- Posted by Deliah
- On October 21, 2016
- 6 Comments
- Custom Toys, lightbox, lightbox hack, Photography, Soft Toys, Updates
We need to address the elephant in the room. I am NOT a professional photographer. I am inclined to photograph a nice meal, throw a bunch of Instagram filters on and then declare “damn I’m good”, when in reality I’m just a point and shoot kinda gal. Ok then, it’s time to build a lightbox.
~ Step 1 – Tools ~
Don’t freak yourself out and buy expensive items. I spent roughly $100 for all bits.
- Box – Hardware store (Bunnings) at checkout the old boxes laying around are FREE. So go on, stalk your local hardware store, or just ask for an old box.
- Tissue Paper – Wherever you can get it, I got mine from a box supplier I use to send out my toys, using approximately 8-10 sheets.
- Cardstock – Any craft store (Spotlight/Riot Art) pick-up the largest size white cardstock you can get your hands on. I purchased 2 pieces from Spotlight at $1.50 each.
- Sharp Stanley Knife – Hardware store, pickup one for about $2, don’t get fancy on me now.
- Packing tape – Hardware store again or use what you have on hand to save a few dollars.
- lamps x 3 – Don’t bust a hump and don’t splash out. I went to Ikea and picked up these little beauties at $15 each. They have moveable parts and clamp onto any surface. http://www.ikea.com/aa/en/catalog/products/10368583/
- Light Bulbs – Expensive, but worth it. At Ikea for $17.95 each. Check the light ‘colour’ on the front of the bulb packaging, I went with the brightest white. http://www.ikea.com/aa/en/catalog/products/50287170/
- Camera or Phone – I have a Canon 60D with flash mounted on top and flash diffuser (technical term?) and an iPhone 6.
For the Canon 60D:
- Adobe Lightroom
- Adobe Photoshop
- Google Nik – Free Photoshop plugin
Other Software/web-based services I have yet to try out
- Gimp – A free image manipulation program that can be used in place of Photoshop if you don’t want to spend the $
- Canva – Another free image manipulation web-based program that you can edit images and so much more
- Photoshop Elements – a cut-down version of Photoshop that can get the job done (thanks @lynettewilkinsonphotography for that one, I missed it)
For the iPhone 6:
- Snapseed (free app)
Other Apps/web-based services I have yet to play with for phone editing:
- PS express (free app)
- Lightroom (free app)
- Pictapgo ($2.99 app) – thanks for tip @lynettewilkinsonphotography
- Clipping Magic (web based) costs you $ to download finished images
- Fotofuze (web based)
Please let me know in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me what you use to tweak your photos so I can add them to the list!
~ Step 2 – Putting it together ~
Preparing that box. You need 1 x box, stanley knife, tissue paper(s) and packing tape.
Cut out 3 sides of the box. These will be covered with tissue paper. Don’t cut right to the edge, leave a border of roughly 5-10 cm to ensure stability to that side. If your box seems to become unstable use off-cuts to reinforce the edges by trimming them to size and tape everything up well.
Tape down 2 layers of tissue paper to each side, 1 layer is far too delicate. I cracked a major hissy fit a few times learning this lesson.
The top, left and right hand sides of the box are now completed, what a freaking star.
Now the box frame is finished, check the cardstock will fit inside. I stuck 2 pieces of cardstock together with tape to add more length and trimmed it down a little to fit the width of the box.
Tape the cardstock to the top-back section of the box and let it drape downward and curve toward the front to create a seamless background.
Can’t picture it? That’s ok here’s a shot of the completed box. Eyeball away.
Once your box is finished and ready to go, play with your lighting setup. As you can see above, I used a variety of surfaces to attach my lighting, when not in use I pack up the step ladder and fold away the lamps, no mess no fuss.
~ Step 3 – Canon 60D shots + editing tools used ~
I’ve been testing lamp positioning and camera angles. This is my second attempt at using the Canon 60D under 3 lamps with flash on. The shot below was taken on a tripod.
In this next shot, I held the camera and moved around to see what different lighting effects I could get. Definite differences were noticed, even before editing. The whites seem more vibrant and details were more crisp. Do play around with lighting and camera positioning!
The above shots were taken into Lightroom and for testing purposes I quickly developed the photo by using the ‘Auto’ preset to adjust everything.
I took my shots into Photoshop and used a plugin called Google Nik https://www.google.com/nikcollection/ I used the Colour Efex Pro filter and selected the White Neutraliser filter. Play with the filters, there are great ones in there.
~ Step 4 – iPhone 6 shots + editing tools used ~
Taking pics on the iPhone is for the purpose of quickly posting to Instagram. I did take a full shot of Mrs Growl (toy), but didn’t like the result, I’ll play around with angles to find a better result. Having said that, close up shots were much nicer. This is how I plan to use my iPhone when taking pictures.
- Lightbulbs matter, get a nice crisp white light.
- Move around, this means the lights and camera. Mix it up to get different lighting effects.
- Play with different editing tools. There are lots of free ones out there.
- If I can do it, anyone can.
All suggestions and comments are welcome and I will update this post to reflect my new findings!
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