ended up with the following:


4 8' - 2x4

1 Box Wood screws

3 Clamp Lamps

1 18" x 24" Clear Plexiglas Pane

1 White Sheet


You've probably notice that I've chickened out on using PVC. A few reasons: It would take longer. It won't necessarily look any better. It's raining outside & I'm a bit shy of using the PVC primer and bonder in my house. I've got a few more excuses, but I'll spare you.


I've done a few dry-runs with the plexiglas and lights and have a wood-frame concept knocking around in my head. It'll be semi-permanent. That is... I'll make it... use it... show yall the results... and when I've got all the bugs worked out, I'll make (or have made) a snazier looking version that should blend in with the house a bit better.


For this version, I still need to go to my local Craft Store to nab various poster-boards, Velum, Paper, etc. to test out as backgrounds.


More info to come tomorrowish I believe...

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Okee - no concept paper yet - I sorta winged this. However, with the picture below yall can see why a box is ok... it's pretty big.


All Wood from the 2 x 4's - cut the following pieces:


5 x 20"

4 x 18"

4 x 27"




Light Box Sides:

  • Pre-drill, Square, and Connect 2 x 20" (depth) to 2 x 18" (height)
  • Repeat

Join the Light Box Sides:

  • Back - Connect 1 x 27" to the bottom of the two side panels. Note: The Shelf/Ledge created by the 20" studs on the side-panels should run front to back.
  • Back - Connect 1 x 27" to the top of the two side panels.
  • Back - Connect 1 x 27" to the middle of the two side panels.
  • Front - Connect 1 x 27" to the middle of the two side panels.

Final Stuff

  • Insert final 1 x 20" at an approximate 45 degree angle - Pre-drill, Connect (Fit Clamp-Lamp to pre-determine location)
  • Place Plexiglas Plate 1/4" x 18" x 24"
  • Slide Background under and behind Plexiglas Plate.

I know that the instructions are, err, slightly non-technical, so ask questions. Tomorrow I'll do some comparison piccie taking. Until then, here's a link to one of my test piccie's - The piccie tells the truth.. I've got a funked out base on the left figure.


See yall later,

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So far, this is the optimum setting information for this set up:

I'm using 8" clamp lamps with 60watt flourescent bulbs. I do a white-light measurement using the manual adjustment of my camera. I appear to get less glare by *not* using diffusers. What appears to be happening is that the background is reflecting light back into the reflection and washing it out. Using diffusers seems to prevent most of the background reflection & seems to encourage more reflections off the plexiglas.


Random Musings

I anticipate that as I increase the brightness of the bulbs I will run into less reflection in the plexiglas, but a higher likely-hood of "hot-spots" on the figures.


It's also possible that I'll want to route out some lower "shelves" for the plate to play with the "floating effect" that the plexiglas encourages.


Now I'm really going to bed :unsure:

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Tara the silent - same figure - same camera - two pictures:


Picture One with original set up:

  • Two Desk Lamps
  • Figure Placed on top of green background
  • *snap*


Picture Two with new set up (and figure's base now has magnet on bottom):

  • Three Clamp Lamps
  • Figure Placed on plexiglas
  • Background Curled over/around figure
  • *snap*



My own humble opinion & notes

I'm viewing the images on a 19" monitor set to 1600 x 1200; Your mileage may vary / Take my comments with a grain of salt:

  • The figure's colors are more *true* in the second photo.
  • I feel like there are fewer hotspots.
  • Not that it makes the figure look better, but it does represent the painting better

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