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Best lightboxes for smaller items?

  
 
Bsmooth
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Best lightboxes for smaller items?


I was just wondering what you use for lighting your smaller items to photograph? Or maybe how I should light it? I've seen some light boxes on Amazon, but I'm sure here is a better place to ask. Plus they have all there lighting coming from the top ring like , I would think side lighting might be better?
I have a sort of DIY setup made from 1/2" PVC but its a bit of a pain to setup.
I was thinking maybe a 12 to 24" box would be plenty big enough.
Suggestions ?



May 11, 2024 at 06:47 AM
CharleyL
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Best lightboxes for smaller items?


I occasionally use a 2' cube light tent. For near shadow free lighting inside the tent, I usually use three LED light panels, one on each side and one above the top, spaced about 1 foot away from the light box. To control the shadow (if I want them) I'll vary the distance and brightness of each to achieve the result that I'm looking for. My LED panels are all GVM LED 480 LS with the barn doors, which usually aren't necessary, but sometimes do get used.

You should also spend some time learning to shoot "Still Life". A good Youtube Channel to watch is "Camera Club Live". You will learn a lot about controlling light and shadows very quickly by watching his videos and working at duplicating some of his setups in these videos. Exact duplication of his props isn't necessary, but a similar setup will let you repeat his lighting very closely, and you will learn how to control your lighting for these small setups very quickly. Years ago I was doing this in the middle of my living room and getting great results. I now have a small photo/video studio that has a 19 X 26' shooting room and when the studio isn't being used for anything else, I usually stay busy setting up for and doing "still life" photo shoots in the middle of the shooting room. It sometimes takes a bit of time to round up the props for the planned shoot, but setting up for it is relatively quick, and so is tear down when another need for the studio comes up. I always make a drawing/map of each shoot noting lights used, position, distance from subject, camera and light settings, and all other information needed to repeat this shoot, so I can rapidly set up everything to continue, should I need to switch the use of the studio for other work coming in. With this map I can repeat the setup again the next time that I and my studio are available. Saving these maps also helps remember "how I did it" to make it easier to rapidly set up for a similar shoot again in the future.

When first starting to do this you may spend days trying to get things and the lighting "just right", but you will get better and faster at this with experience. If you already have the lights, camera, and tripod it won't take much of an investment and effort to get really good at lighting and photographing smaller items, even without using a light tent. Learning lighting so you can control it for the result desired is key to taking good photos of any subject, be they small or large. In most cases shooting small "still life" can be done on a 3' X 3' table, but a little larger is OK if the room space will allow it, plus 3-4' of work space surrounding it. You can use speedlites and/or studio strobes, diffusion materials, soft boxes, foam core boards, photo mounting mat board materials, etc. so very little additional expensive investment is needed to get started in "Still Life". I frequent thrift shops, dollar stores, tag sales, etc frequently and I'm always on the lookout for "props" to use in my "Still Life" photo shoots at bargain prices. I also "borrow" things from my home furnishings or get neighbors to let me "borrow" things from their homes sometimes too. I recently wanted some Rustic Weathered Boards for a "Still Life" photo shoot that I was planning, and I noticed that one of my neighbors had just torn down a section of Weathered wooden fence. When I asked if I could borrow some of the boards, he said that I could have all I wanted because "They were going to the dump".

You will likely find that photos like these can be of great interest to restaurants, banks, professional offices, etc. if the subjects in the photos are appropriate for those environments.

Charley




May 11, 2024 at 08:49 AM
rico
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Best lightboxes for smaller items?


Bsmooth wrote:
I was just wondering what you use for lighting your smaller items to photograph? Or maybe how I should light it? I've seen some light boxes on Amazon, but I'm sure here is a better place to ask.

If by light box you mean light tent then see Charley's post. I simply use panels of various kinds to surround the item and to modify the light source. I also shoot in a white studio and can generate a broad ambient fill. This fill can be given directionality by flagging, a technique called subtractive lighting. The key light is directional by definition. A complete lack of shadow creates a dead image and leaves the item without contours, while high-contrast shadows may create too dramatic a look. It's your job to find the middle ground that conveys the desired message.

Less drama:



Moderate drama:





Only one strobe used for these shots.



May 11, 2024 at 12:09 PM
jstrawman
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Best lightboxes for smaller items?


If you are frugal, OK, cheap like me, I made the following:

https://www.instructables.com/Light-Box-From-Cardboard-Box/

Works great. Plus, you can make it any size you want.



May 11, 2024 at 01:07 PM
 


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CharleyL
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Best lightboxes for smaller items?




"If you are frugal, OK, cheap like me, I made the following:

https://www.instructables.com/Light-Box-From-Cardboard-Box/

Works great. Plus, you can make it any size you want."



You will do far better if you buy translucent sheet, rather than use copy paper.
You will also do better by coming up with a better made and collapsible framework. A friend made his from 1/2" CPVC pipe and fittings. No glue, just pushed together, so he can dis-assemble it and put it in a nylon camping bag for storage. Of course, with the time and effort that it takes to build one, you can buy a 24" cube with spring wire frame, a zipper door, and red, green, blue, and white background materials for less than $50.

Charley


https://www.amazon.com/Julius-Studio-Shooting-Diffuse-Backgrounds/dp/B01GQHK4QA/ref=sr_1_30?crid=3DO70YUFEHTB0&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.bNU-ebvbYCA6N4CzKs8Hx96uCeVXK88Jqt5rzHEelJj2tzf8DMzdiK4oIVQ5lS2yhhjX52ryqYvRNJGb0AuCrgKgky1sF9pSxRwoG_-rKTqwyMXyPO7SME6QJr4D0V8V6882PuFX61Ezdf9ii0p7ehSzBcx3DUTgqB-HF-VMvguelqNM8ShjoEm3-7dhYMpV.UT285CxzPjhblXVDS8AeblsL34VdBbiVt7oBSutWKfQ&dib_tag=se&keywords=photography+shooting+tent&qid=1715776123&sprefix=photography+shooting+tent%2Caps%2C241&sr=8-30&xpid=ql2wqLTuLmlvB



May 15, 2024 at 07:30 AM
jeffbuzz
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Best lightboxes for smaller items?


For very flat lighting to control shadows and reflections, a simple 3'x3' pop-up tent is the best thing to have. You can put lights inside or out. You can even use it outside in sunlight. That's about the smallest size I can work in regardless of how small the subject it. I have a hard time getting the background or seamless where I want it with a smaller box. With the ~3' size, you can put the subject 1/3 of the way in and still have lots of space to taper of lighting on your seamless and avoid seeing the corners and edges of the box in frame.

If you want a completely self-contained solution, check out some of the "studio-in-a-box" systems that have integrated LED lighting. I have the 80cm Godox cube. Setup takes a few minutes once you get used to it. I wish it was a full 100cm, but it works great for anything less than ~1 cubic foot in size.



May 17, 2024 at 11:10 AM
gregfountain
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Best lightboxes for smaller items?


I haven't tried these, but they look pretty simple in principle and are a lot less costly than even a lightbox from amazon with a built-in LED light strip. You can use any light source on the outside to illuminate what you are photographing. It all depends on what you are shooting and how sophisticated you want to get with lighting.

https://vflatworld.com/products/the-light-cone-large



May 17, 2024 at 12:15 PM
bobby350z
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Best lightboxes for smaller items?


I shoot mostly people but like strip boxes. Comes in different lengths. chimera, photoflex. Some of the cheaper sxxx is craxx. I don't save money on lighting stuff anymore. Well I take it back, I am using Godox not Profoto.


May 22, 2024 at 07:49 PM







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