Guest Post – DIY Photography Tent

Well, today seems like as good a day as any to post this lovely guest piece from Fiona – who co-hosts #CraftBlogClub with me and is hosting tonight’s chat about photography – which runs in line with this great post about a cheap and easy way to get great photos for your blog! Thanks Fiona!

Hi!, I’m Fiona from fizzi~jayne makes…. and I also co-host #CraftBlogClub with the lovely Emma.  Over on my blog (fizzijaynemakes.blogspot.co.uk) I have been doing a photography season with lots of hints and tips for taking great photographs.  I reviewed the book “The Crafter’s Guide to Taking Great Photos” by Heidi Adum and in this book there is a tutorial on how to make a light tent from a cardboard box.

If you have a blog or sell your products you know how important it is to have professional looking photos but not everyone can afford a professional photographer or have all the gear, so I wanted to see if this cheaper alternative does the job.

You will need:

1. ingredients1

Required

  • A Cardboard Box.  The larger the box/tent the more the light can bounce around.
  • Semi-transparent paper such as tracing paper or baking parchment
  • Stanley knife or something suitable to cut through the box
  • Sellotape and Double-Sided Tape
  • Thick white paper, I used wallpaper lining
  • Natural light bulb and lamp

What I used in addition to the instructions:

  • Cutting mat to protect your surfaces whilst cutting the box
  • White paint (I used some white emulsion left over from decorating last year)
  • Have parcel tape on hand in case you get carried away with cutting, like me!

Hopefully most of this you have stashed away or you can easily get hold of them cheaply.

The camera I used is my Digital SLR, a Canon EOS 600D. I took all the pictures on shutter speed 1/125.  ISO was on auto.

How to make it

Take your cardboard box with the opening facing you and cut out large pieces out of the top and side panels.  Leaving enough of the edges to keep the structure and keep the base and back intact.

I painted the inside of the box white, allowing light to reflect more.  Light picks up colour and could cause a colour cast on your product.

2. box cut and painted3. box with sides cut outReplace the sides and top with semi-transparent white paper, I used baking parchment. However, being waxy it didn’t stick well so I would advise using a strong double sided tape or use tracing paper instead. 4. Box covered in parchment inside

5. completed box from outside

Create a runway from the back of the box with the wallpaper lining. Make sure there is a curve at the back to create a seamless background.  I attached the paper with double-sided sticky tape.

6. completed box insidePlace tent near a light source such as a window, outside or lamp.

Place your product inside the tent so it is within the three papered walls.

7. product in box

As with all my photo shoots I took these pics in my conservatory, depending on the direction of the light and time of day I use a lamp with a natural light bulb to balance the light and remove dark areas. On this particular day I did not need additional lighting.

So does it work?

I was pleasantly surprised! I took the following pictures and the only editing I did was cropping the image.

Here is the image of one of my custom orders that was ready for its portrait before being delivered….

8. card image taken in box

And then I took a picture of my favourite mug….

9. mug in box

The lighting was particularly good when I took these pictures and I know not everyone has a conservatory and not every day is a heatwave! So I took more photos of my favourite mug in a darker room.

10. lounge shot I thought I might need my lamps for inside.  I took a photograph with the lights on….

11. mug inside with lights And without the light….

12. mug inside no lights The lights did help but some further tweaking of the brightness would be needed in post-production, however, this is what I would expect from taking pictures in my lounge.

Overall I think it did work as a light tent.  The problem I have is it won’t fold flat so I am not sure where I will be able to store it.  The box is also fragile, you may have seen the amount of parcel tape I ended up using, so I do not think it will last long but as a short term solution I am happy with the results.

If you fancy making your own light tent I would love to know how you get on and see your photos.

fizzi~jayne x

fizzijaynemakes@blogspot.co.uk

Twitter: @fizzijayne

Facebook: FizziJayneMakes

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