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Discussion in 'Tools and tips' started by CHILLEN905, Dec 29, 2004.

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  1. noxi

    noxi Elite Member

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    You just build it by how it looks. If you take woodshop, im sure you can build that in there. You would need a lot of tools though.
     
  2. Pesky_Human

    Pesky_Human Senior Member

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    How to build a light box / tent for better close-up photos

    I love shooting macro / close-up photos. If you are into this style of photography, you can seriously step up your game by building an inexpensive light box and get results that are comparable to what pros pay hundreds of dollars to achieve. In short, a light box allows you to envelope your subject with soft light from all sides, negating the need for harsh flash, and giving you a whole new level of control over your close up photos.

    1. Build a box. Make it wide enough to accommodate medium size objects without crowding the walls. Mine is 24" tall, 21" deep, and 48" wide. It would be cool if it was a little deeper, but it works for almost anything that I would want to shoot. I used 2x2 pine, but you can substitute PVC pipe if you can find the right connectors. PVC is a great option if you want something that you can collapse when you are done. I made mine permanent because I shoot like this all the time, but if you go the PVC route, you can take it apart and stick it in your closet when you are done.
    [Broken External Image]:http://www.tbproject.org/images/lightbox/IMG_7179.jpg
    2. Make the 2 side walls and roof of the box out of a translucent material. I used lighting panels that usually cover florescent lights in offices, etc. If you use this material, make sure you get ones that don't have any noticeable pattern (like little diamonds, or bubbles). You want these to diffuse the light evenly, not send little rays of light around the box. If you are doing something less permanent, you can use plain white butcher paper. If your box is PVC, this is going to be the best way to go. It's obviously cheaper as well.
    [Broken External Image]:http://www.tbproject.org/images/lightbox/IMG_7180.jpg
    3. Light the box using clamp on shop lights. These can be had at Home Depot for a few bucks each. You need at a minimum 4 - one for the roof, one for each wall, and one in the front. Ideally, you will want 2 more so that you have two for the roof and two for the front. Fill these fixtures with DAYLIGHT compact florescent bulbs (also called full-spectrum). You can usually get a pack of 6 from Home Depot for less than $10. They not only give you the truest color temperature (digital cameras are made for daylight color temperature, which is why your flash simulates this type of light), they also last forever and use next to no energy. Run all of the cords so that they don't cast any shadows to a power strip. I attached mine under the box with 2-way tape. If you aren't going semi-permanent, put it in the back.
    [Broken External Image]:http://www.tbproject.org/images/lightbox/IMG_7182.jpg

    [Broken External Image]:http://www.tbproject.org/images/lightbox/IMG_7183.jpg
    4. Create a seamless backdrop for the back wall. Hit Smart & Final and get a roll of 36" or 48" butcher paper. It's dirt cheap and will last you for a very long time. Attach it to the top rear bar of the box. You can use tape, but I recommend binder clips. If you have a wood box, sink a couple of drywall screws and hang the binder clips from those. If you are on the PVC tip, run a zip tie or a piece of string through the binder clip. Experiment with different backdrops, fabrics, colors etc.
    [Broken External Image]:http://www.tbproject.org/images/lightbox/IMG_7185.jpg

    [Broken External Image]:http://www.tbproject.org/images/lightbox/IMG_7186.jpg
    5. Buy a tripod. As much as I shoot, I am ashamed that I don't have a better tripod, but it works, and it cost me about $30. Craigslist is a GREAT resource for tripods. People are dumping them all the time at HUGE discounts. If you are just starting out, get a cheap tripod, but if you can afford it, spend $200 on Craigslist for a fluid head Bogen - they go for $700 and up new and will take your photography to another level. I hardly ever hand hold my camera, which is why I never take blurry photos. If you use a tripod, you can use tiny apertures and long shutter speeds to get infinite depth of field. It gives you real control over your photos that you simply can't get if you are holding your camera.

    6. Set your camera's white balance to daylight and turn off all of the other lights in the room, including your TV.

    7. Learn how to use your camera's self timer, or if you have an SLR, get a remote shutter release. If you aren't touching your camera when the shutter is releasing, you remove the last possible source of camera movement, and blurring will no longer be a factor in your photos.

    I hope this inspires a few of you to explore macro.

    Here are some examples using this setup:
    [Broken External Image]:http://peskyhumans.blogs.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/02/01/0007.jpg

    [Broken External Image]:http://peskyhumans.blogs.com/photos/wutang_spiked_bat/img_5189.jpg
    [Broken External Image]:http://peskyhumans.blogs.com/photos/photo_destroyed_dime/dime1web.jpg

    [Broken External Image]:http://peskyhumans.blogs.com/photos/phototechnology_macro_stu/img_4725.jpg

    Enjoy! ©
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2008
  3. noxi

    noxi Elite Member

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    Thats sick. You could also use big carboard boxes and just cut them out. Good instructions.
     
  4. Pesky_Human

    Pesky_Human Senior Member

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    As long as it's stiff enough to hold the lights without collapsing, absolutely. Glad you guys are digging this. Here's a few more:

    [Broken External Image]:http://peskyhumans.blogs.com/photos/phototechnology_macro_stu/img_4729.jpg

    [Broken External Image]:http://peskyhumans.blogs.com/photos/phototechnology_macro_stu/img_4738.jpg

    [Broken External Image]:http://peskyhumans.blogs.com/photos/phototechnology_macro_stu/img_4747.jpg

    [Broken External Image]:http://peskyhumans.blogs.com/photos/phototechnology_macro_stu/img_4750.jpg

    [Broken External Image]:http://peskyhumans.blogs.com/photos/phototechnology_macro_stu/img_4741.jpg
    Enjoy! ©
     
  5. MessTonic

    MessTonic Senior Member

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    amazing photo's, nice work & good instructions. props
     
  6. wafflecakee

    wafflecakee Elite Member

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    there are still some pretty harsh shadows there pesky
     
  7. Pesky_Human

    Pesky_Human Senior Member

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    All controlled homie. That's the flexibility of the system.
     
  8. wafflecakee

    wafflecakee Elite Member

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    word, i'd take a wider aperture on most of those shots too but hey its all you
     
  9. framin-It

    framin-It Senior Member

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    edit
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008
  10. smiley 13

    smiley 13 Member

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    can some of the aussie writers on here post up all there recipes because i dont know the equivalent for all your american paints and thinners and etch and such.
     
  11. iTag

    iTag Member

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    damn, i never knew about the shoe mop thing before, thanks for the tips bud. but whats a good type of ink to use, i dont want like it when its to drippy, no what im sayin?
     
  12. noxi

    noxi Elite Member

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  13. MessTonic

    MessTonic Senior Member

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    Im going to home depot today and getting a bug sprayer. Is there any particular one i should get, and do you put just strait up bucket paint in it or do you have to thin it out?
    Thanks.
     
  14. noxi

    noxi Elite Member

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    You should thin it out a bit.
     
  15. MessTonic

    MessTonic Senior Member

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    with water, or thinner?
     
  16. Cesk

    Cesk Banned

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    Get water-based and thin wiff thinner and love :)
     
  17. MessTonic

    MessTonic Senior Member

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    dang now ill have to get bug sprayer, bucket paint, and thinner
     
  18. Cesk

    Cesk Banned

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    Haha, well water-based worked best with my friend apparently.
     
  19. MessTonic

    MessTonic Senior Member

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    how thin does it have to be with paint thinner, just thin enough to where is sprays out with a good flow?
     
  20. acereborn

    acereborn Elite Member

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    just mess with it, im guessing probably like 30%? I've never tried one.