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Today we are going to learn how to build a DIY light tent for product photography, for next to zero cost. Even saying it costs "$10" is a bit of a stretch, because you can probably build this mostly for free. The ten dollars assumes you cannot scrounge a cardboard box and some white tissue paper you have saved in the gift-wrap supplies box.
If you are a photographer and using flash (either for studio pictures or for outdoor shooting), you are probably aware of the problems that a hot-shoe flash introduces: the shadows of an object are crisp-sharp, creating an artificial look to the object. When dealing with studio lighting, you can use a softbox to diffuse your shadows and this is an acceptable solution, but for the amateur photographer it does have some disadvantages: 1. A softbox is very expensive.
A stand made of 3/4" PVC to hold a diffusion panel made of ripstop nylon that slides up and down and tilts. Sliding joint is made of a "Slip-Tee" as described in the Tinker Tubes document at "http://www.software-cinema.com/tinkertubes/tt-book.pdf". Total cost, including 500W light stand, nylon and PVC parts is about $50. I also got a similar quartz-halogen 250W clip-on light for about $15 that I hung above to add some highlights to the hair.
The following article about how to build a homemade reflector stand was contributed by Brian Zimmerman. You will want to use a reflector if you only have one light source, or in other cases where you want to eliminate shadows from a dark place and don't have a flash to place there. The trick is how to place this reflector in the most effective way. This reflector panel holder made of 3/4" PVC pipe is handy if you have a spare tripod to use.
If you read this blog long enough, you know I am a big fan of small strobes. They are portable, relatively cheap, can squeeze some intense light and great for on the go. Key words for this post are relatively cheap. While you can buy used SBs on eBay for a bit over $100 or a LumoPro for a similar price, you are still in for more than a $100 for lights. Just saw photog Andy Game setup which has a great answer to the money issue. Andy uses an overhead softbox that is lit by a CFL desk lamp.
If you did not meet Nick Wheeler ( Flickr Stream - a must) until now, you are in for a treat. Nick is what I call a Lean Mean Studio DIY Machine . Unlike the softbox for a hot shoe flash and the softbox made from a well.... a box , this softbox design by Nick is as close to a real life studio softbox design as a softbox can be. As always, Nick has done great job of documenting his work so all the DIYP community can benefit. Making this studio grade softbox takes some time and effort, but well worth the investment. While this project is great, Nick calls it a prototype and plans on a follow up.
This entry is part 2 of 8 in the DIY Tips & Tricks Session - Show All « Previous Next » Nowadays a softbox needn’t be all that expensive – you can get nice results for $100 or even less. But what if there’s a way of making it much cheaper, with the same results?
Edit Edited by Ben Rubenstein, Hhhenterprises, Flickety, Dvortygirl and 27 others Close-up photography of detailed objects requires good lighting. However, being able to light a piece properly to show the true color, details and beauty of an object can be difficult.