10/16/2013

Shedding Some Light

I'm taking a break from posting about the kitchen cabinets today. That project continues and should be finished soon. I'm really anxious for my dining room to resume its intended purpose instead of serving as a paint shop. We've all been there...


I was hoping to show you pictures of some recent finds for my Etsy shop, but a string of dark rainy days hasn't been the best for photography. With the shorter days of winter approaching I'm often faced with the problem of not having proper light for good indoor photography. So I've been mulling over the idea of setting up a corner of our spare bedroom as a small light studio.

You could go out and spend all kinds of money on professional equipment. Or, if you're a cheapskate like me, for just a few dollars and a little time try the DIY route. There are a ton of ideas and tutorials to be found on the internet. The hardest part for me will be clearing out enough space in my spare bedroom, which in all honesty is just a catchall junk room right now, as it has been ever since the youngest kid left home.

Wikipedia
I mostly sell smaller items in my shop so a light box set-up would be ideal for that kind of photography. The light box allows for a simple background and diffused lighting without shadows.

I like the simple tutorial I found over at Flax & Twine. Using materials you probably already have at home...a cardboard box, tissue paper, poster tagboard and binder clips...you can build a functional light box for almost nothing. You'd be able to make it whatever size you want simply by using a suitably sized box. The only disadvantage is that you'd have to leave it set up all the time or have a convenient spot to keep it that is out of the way when you don't, like a garage or basement.

A better solution might be a light box made with a frame of PVC pipe. It costs just a few dollars and has the advantage of easy temporary assembly if you can't or don't want to keep it set up all the time. Materials to make the box are easily acquired from any home improvement or hardware store. 

Then there is this Ikea hack that uses two white SKUBB laundry hampers. A great idea if you live near an Ikea. I'm about 80 miles from the nearest one so I probably won't be trying this one any time soon. If I were closer I'd definitely consider it.


My favorite idea by far is one that uses expandable window screens. Check out this Instructables tutorial to see how to make it. I like that the box is lightweight and when folded takes up very little space. Cost is about $20 and sounds fairly simple to do. It probably wouldn't be too difficult to find some used cast off screens with just a little scrounging, which would make it an even cheaper project. I'm planning to check out a nearby Habitat ReStore or the building materials area of our local recycling center.


If the conditions are just right I can get some decent pictures by photographing near a window. But I like not having to rely on those perfect conditions all the time...bright, but not too sunny so that I get those harsh shadows. It can change from hour to hour or with the seasons. And of course I'm limited to daytime. I want to be in control so I can do my photography at my convenience. Do you use a light box or some other method for indoor photos? If you'd like to share your set-up or have any tips feel free to leave a comment or link below. Happy shuttering!

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