What's new

Home made budget light tent

I've been annoyed by looking at the shots I take of razors. When I buy an old DE razor, I take pics before and after the cleaning. I've just put an A4 white paper on the ground and shot with available light. So, I glanced over a guide, and went to buy what I needed earlier today:

- one box, 20kr
- white sheet, non-stretch 200kr
- thick piece of paper for the backdrop, one white and one black, 40kr

I also needed a sharp knife, a pair of scissors and some tape.

First, I cut holes in the box. Three for light, and one for the opening. There was no top on this box, so I just leave that as it is.

IMG_0711[1] by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr


Then I measure by eye how large pieces of sheet I needed for the holes, and cut them.

IMG_0712[1] by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr


After taping these on the box itself. I then inserted the backdrop into the box, and voila, the whole thing is practically done.

IMG_0713[1] by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr


The only thing missing is light. I just took some of the lamps home and put them where I wanted them. These don't omit white light, so suppose I need to do some colour correcting in PS. It's not hard to get white lighted bulbs, though.


IMG_0715[1] by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr


IMG_0716[1] by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr





And that's my new light tent. I reckon my pics of razors will be better lighted from now on, even if this doesn't give me the best results available :cornut: It cost me in total of 260kr, which equals out to about £29 / $44. I'm not sure if I could buy a new one for that price. If I could, then what the heck, I had fun making this anyway :cornut:

Some test shots. Obviously I've got some depth of field issues, hehe :cornut:

1: Laurel, Gillette Knack and Swing razor

Test by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr

2: Semogue 620, also called "soap devourer"

Test_1 by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr

3: Gillette Knack, missed focus

Test_2 by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr

4: Swing, made in Sweden. Three piece razor, obviously. Newly acquired.

Test_3 by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr

5: iPhone 4 in my alu cover

Test_4 by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr

6: Sheep on phone, apparently

Test_5 by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr


Thanks for looking :D
 
Now you need plenty of light, consider buying a triggerable flash.

As for the light color, you want to white-balance, in camera or in post-production.
If you shoot JPG (or anything non-raw), then try to do an accurate oncamera white balance, choosing the right temperature, or maybe shooting a grey card for reference. If you shoot raw (which I strongly advice), you could white balance after the shoot, but a grey card shoot would greately help anyway.

Hope it helps (I'm a photographer).
 
You should get a 18% grey card. On ebay there's plenty, but I've bought one of these which are rather expensive: http://www.whibalhost.com/_Tutorials/WhiBal/01/
The most expensive piece of plastic in the world I guess :)

If you shoot jpg, and you have a camera that allows you to set a custom white balance point, then take photo of the card filling the entire frame with it. No need to focus, speed and aperture unimportant, the only important thing is fill the frame and to use the same light conditions of the "real shoots". In this case, put the card into the tent. Then use the camera's menu to say that the grey photo is the white point. Then shoot all your other photos and you'll get a perfect balance, as long as the light remains the same.

If your camera does not allow you to set a custom white point, do the same as before, but set the white balance to the most similar of your conditions, like "flash", or "tungsten". It's not very precise but it works. Then in postproduction, use your importing/converting software to set the white point. For example with Lightroom or with Camera Raw there's an eyedropper which you will use to pick up the card's grey. It's a little fake because with jpg the white balance is already done in camera, you can only re-balance something already balanced! Same thing goes for contrast, sharpening, etc. you can only overdo. That's one more reason to shoot raw, but the results are acceptable.

If you shoot raw, just use the card in one of your shoot, no need to fill the frame. You can also take the card shoot on another day if you forget to! With the same light conditions of course. Then in the postproduction software pick up the grey color and apply the whitebalance to all the shoots. It's so easy.

Here's a stupid shoot of my card (and fingers) I did in Argentina, because there was nothing grey to use and I knew I would have had troubles afterwards.

$_MG_4911.jpg
 
Flashes cost money, the rumours say :p It is possible to buy bulbs with white light, but I don't know what those cost. I should probably have a flash anyway, but I've never really felt a use for it. I shoot mainly landscapes, architecture and other awesome things (like that digger in the gravel thread). I take multiple exposures and merge to HDR images. I really dig the look of tonemapping, if done correctly.

Grey card is good advice. I've thought about it many times, but never bothered to get one. How well does a grey card to when I'm using different kinds of light sources? They all don't have the same colour, those lamps I used. It's always best to get the image as good as possible in-camera, indeed.

I just wish I had the Canon 100mm/2.8 macro lens (non-L) to get really close on my razors. DOF decreases, though, so I'm not sure how much work I should put into this. Stacking is always a possibility, though.
 
You should get a 18% grey card. On ebay there's plenty...

18% grey.. I would have never guessed. I always thought those were 50%. That made sense to me. Also I thought that for white balance I needed a white card not 18% gray. Thank you so much for the answer and the explanation, you saved me hours of searching and probably some money for buying things I don't need.
I used to shoot raw (nef) but I seem to have some problems with installing that nef converter for Photoshop so I used jpeg setting during last few months. I prefer nefs because of more maneuvering space in postproduction. I also prefer photos with distorted, skewed (I don't know the right word) colors but I recognize that I can't often go in postproduction where I want to go without a good starting point. Forgive my blabbering, I'm an amateur photographer.

Thanks again for the answer it was very comprehensive.
 
Lamb Root, yes, it changed everything in my photography, when I got my first camera, when I realized the all the light meters in the world try to give you an 18% luminosity level. That's what the meters consider a medium gray. And that's why if you shoot the snow with an Auto setting, you get grey snow! (just overexpose two stops and you're fine). Are you shooting with soft-lights during a party? You get grey photos, because the camera wants that frikin' 18% luminance (so just underxpose to taste to keep the party's mood). Rather counterintuitive to overexpose in the snow, uh?!

