Good lighting is crucial for any photography. Especially if you are shooting hard goods, products or any still life, then good lighting is must. You need to control every shadow and highlights of the photo to make sure that the image is just perfect. This is because, a good product photo can directly influence your sale. This article talks about how you can create your own DIY light tent, without having to spend loads of cash on eBay or Amazon.
Read ahead to know how!
This is a basic DIY light tent, which works wonderfully well for at-home product photo shoots. You can use your own methods and improvise further if you wish. The biggest advantage of this light tent is that you can use materials that are lying around at home, without having to throw them away. Easy and convenient.
The Materials Needed
The materials for this DIY used here is a reusable cardboard box. The dimensions can be anything, but I used a one with a resin plastic shelf. The size of the box is 16 inches x 15 inches x 15 inches. The size actually depends on the things you want to fit in. Most of the things that I wanted to capture fit in here perfectly well. So, this size was fine.
The next things that you would require are:
- Masking tape or a duct tape.
- Double sided tape.
- An X-acto knife.
- A glue stick.
- Printing grade Tyvek.
- A semi-transparent or a transparent ruler.
- Bristol board.
You would also need a semi-transparent white material; it can be a white paper, nylon films, white suiting and anything that can be used similarly.
The Basic Step to Make the Light Tent
- First lay the box flat on your working table.
- Then on one side of the box, make a one inch to one and half inch border on all four sides, using a ruler. This is because you need to cut the hollow square inside the box.
- This hollow must be made on all four sides of the card board box. So when you are marking the first one, you can mark the rest of the sides too.
- The next step would be to cut the middle part to create a hollow. Use an X-acto knife for smooth cutting. If you are not sure just follow the images. You will know what it should look like.
Assembling the Cut Parts
- Now, open the box and tape the bottom part to create a base.
- Tape the interior and the exterior seams too, to make it stronger.
- This tapped bottom will act as the foundation on which you can place the objects for photography.
- If you feel that the sides are a bit wobbly after cutting the hollow part, do tape them to create reinforcements.
The box is now set for the next part of DIY.
Wrapping the Box
Using the semi-transparent materials that you have chosen, you need to wrap the box on all four sides. This is done to create a flawless background while photo shoots.
I have used a printing grade Tyvek to cover the box. You can attach it with the help of a glue stick.
Adding the Continuous Background
The actual secret to create a DIY that makes this tutorial stand out is adding the continuous background. This is where the magic happens. By doing this step you create a professional soft box effect; to make your subject more visually appealing. It is advised here to avoid using fabrics, as far as possible. The best option would be some kind of soft plastic or even paper so that you avoid any creasing or distractions caused by a fabric.
The first step in this part is to measure the height and depth of the box.
Then, cut a Bristol board in the dimensions take above and fit it inside the wrapped box. This will create a background for the subjects. Alternatively you can also use a black or blue coloured Bristol board, but white is used here for a professional look.
Place the Bristol board placing one end at the front of the box and the other end loosely connected to the top. You can use double sided tape at the top to loosely stick the board. The board should curve like a wave for a flawless background effect. Take a look at the picture if you do not understand.
Adding the Light
At this stage you can place any object inside the box and take a trial shoot of how your subject would look like. A pro tip is to cover all the part of the box in white paper using a glue stick. The sides can also be painted white, if you want. The main goal here is to make it all white.
For lighting, I have used a desk lamp and a few Ott light of 13 watt each. This should be good for some basic product photography. For some more lighting effect, you can later on add a simple clamp style fixture with a 100 watt light bulb. Try to experiment with light as much as you can.
Lastly, cover the remaining sides with semi-transparent film of your choice. This will create a softer effect and make everything visually appealing. The light entering the box will be diffused and the photo will soften, as shadows disappear.
This easy DIY saves a lot of cash in the long run and most of the materials are easily available at home. Try on some photo shoots when you are done. I have added some photos to show you how the images were, when I used this DIY light tent. Simple yet clear images, perfect for any ecommerce website!
If you are inspired by this post to make one, do let us know how it turned out. You can also share some tips and tricks which may be useful for our readers around the world.