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Gus Landt

How to make a cheap light box

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I made one this weekend with some cheap white muslin from Joann's Fabric. The bristol board paper I have is 9 x 12", which was fine for the bordering, but too small for the curved backdrop (I had to tape two pieces together and now there's a visible seam). I'm going to try some 11 x 17" laser paper and see if that works.

 

I also need to find the right height setup for my tripod and camera, but that should be (hopefully) minor.

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I think I have to play with my white balance. Everything looks yellowish in the pics with the box.

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Yep. I paint with warm light so I always have to tweak it, but Lightroom gets it really good with the 'Tungsten' adjustment.

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I will reiterate that a light box is a fine tool for taking pictures of high-tech shiny objects but a generally poor tool for taking pictures of miniatures. In normal use, it puts diffuse light on the top and sides of a subject but little on the front. Since we generally want pictures of the fronts of miniatures, that doesn't work well.

 

As you can see in many photos around the web.

 

Two desk lamps with the same kind of bulb placed correctly work better, are easier to work with, and are trivially easy to obtain.

 

Ask Pixel (who took my class on miniature photography at Genghis Con) if you have any doubts.

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Not a create your own but my wife bought this in Oct last year for taking some better pics of her nail art. I used it for taking pics of minis my daughter just painted and love the results.  I used my Samsung S4 phone for the pics and the lighting from this cheap and portable lightbox turned out great.  Her setup is just a couple desk lamps on each side with 100W bulbs.  By themselves the light would be pretty yellow looking but with the white of the lightbox the pics have been nice enough quality to share on the forums.

 

Edit: Removed link.  If giving the item name is not ok then slap me around.  Neewer® 12''x12'' inch/30x30 cm Photo Studio Shooting Tent Light Cube Diffusion Soft Box Kit

Edited by hungerfan

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Not a create your own but my wife bought this in Oct last year for taking some better pics of her nail art....

 

 

I have one of those too, but I added a Hangar18 backdrop to mine now.

 

You may want to remove that link since it's a violation of Commerce Rules and a mod will bat you for it.

 

Rather, just edit your post and link the picture without the actual commerce site.

Edited by ub3r_n3rd

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I found the one I use on Kickstarter last year, called Lightcase. It's made of translucent plastic sheets, with black, white and translucent clear backing inserts. It also has a small hole cut in the top and layout guides for using your phone camera and when you're done shooting it folds flat.

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I set up a mini light tent for the fist time today and took some test shots.  I was wondering if anyone could weigh in on which backdrop and or settings work the best.  I just used google photos to put them in collages so no emphasis with size or positioning.  Each collage has a control shot of just the mini on the table.

 

I am not sure if any of those images worked, so here is the link to the three collages: https://goo.gl/photos/r9dySwGCj25mAhNK9

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We can definitely see the difference between the effects of background color and position of lighting.

 

Usually the best background is close to neutral gray. If it's too dark or too light, the camera will over/underexpose all of the highlights. Have too strong a colored background or colored lights, and the white balance can be off.

 

The position of the lighting can be a bit trickier without knowing how many lights are used. But looking at the largest of the dragon pics, the light are positioned too high as they created shadows under the wings (and the background may be too blue for the color balance). The dragon pics with the white background look properly lighted, though you can see the post-processing glow around the mini.

 

My thoughts are the lights should be lower and more in front of the model, while keeping one light on top for the background itself.

Edited by Cranky Dog
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