Making a Light Box

I had a little fun this afternoon building myself a light box from some old corflute signs we had lying around.

A light box, for the uninitiated, is a box for taking photos of small objects. It has a white interior and one or more windows with a diffuser and a light source. This gives you the advantage of controlling the amount and direction of light falling on the object, assuring the colours are right and there are no shadows.

You can spend hundreds of dollars on a good light box, or you can make a mediocre one in under an hour at close to zero cost. There are lots of plans and instructions on the net. I used this plan, with some modification due to using a different sized sheet.

Here is the final set up:


As you can see, it is simply a white box with  Fred Nile on the lid. The window is on the left side and on the outside there is a halogen floodlight as the light source. The diffuser in the window is high tech- two thicknesses of “Bake” paper. There seems to be a huge amount of light absorbed by the paper, so next time I will try just one thickness.

So here is one of my first attempts at photographing little Ted:


Great photo, a pity about the colours! The background is supposed to be white!

The problem is the colour of the light which is not as white as the camera is expecting. I tried to correct it quickly in “Shotwell”, and I could have spent some time in Gimp getting it right, but much better to adjust the camera settings and get the light balance right from the start. I quickly downloaded the manual for my camera- after 8 years and nearly 8000 photos it’s probably time to read the instructions 🙂

The procedure for setting the white balance is very simple, once you find the right menu. I selected the “Tungsten” setting which gave me the correct white background, and here is my little friend in his true glory


Easy peasy!

You might notice there is a gap where the back doesn’t quite meet the base. That’s because I just pushed the bits on to the table without taking much care with fitting them properly!

A bit of craft and a bit of photography, together with some mathematics (I had to adjust the measurements a little to fit my boards), a great way to spend a couple of hours when it’s too cold and windy to ride your bike.


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