Join Megan Andersen for an in-depth discussion in this video Project: Making a tabletop light box, part of The Art of Craft Photography.
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It's a beautiful sunny day. In fact, there's not even a cloud in the sky. And I've got these crafts that I want to take some pictures of today. But before I even turn on my camera, I'm noticing that some bad things are happening. I see a really really hard shadow here that's being cast from my vase. And also. Where the sun is hitting the the glaze of this ceramic piece the white is just blowing out completely. So, I'm hoping that's not going to show up on my camera, but I feel like if I can see it with my eye my camera's going to see it too.
So I'm just going to take a couple test shots of these crafts and see what I need to do from there. So let's see what we're working with, (audio playing) Eeh. (audio playing) Okay so, as I feared, the really dark and hard shadows that are being cast, and the white, the bright bright white reflections are just way too much. My camera just can't handle it. So what I need is some diffused light. And again since its not a single cloud in the sky I'm just going to move my crafts away and show you the solution.
We've crafted this light box and this is actually a super great way to diffuse light, it's made with some materials that you're probably familiar with or even have at home. (audio playing) It's just a cardboard box. But what we did, was using a straightedge we measured and cut out these sides. Three sides of the box, just regular pieces with our. Box cutter orUNKNOWN knife, scissors, whatever you have, and then we took some regular house hold kitchen bags that you would use for waste and we just tape them over the holes of the box using our green masking tape.
So what's that allowing us to doSOUND is just soften up all the light that's surrounding us right now, and you can see that even when I, when I turn this box around, there's a very hard shadow that's being cast just from the side of the box. When I turn it completely, the light inside is much, much softer, so I'm thinking that if I want to get a really good shot of this, this light box is going to help me tremendously. So I'm just going to place this right inside here. And yet even as I'm turning it you can see how the light is being effected.
Sunlight's coming in here, it's coming in here because we've got a white background. The backdrop we use is just a matte white paper, like a wrapping paper or some craft paper that we cut to size. And we taped it up on the inside of our box and then just gently laid it out. So that white background you're seeing, that's what that is. It's, but it's reflecting the light that's all around us too, so it's helping us tremendously in addition to just looking pretty. So, I'm turning that around, I see that where I've previously had a super hard shadow, it's now much much softer.
My reflections on the ceramic glaze are much nicer. And I'm hoping that I'm going to get a really nice shot that reflects the light that I'm getting now. (audio playing) Oh, much better. (audio playing) So because the lights softer I'm actually even seeing more detail in the in the glaze that I've got here I've got some little rough edges and some smooth spaces. I can see that way better when I put my vase into the light box because of the nice soft diffused light. And even if we weren't working outside in this great sunny day we could take this thing inside and you see these regular shoplights, you can get these at craft stores, at home improvement stores, you can probably find them at a garage sale, they're so common.
So you just clamp them on to your desk or work surface and maybe use a couple just to have light coming in from different directions. You can play with it and see what kind of results you're getting. But you light's going to be much softer, your craft's going to look way better and your photographs are going to come out. Just looking evenly lit and beautiful so that's how you get great photos in harsh light just make yourself a light box and take that super bright light into nice soft diffused light. Just a few materials and a little bit of time and a little crafting you can make your own light box and diffuse your light anywhere you go.
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