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My First Lightbox Attempt


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#1 Brian C

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 02:40

Never intended to be a finished perfect pic, but I think it's not bad considering what I was doing. I think I'm going to put tracing paper over the cutouts and glossy paper inside. That should really bounce some light around. Also need to get a tripod for the camera.

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#2 Doug C

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 03:52

Just about a thousand percent better than I have ever been able to do. Nice...
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#3 Brian C

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 03:53

Thanks

#4 notbob

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 15:04

Here's my recipe for el-cheapo still photo set up:

For a cheap light source, three spun alum light fixture/reflectors with cords and spring clamps. They cost about $7-8 ea at Home Depot/Lowe's. Three 100W-150W light bulbs. Try dollar stores.
For an almost universal non-glare background, a baby-blue fleece or flannel sheet or blanket. Under $10 at Wallyworld. Get a couple cheapo extension cords. Why limit yourself to a box? Clamp the lights to anything, cupboard doors in the kitchen, backs of folding chairs, etc. Drape the blanket over/behind anything. With these few items, you can take great pics of anything from a pen to a pumpkin pie to a piano.

By all means, get a tripod. Without one, yer jes spinning yer wheels. Avoid cheap Chinese tripods, particularly one's that have plastic hinge pins on the telescoping leg tightening levers. I tried two and both broke, brand new out of the box, rendering the entire tripod useless junk. I'd avoid twist leg tighteners. Levers are faster. Forget any nonsense about how a "good" tripod should have reinforcement/stability arms between the legs. In fact, it appears tripods that don't have them cost more.
Disregard any "quick-disconnect" camera mount thingies. Jes more junk to go wrong. Also, try to find a tripod in which the center elevation post can be removed and then reinserted upside down. This will allow you to "hang" your camera from the tripod and put it within inches of a table top or whatever.

My everyday go-to tripod is an old cheapo Albinar portable I've been abusing for 30 yrs. Probably cost me $30, new. I hear Slik and Manfrotto make good tripods like this for around $100. Try garage sales or craigslist. I recently picked up an $800 pro tripod for $10! Spend a little bit of money on a decent one and it will serve you for life.

That's it. Set your camera's white balance on "incandescent" or "tungsten" and run amok. ;)

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#5 Brian C

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 15:23

Here's my recipe for el-cheapo still photo set up:

For a cheap light source, three spun alum light fixture/reflectors with cords and spring clamps. They cost about $7-8 ea at Home Depot/Lowe's. Three 100W-150W light bulbs. Try dollar stores.
For an almost universal non-glare background, a baby-blue fleece or flannel sheet or blanket. Under $10 at Wallyworld. Get a couple cheapo extension cords. Why limit yourself to a box? Clamp the lights to anything, cupboard doors in the kitchen, backs of folding chairs, etc. Drape the blanket over/behind anything. With these few items, you can take great pics of anything from a pen to a pumpkin pie to a piano.

By all means, get a tripod. Without one, yer jes spinning yer wheels. Avoid cheap Chinese tripods, particularly one's that have plastic hinge pins on the telescoping leg tightening levers. I tried two and both broke, brand new out of the box, rendering the entire tripod useless junk. I'd avoid twist leg tighteners. Levers are faster. Forget any nonsense about how a "good" tripod should have reinforcement/stability arms between the legs. In fact, it appears tripods that don't have them cost more.
Disregard any "quick-disconnect" camera mount thingies. Jes more junk to go wrong. Also, try to find a tripod in which the center elevation post can be removed and then reinserted upside down. This will allow you to "hang" your camera from the tripod and put it within inches of a table top or whatever.

My everyday go-to tripod is an old cheapo Albinar portable I've been abusing for 30 yrs. Probably cost me $30, new. I hear Slik and Manfrotto make good tripods like this for around $100. Try garage sales or craigslist. I recently picked up an $800 pro tripod for $10! Spend a little bit of money on a decent one and it will serve you for life.

That's it. Set your camera's white balance on "incandescent" or "tungsten" and run amok. ;)


Thanks. All that info helps a lot :thumbup:

#6 loudkenny

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 06:59

I was just doing some research on how to take better pen photos 'for cheap' and I found this thread.
Thank you for the good ideas!

I take it by 100 to 150 watt bulbs, you mean regular outside type floodlights. What do you do if you can't find these bulbs locally? For some reason these bulbs are almost impossible to find around here. Are there any modern LED or florescent bulbs that will work as well as the bulbs you suggested?

thank you,

ken

#7 Mike 59

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:42

Hi, In the UK /EU we can't (easily) buy 40W/60W/100W tungsten bulbs as of September '12, (it's a ruling to save power), so I recently bought a new bulb for my 'close-up' anglepoise lamp setup, socket type SES, it wasn't easy to find though.
Most of our bulbs are of a 'warm' colour temp, which is fine for the lounge/family room but not much use for photo's.
I did find a Philips 'Genie' with a 'daylight' colour output, (6500K), and it's proven to be fine for close or Macro work. These bulbs are of the 'Green'or 'Eco' folded up neon tube type, so do take a few minutes to get up to full brightness.
The power output is equiv to 50W but with a power consumption of 11W.

