Thursday, March 29, 2012

Light box

in this post, I go over the overhauling of my old lightbox.

While images weren't that bad before, they could have been a lot better, and it was when I noticed unsightly shadows, usealy on faces, all over the stuff I photographed that I then decided to fix the thing up.
it was also something of a pain in the butt to rearrange my lamps every time I wanted to use the light box.

Obviously, one of the first things you're gonna need for a light box is some lamps, you can get them at a number of stores for around $10+ but since I'm a NEET, I couldn't afford to spend very much at all on this.
Luckly, I got a hold of a pair of old lamps for only $1 each at a yard sale, very lucky since I almost never leave my home ( and have not done so again since acquiring those lamps weeks ago )
Anyways, they were simple enough to take apart, I'd only need to ends and cable for this project after all.
shown is one of the two already taken apart (sorry about the image quality, dim room)

Using a spare cardboard box,  I made these extensions on each side of my old light box, cut a hole in the side and placed the end of each lamp.

My old light box was just one box with holes in the front sides and top cut out.
inside it has sheet of paper used for presentations or something like that, got that a long while back for a little more than $1, but my camera didn't like the pure white background, so I went to get one in black cost me another dollar or so, images didn't look right with that one either, in the end, I used the back of a poster frame that I noticed had a solid gray color to it.
been using that since.

back to the project...
I cut the holds just big enough for the bulb's screw part to fit into, the lamps are held in place by the bulbs themselves, they stay in place pretty well.

Something else I'd like to point out, is that it helps to seal off the area around the bulb with something white, makes the light shine a little bit brighter.
Something reflective might also work, but probably wouldn't spread the light very evenly.
In my case, I used fed-ex priority shipping boxes for my sides, which are white.

Figured I should make something to hold a lamp above also

few hours of cutting and taping scrap cardboard, and we've got another mount for a lamp.

During the same day I got the lamps, I also got some white fabric for a $1
which I cut and placed over each hole.

Day later, and lamp thing we ordered a week before showed up
this one cost me $3.
at the time it seemed like a good deal, cheapest I could find lamps online were like $5.
Had I known how cheep lamps are at yard sales, I'd probably not have gotten it online, but whatever, still beats store bought.

I exposed the wire on one, and striped the wire at the ends on the other two lamps accordingly, and attached them simply enough.

To my surprise, it worked, and my wiring didn't burn down the house.

unfortunately, I didn't have any spare white lights, and had to use these yellow lights for the time being to test out the box.

I'd like to take this chance to say, I really freaking hate how they label yellow light bulbs as 'warm white', and white as 'daylight'   this is why I have these bulbs, my mom brought home the wrong type becuase of that stupid backwards labeling.

Anyway, while testing it out, seemed I made the mistake of centering the lamps.
They should really be placed a little ahead of the item.

few more days of waiting and I got some real white ( aka daylight ) bulbs in the mail.
They ran me $2.50 each
I think you can see the difference for yourself.

I for one think it came out pretty darn nicely if you  ask me.
still requires a bit of photo editing before calling the images done, but it doesn't take as much time now, and I think the quality is a lot nicer now.
I'll probably be updating some of my older posts at random after this with newer and better pics.

Now if only I had a decent camera....
for that matter, more room becuase now I have nowhere to keep this thing....

This project cost me in all like $12, lot better than retail light boxes that can cost $30+, which can also be really small, with little room to work with.
but the size depends on what you're gonna use it for.
besides, who doesn't have a cardboard box laying around? maybe some scrap sheets of fabric and old lamps you don't need anymore?
it's a real easy build, and in the end can make damn near anything look a lot nicer.


  1. If you could do this with cardboard, paper, duct tape, and old lamps, imagine what you could do with professional equipment.