The Strobist DIY Light Tent

Strobist Light Tent in Action
My article on Do It Yourself Light Modifiers has proved to be quite popular. Bouncing light around large spaces is all well and good, but what about when you need to light one item really well. Say, for a product shot or something? Enter the Strobist DIY $10 Macro Photo Studio. That’s just a fancy way to say light tent. The photo above is one I created this past weekend. Once I had all the materials, it took me all of about 30 minutes to complete. I am not going to recreate the directions (printing the Strobist article is perfect), but I did want to explain what I did differently.

They recommend using a minimum of a 12x12x12 box, and leaving the top flaps on to control the light more. My box was something like 18x12x12 or something (I didn’t take measurements). I wanted it to be deeper though, so I taped all of the “flaps” together to extend the depth of the box (a little Duct will do ya). I then left one inch or so remaining to frame the 3 “windows”. Instead of tissue paper, quite by mistake I bought craft mylar (I think this might be really similar to the mylar drafting film I couldn’t find for my softbox project). It cuts really easily, and seems to be more durable than tissue paper would be. And it diffuses the light REALLY well. I used white duct tape to increase reflectivity inside the box. It definitely looks homemade, but the results it produces are just as good as the light tent I used in a previous job that cost 15x as much as this one (I already had the tape and box, so my out of pocket total was $4 for two sheets of poster board and the mylar film).
Remote Control Helicopters
This photo (click for larger version), of one of our Air Hogs Havoc helicopters and our Revell Fire Strike, was shot in the light tent at my house in Lakewood, Colorado. I used my Olympus FL-36 flash, fired remotely with a Cactus trigger, at 8mm and 3GN. The results are quite pleasing and work well enough for my needs. My next test will be to use it with static light instead of a strobe, and taking a photo of something on the black background instead of the white. For $5, you sure can’t beat this. In fact, I am already thinking of making a MUCH larger one, maybe out of a refrigerator box, to use for larger items, like tires and wheels. Hmm…

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