Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I'll say it now: I know nothing about photography. Shutter speed, lenses, aperture, etc. I *kinda* know a little bit, but not much. And when you want to document food or cakes, well, that kinda sucks.

I've been fairly happy with what I've been able to get out of my point-and-shoot but there's only so much it can do. As much as I can play with the different settings, when it comes down to it, the lighting in my apartment SUCKS. I've gotten some awesome pictures I've been very happy with... but that usually only happens between 1-3 pm when a sliver of natural light comes in through our teeny window. :( And sadly I don't know how to use photoshop to "fix" the lighting (I know, its weird, a cell biologist who can't use photoshop. I'm much more of an ImageJ girl.)

So what's a girl to do?? Build her own light box!

I found a bunch of tutorials online (google search: homemade light box) and decided to go with the one made of PVC pipe (instead of a box) so that I could break it down and store it easier.

Here's how I did it:

Step 1: Go to Home Depot. If you're a lady, make sure to look extra cute. Because when you go to ask someone for help finding a single piece he'll sit with you and help you assemble the whole thing...and then walk with you to the lighting aisle to help you find lamps/lightbulbs... and then ask you later when he sees you if you got everything you needed. Not that I couldn't have done it myself, but the help sure was nice :)

This is what you'll need to buy:
8 PVC pipes (they had some 2 ft long ones already cut which was perfect for me)
4 caps (for the legs)
4 connecting pieces
2 lamps
2 light bulbs, preferentially "daylight" ones
1 sheet ($2 IKEA ones are perfect!)

After ~5 minutes putting everything together you get this...

(follow me to check out the completed light box)

Wanna see how it works?

OK, here's a picture of an object on my table, directly under the shittiest bulb/lighting ever:

Pretty crappy right?.

BUT, here is the exact same flower taken photographed using the light box setup (taken with the EXACT same settings on my camera).

AMAZING isn't it?!?! I love it. And for added fun, I bought myself a tripod for even clearer pictures. It's the neat kind that you can wrap around stuff or place on uneven surfaces.

I can't wait to take pictures with my brand-new setup. (I still have ~5 posts that are old and weren't taken with the fancy light box. But after that, be prepared for some awesome pictures!)



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