Friday, April 29, 2011

DIY Lightbox

While I often do alot of cooking on the weekends, there's a good amount that gets done at night or after the sun sets (easy to do in the winter :/).   Thus, when I saw some posts about a diy lightbox, I sent my dad the links and asked if we could make one when I was home.  {home...  over christmas...  this has been sitting in my drafts folder for awhile!!}}

If you know my dad, you know that it would probably be a little more complicated than that ;)   And it was!  But he was only thinking of me, so I say that with love <3.  Given the limited space in my Boston apartment, dad wanted to make something that could be put away when it wasn't in use.  His solution was to use angle moulding (like this) instead of a cardboard box.  I'll do my best to explain how it went down...


First up was measuring out lengths of angle to make the box, I think we went with 18"h x18"d 24"w.  Thus, 8 pieces 18" long (to make 2 square sides) and 2 pieces 24" long (to attach the squares together).  Then I got to cut the angle using a vice grip and saw.  I was pretty focused ;)


Then dad marked the angle and I got to drill holes in the angle where we would attach the corners to make a box.  For the two longer pieces, we flattened out the edge of the angle before drilling holes, so they could be attached to the front of the the square sides.


With 8 pieces, I put together two squares (for the sides of the box).


On top of the screw went a washer, lock washer and nut, then tightened. 



Don't forget to check to make sure everything is aligned!


Once the two squares were assembled, we screwed on the longer pieces of angle that attached the two squares together.  A little finagling was required to make sure they were tight enough to stand up, but loose enough to allow it to fold in on itself.




Lucky for me, my mom happened to have an old white sheet that pretty much fit over my light "box" (frame?), so I just have it draped over the angle.  The frame sits on an old foam core board, and I can swap in/out poster board, napkins and placemats.  I have some velcro that I can use to attach different backgrounds/tissue paper/fabric when I get my act together, but for now I've kept it simple. 


Voila!

I'm still playing around with it, but it has certainly helped my night-time shots!   My lights can probably be optimized  (I've got three situated around it), but it's a start.  I've got some compact fluorescent bulbs in lamps, but honestly I'm not sure they're the best.


Pasta w/Spinach Sauce & Shrimp


Does anyone have any tips or tricks you'd like to share??  My photography, especially playing with lighting, is very much in progress!!

18 comments:

Elina (Healthy and Sane) said...

Did I ever send you those pics of you with the lightbox? The ones I took of the food didn't come out great. Maybe I was just in a weird mood or didn't direct the lighting properly. I keep wondering whether a box is worth it. I HATE taking pictures inside my apartment, but I have no choice on rainy days or late nights.

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I've always wanted to make a lightbox but I've hesitated because of the space issues. I agree that late nights make for bad pictures. My camera takes decent photos on manual (with adjusted white lighting) but I don't have the steadiest hand...so I got a tripod to help!

lesley lifting life said...

I use a light box when it's dark as well. For me, it was all about the bulbs that made the difference. I use Cowboy Studio bulbs, and really like them.

Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living said...

What a fun project to take on! I actually have a store-bought light box, but I rarely use it. I'm thrilled about the longer daylight hours for many reasons, but a primary one is so that I can photograph food in the evening using natural light :)

Erica said...

NICE! I totally need to make one of these- I am just super lazy haha. They do wonder for photographs. Glad you and your Daddy could do it together

Shannon said...

Your light box looks much sturdier than mine! Mine has been pushed around the apartment... I think my dog may have even taken to napping in it for a bit.

I've bought the energy saver daylight bulbs at Costco and they seem to work well and the price isn't bad either.

With the longer days now though, I try to use daylight as much as possible!

Joanne said...

haha love this post! I've thought about making a DIY lightbox but...I wouldn't really even know where to begin. This was a great tutorial!

5 Star Foodie said...

This is great, must really help with the lighting in the photos!

BigAppleNosh said...

How cool! I absolutely despise the lighting in my apartment (no kitchen window, harsh fluorescent) - I wish I had the skills to do this :)

Kelly said...

I have a store-bought light box that my ex got me as a present a couple of years ago, but I've never been happy with it. I usually just shoot with daylight and then supplement with Ego digital lights that I saw on another blog (I think it was Steamy Kitchen). I love them a lot.

I think I've mostly figured out lighting, the trick now is more of the styling. I definitely don't think I have as good an eye as others when it comes to that kind of stuff.

Kerstin said...

I love that it collapses, so sweet of your dad!

Ricki said...

Now, THAT is a unique and sturdy light box! I have been thinking about getting/making one for ages, but am too disorganized. Looks like a fun project, too. :)

Jess said...

That is so cool! My food pictures are terrible because I have horrible lighting in my apartment and eat dinner at like 8:30 PM anyway.

Tiny Urban Kitchen said...

Your dad is so awesome! Ha ha, my dad is SO NOT handy, and would have no idea where to start with a project like this one!

Right now I just use my halogen lamp at home, which is not too bad. The color is decent and the light is pretty diffuse since it shines UP to the ceiling. I'm just waiting for the day when I have a kitchen with a window. :)

moonsword said...

One of the best guides on earth...
http://taylortakesataste.com/food-photography-tips-tricks-and-tutorials/
Excellent stuff from a screamingly good food photographer!

Reeni said...

I tried a lightbox and it didn't work out for me - my camera was way too fussy. I like yours with the sheet and your picture looks good! Thanks for sharing!

Emily said...

Wow, that's awesome! And your picture is really good. You're so crafty.

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

I've been meaning to do this for a while too (and glad I'm not the only one procrastinating!). Your photos look great!

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