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Making an Inexpensive Light Tent

I've been meaning to do this post for a while now and am FINALLY getting around to it. I just posted it on Craftster, so now I'm posting it here on m'blog.

I do not have an awesome camera. In fact, I have a pretty basic point-and-shoot digital camera ( Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX12, I think it's outdated and they have a newer model a few times over.) But I like to think that my pics are alright! They used to be "meh" but they're better now! I wanted to share my photo set-up in case anybody was wondering how it's done.

I had seen make-your-own-light tent tutorials around the internet, and after looking at several and getting tips from other bloggers, I came up with my current set-up.

1. The light tent is made out of a big clear plastic tote on its side. Many people suggest making it out of a cardboard box with the sides cut out, but this seemed much easier. Any opportunity to avoid using a box cutter, am I right? ;) The suggestion for using a plastic tote came from Saint Angel.
2. To diffuse the light coming in from the sides, I taped sheer white fabric to the outer sides of the tote. I actually used the lining of a skirt I had ripped apart, so it was pretty sheer.
3. I attached 2 small work lights to the shelf(found them at Walmart) and pointed them at each side. I used the GE Reveal light bulbs that are more similar to natural light. My photos still turn out a little yellow, but not as terribly yellow as with normal bulbs. I just fix that on the computer by hitting "auto-color".
4. The background is white posterboard trimmed down to fit inside the tote. There are 2 pegs that I drilled holes for to keep the posterboard from sliding out. You can use pushpins, too, but it takes some muscle to sink them in the plastic the first time! Also, you can choose other colors of posterboard if you wanted. I have a black sheet of posterboard behind the white one to swap out when I want a dark background. 

BEFORE: So I went from pics like this (just on my craft table with the lamp on, lots of shadows, meh colors, hard to get a good focus)

AFTER: To pics like this (In the light tent, minimal shadows, good colors, easy to focus)

So that's that. I always take the photos with the flash off, then once I put them on the computer, I hit "auto-color" and "auto-contrast" in my editing software (I use Picasa), and it's good to go. I hope this info is useful! Happy Monday!


Vanessa R-A said...

That's awesome, Kira! What a great tip! The best part of using the tote is you could just put the lamps inside and pack it away if you don't need it out. :) Pinning this!

Carmen said...

very, very useful. I too have been looking at the cut out box ones but being very, very accident prone with sharp objects I've been putting it off. Thanks for this :)

Jakewetzma said...

AWESOME...thanks for sharing this!

Jeanine said...

Way to go; that's great!

Clareewall said...

What a fantastic idea! Ive seen ideas
Ike this around but they've been expensive and hard to put together. Thank you for sharing!

Susan ~ Killam Creative said...

Great idea to use a plastic bin. I have one of the huge pop up fabric thingies but it's a pain to use... so I don't. I've been thinking of something smaller to put on my spiffy new racks - I just might give this a try!