Edited by Mike 59, 28 November 2012 - 12:05.


#8 notbob

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 14:19

I take it by 100 to 150 watt bulbs, you mean regular outside type floodlights. What do you do if you can't find these bulbs locally?


I use regular tungsten light bulbs, the kind you put in your bedside lamp. I suppose the "flood" type bulbs would work. We in the USA supposedly have to stop buying tungsten bulbs, also, but danged if I see any drought. I can still find most any size tungsten bulb in most every store, including our supermarket. I would try a hardware or home improvement store if you having difficulty locating these bulbs. Also, try Walmart or a dollar store. I'm sure most any type bulb from florescent to LED would work if it is bright enough. I jes picked tungsten cuz they were the cheapest and I chose 150W cuz too much light is easier to deal with than too little. Whatever you choose, make sure to adjust the white balance on your camera. For cell phone cameras, yer on yer own. ;)

nulla dies sine linea

#9 Ron Z

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 16:44

You would be better off making a frame out of plastic pipe, and then draping the frame with thin white satin cloth. A sheet is too thick so it cuts the amount of light available by a significant amount, and also turns the light towards yellow. The satin on the other hand keeps the color towards blue, and also allows much more light through.

Ninety percent of the pictures that I take for the website are done with a 12X12 inch soft box bought off of ebay for under $20, with a piece of white card stock under the pen. Light is from a swing arm lamp with a 150W 5000 degree kelvin CFL placed on top. You can buy CFL lamps that are pretty close to that at Lowes and Home Depot at a reasonable price. Set up time is 10 seconds if that. No tripod necessary. Most of the time the camera is a Canon SD1200 IS.

Larger soft boxes/light tents are available, though I've found that a 16X16 is the biggest that I need for the other 10% except for things like pen cases, then I use the frame with satin cloth. The larger soft box will allow you to do more artsy shots VS my typical catalog shot.

Two big advantages to using a CFL - they last much longer and are much, much cooler. You can get a lot of light from a small bulb with little heat. You can use a standard clamp on reflector lamp (under $10) to hold the bulbs.

This was taken using my 12X12 soft box, light above it, edited in Photo House that came with Word Perfect 8. Total cost for the setup by the way was maybe $30, and I've used it for several years.

Posted Image


Edited by Ron Z, 28 November 2012 - 16:45.


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#10 scorpscarx

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 22:33

Nice for sure, looks good.

#11 Brian C

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 22:42

You would be better off making a frame out of plastic pipe, and then draping the frame with thin white satin cloth. A sheet is too thick so it cuts the amount of light available by a significant amount, and also turns the light towards yellow. The satin on the other hand keeps the color towards blue, and also allows much more light through.

Ninety percent of the pictures that I take for the website are done with a 12X12 inch soft box bought off of ebay for under $20, with a piece of white card stock under the pen. Light is from a swing arm lamp with a 150W 5000 degree kelvin CFL placed on top. You can buy CFL lamps that are pretty close to that at Lowes and Home Depot at a reasonable price. Set up time is 10 seconds if that. No tripod necessary. Most of the time the camera is a Canon SD1200 IS.

Larger soft boxes/light tents are available, though I've found that a 16X16 is the biggest that I need for the other 10% except for things like pen cases, then I use the frame with satin cloth. The larger soft box will allow you to do more artsy shots VS my typical catalog shot.

Two big advantages to using a CFL - they last much longer and are much, much cooler. You can get a lot of light from a small bulb with little heat. You can use a standard clamp on reflector lamp (under $10) to hold the bulbs.

This was taken using my 12X12 soft box, light above it, edited in Photo House that came with Word Perfect 8. Total cost for the setup by the way was maybe $30, and I've used it for several years.

Posted Image


Would you be able to post a photo of the set up you describe?

#12 loudkenny

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 06:40

The 12x12 square soft box I bought on Ebay came in today, and I just borrowed three tungsten daylight floodlights on floorstands 'for testing' from my friend.

I read somewhere that Lowe's had Ottlite 25watt daylight 5500K? CFL's for about $8.00 each that were highly recommended, so I went to buy some. For some reason the local Lowe's store didn't have them in stock, so I had to go to Appleton for mine.

Ron Z is right, as the tungsten bulb's light is much yellower than the Ottlite CFL and the CFL's are running cooler too. Unfortunately, the Ottlite is only equivalent to a 100 watt tungsten bulb, so it isn't very bright when you're shining it throught the sides of a box.

I'd like to see a photo of the setup used in the photo too.

I see there are pyramid shaped boxes available as well as the square ones. Is there some advantage in using one kind or another for pen photos?

ken

Edited by loudkenny, 06 December 2012 - 06:56.