Wednesday, January 5, 2011

DIY Lightboxes for Product/Still Life Photography

Taking product photos are a mean job for a beauty blogger like me who wants to give you the best  but realistic pictures. I even got a DSLR for capturing the beauty products better and true to its colors. If you've notice many of my product photos, I take pictures of them in natural sunlight. That's well and good. But the downside is I always need sunlight... so come night time, I have to make do with the light I have in my room and risk taking bad photos.

That's why I decided to finally build my own light box using a few things I could buy at the hardware store and bookstore. It's really easy to do and I just got the idea from googling DIY Lightbox.

Lightbox no.1:

Materials used:
1 Plastic see-through utility box (Ace Hardware)
3 clip-on lamps (Ace Hardware)
3 23 watt white bulbs (Ace Hardware)
2 white cartolina papers (Office Warehouse)
1 tape (I have it at home already)
1 extension cord (with three sockets) (I have it at home already)
1 pair of scissors (I have one at home already)

See below how assembled it.



The sides of the box acts like filters that diffuses the strong light from the bulb.



 Below is a sample product photo I took using the Lightbox no.1

The Body Shop Natrulift


 


I got the OSRAM light bulbs which probably cost around Php100++. Sorry! Can't find my receipt. :)


The clip-on lamps are very affordable for only Php195 each. I already have the blue ones in my possession as my vanity light. So I only had to buy one clip-on light.

Reminders:
  • The bulbs are very heavy when attached to the lamps so make sure that they are always balanced or else, you'll end up with broken bulbs. 
  • Never touch the bulbs when they have been on for too long since they are very hot!
  • Never let children play neat the bulbs/lamps

Lightbox no.2:

Materials used:
1 Banker's Box (Php69, Office Warehouse)
1 roll of tracing paper (Office Warehouse)
2 white cartolina papers, rolled (Office Warehouse)
3 Clip-on lamps (Ace Harware)
3 23 watt white light bulbs
1 extension cord
1 roll of packaging tape
1 pair of scissors

Cost: Php1100++


Secure the corners of the box with a large packaging tape. Cut out the two side of the box and cover it with tracing paper. Cut out a window on top of the box. Tape the cartolina inside the box and let it roll out, tape it if needed. Place lamps on either both side and on top of the box.



My favorite would be the top portion of this light box as it allows me to  take photos of the products from top view, like makeup palettes. It provides me with realistic photos without having to edit them on Photoshop.

Here is a sample of a photo taken from the top. :)

Fanny Serrano Blush
Isn't it nice?

The lamps are really the most expensive part of this whole DIY lightbox thing. But it's really worth the investment since you can re-use them as lights for your vanity table. But everything else are very very affordable. If you have lamps at home, you can make use of that and just change the light bulbs if they are bit smaller.

When it comes to product photography, I still have many things to learn like proper lighting. I am bit dunce when it comes to that. But having a light box wherein I can manipulate the lights makes it easier to learn.

Tips:
Use the macro mode of your camera when shooting close-up objects. look for the flower image on your camera setting.
Pre-set your white balance manually to avoid too yellowish or bluish photos. Point and shoot cameras have this mode.
Check exposure setting and lower ISO to avoid high or overexposure
Make sure that your white paper has no wrinkles or it will appear on your photos. Keep an extra cartolina on hand.
Do not put the lamps too close to the tracing paper.
Remember to remove the lamps from sockets after use.

There you have it! Thanks for checking this blog post!

18 comments :

- - aika - - said...

sis sana bumili ka na lang ng photobox

1k lang may 4 background pang kasama!
(60x60cm) meron din (50x5cm square)

since magagamit mo naman siya ng mahabang panahon

in Aie's shoes said...

Amazing! Thanks for making all that effort just so you can give us clear photos! =)

Trixie Torralba said...

great job shen! I'll make one for my own when I return to Manila :)

trixie
http://eatstrixie.blogspot.com

skysenshi said...

Naks with the DIY lightboxes! I have the same problems with lighting. Though we have a studio here at work, I can't always borrow it (they'd scold me if I use all the equipment for blogging purposes only). I always have to rely on natural sun light, boohooo! Or if I'm going to use reflectors, I'd need someone to hold them for me. Hassle!

Thanks for the tip!!

apola said...

cool Shen! I was wondering how you take your photos coz you always have an image of the products individually.. very smart!

Marge said...

holy guacamole! thanks so much for the heads up ♥

sugar sugar said...

This post is really helpful. Thanks!

Juana Kristina said...

I love this post! Gave me an idea to make one! ;) Thanks for sharing, Ms. Shen! All the best! ♥

isea said...

good job, shen! now i wish you can share how to light a vanity table so we can put makeup properly. :)

prettybeautiful.net said...

great tips and very detailed guide to creating a light box! the result is definitely worth the effort :)

*KiM* said...

Nice Shen! This is a very helpful post. Thank you!

Weyn Cueva said...

Hooray! :) I was the one who asked about this on Twitter hehe I remember looking this up a long time ago but I never really started with it because the process seemed tedious. The first one you posted looks easier to assemble, as well as the second one (I especially love the top view shots!). So yez, this time magagawa ko na sya finally hehe

mav said...

So fab Shen! I need to replace the lights of my vanity/study table haha!

Crystal said...

oh wow ang galing! i'm not much of a DIY person so if i do this it will be a challenge for me hehe

jillsabs said...

what a great post! maybe I'll try it out one of these days because you're right, relying on natural lighting all the time can get quite tricky and hampers blogging :(

earthlingorgeous said...

ang galeng! thanks for sharing I agree will Jill !

Traciethediva said...

Wow!! This is real clever! I love this idea I might try this out sometime.. Thanks for this! =D

Chrmn_cay said...

Hi Ms. Shen, If you want a mirror-like effect on your pictures. Try getting two slabs of white ceramic tile. :) 
Backdrop & bottom part. I'm using it for product shoots. Especially for Lipsticks. :) I'm trying this soon. Thanks for sharing this. 

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