A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

You're Going to Laugh, Lorelei

OK, Lorelei asked me how I set up my light box. Normally I prefer to use daylight, but there isn't any anymore where I live. Not until May. Just kidding. I'm just never home during daylight hours, and even then, the weather is often so dreary it's too dark indoors to take pictures, and the light is a bad color outside. And it's cold. So here is what I do.

The base of my light box is a translucent storage tub from WalMart. A big one. I cut a hole in the bottom for my camera lens, and flip it upside down over my jewelry display. (This is for straight down pictures, like the one in my last post.

Then I drape it with thin white towels, like flour sack towels. I got four of them at the Dollar Store. For a dollar.

Then I position my full-spectrum daylight bulbs (60 watts) wherever--lately I kind of like the light coming from the side, but you can do it any way you want. Just experiment. I've tried all kinds of bulbs, and the "full spectrum" ones seem to have the best color--i.e., they don't distort the color of the item/background as bad as other bulbs. Usually. Sometimes it changes depending on the angle of the bulbs. Go figure. Physics I guess. I seem to get the least color distortion when I use them on the sides.

For angled pictures, I put the tub on its side and position my item as pictured. Of course you need a tripod of some sort for these pictures.

I'm kind of liking the side-lit pictures. I've been laying the lamps on the floor actually. Kind of turns out all mysterious and dreamy.

This one was side-lit and I like the results:

So there you have it. Including the lamps, you should be able to do this for under $35. You probably already have lamps you can use. You could probably forgo the towels if you have a more opaque tub. I've heard some people use styrofoam coolers but I've never tried that. I've used the tub without towels but the light is a bit harsh and the seams in the tub tend to cast funny light patterns on stuff.


  1. Very cool! Thanks for sharing that and inexpensive too!

  2. I like your light box--pictures look great..thanks for sharing!

  3. Awesome idea - thanks for sharing. I'm now getting home after dark, too, so no more picture-taking after work during the week which leaves me awfully backed up for the weekend. This would be a great alternative!

  4. Very interesting. I have a light box but my pictures always look to blah. I'll try to this method. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for sharing it Keirsten, that's true to say your pictures are always beautiful.