I advice you to keep shooting raw (nef or whatever), to convert that proprietary raw format to an open format (Adobe's DNG) because you are the owner of your digital negative, not Nikon!

And finally, use Lightroom if you can. It costs little money and it's designed by photographers for photographers, I love it.
(no I don't get payd by Adobe if you're wondering :))
 
Yup, the lightmeters aren't very intelligent. Take control over your exposures :)

I've never given much thought to white balance, because I shoot in raw and make adjustments whenever I need. My auto WB takes care of all my landscapes 99% of the time. But yea, grey cards are inexpensive, and you can get them in small and manageable sizes - I definitely should have one. Those ought to be in every (hobby) photographers' bag.

RAW rules, BUT, we've lived many years without it. I believe in shooting RAW, and that it gives me greater ability to control my photos. That said, JPEGs won't give you bad shots. You may lose some detail in the shadows, much of the initial information is thrown away, but I'm sure I'd be able to take shots to be proud of in JPEG mode. It's just easy to be bitten by the "all must be perfect" attitude. Those saying JPEGs aren't worth using are, IMO, without much knowledge. The same goes for those claiming RAW is a waste of time.

That's about the best advice I can give you concerning RAW vs JPEG. And, here's a general tip: one of the most basic things that put photographers aside from snap shooters, is awareness of the background. Always check that and make sure there are a minimum of annoying elements there. Sometimes you can clone them out, but often you can't get around it. Pay attention to your background. very important. :)

DSLR are "think and shoot" cameras. Using them as "point and shoot" cameras is, IMO, a waste of money :)
 
What an informative thread. Since digital photography took over I've used a variety of "point and shoot" cameras. Like most Forums on B&B, this one is as dangerous as all the rest! I've become much more interested in photography, and at this point in my life actually have some time to devote to it. I've never used any "post production" software. The only thing I had heard of was Photoshop. Now I've heard of Lightroom. Are there any others? What wuld you recommend for a neophyte who has never used anything like this before?

Sorry to hijack the OP's thread.
 
@Compaq I totally agree with you, except for the following:
RAW rules, BUT, we've lived many years without it.

I'm old enough to have started shooting film. That was raw! Jpg is like taking a printed photo, scanning it and postproduce it with photoshop.

@strop, photoshop is super good (and expensive), I use it, but it's been invented mostly for graphics designers, painters, etc. You can of course use it for photography (in tandem with camera raw for example) but Lightroom and Aperture (Apple world), are designed for photographers from the ground up. You can manage your photo library, print very easily, create a photo album and publish on your blog of flickr with a click. And it costs a fraction, about $150.
http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-lightroom.html
http://www.apple.com/aperture/

:)
 
This is what I've been using to organize and store my photos. JASC-Paint Shop Photo Album 4. It has a little capability for manipulation, resize, crop, basic adjustment of exposure, and some effects like borders, etc. I do my SOTD shots with it. I assume Lightromm is a big upgrade? Do you think Lightroom of Aperture is a better program? I've never shot RAW before but am intrigued and would like to play around a bit with all this.

BTW, it came with my Dell computer. It's at least 7 or 8 years old.

http://accessories.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=dfo&sku=a0286904
 
@strop if your Jasc photo album does what you need, just keep using it. But you can also download a Lightroom trial version, then decide.
 
@Compaq I totally agree with you, except for the following:


I'm old enough to have started shooting film. That was raw! Jpg is like taking a printed photo, scanning it and postproduce it with photoshop.

@strop, photoshop is super good (and expensive), I use it, but it's been invented mostly for graphics designers, painters, etc. You can of course use it for photography (in tandem with camera raw for example) but Lightroom and Aperture (Apple world), are designed for photographers from the ground up. You can manage your photo library, print very easily, create a photo album and publish on your blog of flickr with a click. And it costs a fraction, about $150.
http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-lightroom.html
http://www.apple.com/aperture/

:)


Sure, film is RAW. What I meant that we've lived in the digital age without the option to shoot RAW, and that era has given us many great photographs :)

As for software, GIMP is free. You can use layers, and do very much of that photoshop offers. The biggest drawback is, perhaps, that GIMP does not support RAW files.

Many aspiring photographers are "purists". Meaning they think post processing is "cheating". They soon come over this stage, though.

One of the most important things to be able to do, is to SEE what the image needs. If you don't see that it needs contrast, being cropped, burned/dodged or any other thing you might do, then how should you start? Look at photographs you like, and try to compare with you own (of same style). After a time, you'll "feel" when you need more contrast, feel when some of the highlights are too bright. This takes some time, though, and your own personal style will emerge with it. :)

One thing I DEFINITELY advice you to do, is to join a dedicated photography forum. There you can post your images for critique, and get helpful feedback on how to improve. You may need a little thick skin, some people can seem harsh - the truth can be harsh sometimes :)
 
Talking about the analogue era, here are some shots taken in the light box of my Olympus 35 SP, one hell of a beautiful camera! I'm having some DOF problems here. I stopped down to f/9, but that wasn't enough to get the entire camera in focus. I'm using continuous lighting, not flashes, so my shutter speed was so low I would stop down any further. ISO-400 on all.


Produkt by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr


Produkt_1 by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr


Produkt_4 by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr


Produkt_3 by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr


Produkt_5 by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr


Produkt_2 by Anders Myhre Brakestad, on Flickr



BTW, my iphone skin is called "Arachnophobia". It's aluminium, and screws on.
 
Top Bottom