Making a photo light tent … trial and error

I’ve been thinking about buying a pop-up light tent but before doing so I decided to try making one myself.  The theory of a light tent is to place your light source outside the translucent material of the tent, thereby reducing glare.  Ideally you should have lights on the top and sides to also eliminate shadows.

Start with a cardboard box, the size depends on what you need to photograph.  I had an empty dogfood box measuring 15″ wide and approximately 11″ high and deep that was suitable for photographing my jewellery.

I turned the box on its side so what was the top became the front.

Then I cut off the top flaps and cut out the sides and top, leaving a narrow border all around.

I had some leftover white spray paint, so I lightly sprayed the interior white.  No need for perfection as I would be lining the sides and back with white paper too.

 

The plan was to sew a fabric lining for the box, with slits at the top and at the front so I could take photos from above and also from the front.  Having the box fully lined would eliminate reflections showing up in the jewellery photos.

I measured the inside of the box and cut out pattern pieces …

pinned the pieces together …

while Neo supervised the work in progress …

and finally sewed all the pieces together and hung the lining in the box.

Here is the result, the pic has not been edited in any way.

I was aiming for a completely seamless look with the lining, hence the reason for hanging it from the inside of the box.  Although the pics are quite OK after a bit of editing, I’m not really happy with the result as the fabric isn’t taut enough and it shows.

 

Take 2 … eliminate the fabric.

To cover the sides and top I cut up two plastic hanging files, cut two halves to fit the sides and stuck them in place.  One half of a file was just the right size for the top and I decided to simply place it on top rather than sticking it so I could remove it easily in case I wanted to photograph anything from the top.

That’s it, a simple light tent ready to be used.  At the moment we have good natural light and I’m using the box outside in the balcony overlooking our courtyard with no additional artificial light.  Come Winter, I’ll find a suitable place indoors and use daylight lamps to provide light from the top and the sides.

Here’s the result, photo has not been touched or edited in any way yet.

Just a bit of cropping and brightening and here’s the final pic:

 

 

5 thoughts on “Making a photo light tent … trial and error

  1. Leina

    Well done, last pictures show real potential of using it.. I’ve been thinking of making light-tent for ages now but well… Somehow havent managed to make it…

  2. Renate

    Well done Jo! My lightbox looks nearly the same. Cardboard and all. I have a big sheet of paper for the background. Not “folded” it’s just a bit “bent”. Covers the backside and the bottom without a seam.

  3. Denise Mackenzie

    Well done! I must admit, I bought one on the internet – but it did come with 3 spotlights. A light box makes a big difference when photographing products, I wouldn’t be without mine.

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