My Free DIY Lightbox

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Cool image captured with my free light box

Since acquiring my Nikon D80 Digital SLR, I’ve been spending more and more time reading and researching about how to best exploit it’s capabilities and improve my shooting skills. As a result of this effort I’ve found a wonderful resource on lighting with small off camera flashes over at Strobist. I stumbled across them when I was searching for a cheap way to build my own “light box” for shooting small(ish) objects with great studio lighting. That’s how I found this article on creating a $10 macro photo studio.

Even as cheap as it was, I wasn’t sufficiently motivated to get the parts together to build it as it would require a couple trips to crafts stores etc. Then it occurred to me, I already have most, if not all of the materials to build this just sitting around the apartment!

My base was a cardboard box originally used to carry two 2.5 gallon Arrowhead water bottles, it’s almost EXACTLY a 12” cube. Then, lacking tissue paper, I needed some sort of diffuser. I then realized I have plenty of white kitchen trash bags which are sufficiently translucent. After hacking up the box, and putting in the plastic windows all I needed was a backdrop. An old poster that had been rolled up and forgotten about in a closet for years was a perfect candidate after some cutting. So here, in all it’s glory is my free light box!

My free light box

The poster I used for a backdrop was a teensy bit wrinkled, and was a bit more reflective than I’d like but it’ll do for free!

I’d actually like to build something similar to this, but a bit (maybe a lot) larger to accommodate bigger items and allow more flexibility as far as the angle of the shot. Right now I feel like I’m pretty much required to have the camera pointing straight into the box and I can’t shoot anything that fills more than 1/3 or so of the box.

You can take a look at a few of the shots I took with it over here.