2 Dec 2011

DIY Light Box

A light box isn't exactly the most expensive photography equipment, but if you can save a few bucks with a little bit of effort, why not? This little DIY light box project should cost you about $10, depending on the quality of the materials you get.

Here are some of the materials you will need:
  • A large cardboard box
  • Black poster board
  • White poster board
  • Tracing paper

That's it! As for tools, you will need sticky tape, glue (or double-sided tape), a penknife, and a ruler. The box has to be sufficiently large for you to place your photography subject inside. The black and white poster board can be replaced with any kind of thick paper (as long as it is not glossy). Make sure the paper is more than enough to cover the back and bottom of the box. As for the tracing paper, get enough to cover 2 sides and the top of the box.

Firstly, make sure to secure the flaps and edges of the box using sticky tape. Next, cut rectangular holes out of the 2 sides and the top of the box, making sure to leave about 2cm to 3cm along the edges, as shown above. After you have done that, stick tracing paper to the top and 2 sides that you have just cut out. All that's left to do after that is to place the black poster board along the back of the box and then the white poster board over it. Make sure to let the poster board slope gently down from the back.

This is what the final product should look like. You might want to reinforce the front 2 edges of the light box so that it doesn't collapse on itself. We used spare cardboard to secure it, much like how you would tie a piece of wood to a fractured leg. Place lights on both sides of the light box to illuminate it.

The inside of our light box is quite spacious and could probably fit up to 1/8 scale figures. Note how the white poster board gently slopes down from the back, providing a seamless backdrop.

Unfortunately, I could only find one lamp, and it did not match the colour temperature of Darren's external flash unit. The photos (without the flash) turned out quite OK despite that, spreading the light out so the shadow isn't too harsh. Credit to Darren for coming up with this idea and fixing it up with me. If the photos on this blog improve, it's all thanks to him ^.^

(Click on the images for larger version)

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