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Making a lightbox

I have decided that this year I am going to teach myself proper lighting and have a set up in the garage for portraiture.

At the moment the garage has our car on one side and furniture from a friend on the other – and so this plan is going to be slightly delayed whilst we sort out what should eventually be the empty side.

As a first step towards understanding metering and strobes/soft boxes etc I made myself a lightbox on Sunday using a cardboard box, cutting the two sides and top out of it and replacing this with thinnish white paper and using a sheet of thicker non-reflective white card inside as a backdrop.

For this first attempt I didn’t have a flash above the box – but just one on either side and used the Nikon F2A with Pocket Wizard remote triggers to get readings for the flash levels. This shows the set up with the meter inside the box and as I had a 50/1.2 on the camera you can see the sides of the box and the side panels of white paper.

After the test shots – which I couldn’t check as I didn’t use digital for this at all – I switched to the subject I wanted to film and the 135/2 lens.

Unfortunately, I had a partially used roll of ColourChrome 100 in the camera and so with the flash on the right turned down and the slave on the left at the only power setting it can work at – the meter wanted me to stop down to f22 on a lens that only goes as far as f16.

As I was using film that I was going to cross, one or two stops won’t make a big difference to the lighting and I just took the shots in the limited time I had. The above is a square cropped result of the Tilt-Shift lens for my Nikon.

Obviously lots to learn here as this is a crossed image (hence the grain and the slight blue colour cast) but I’m liking the result and the small things I have already started to learn about correct lighting in the home made box.

Posted by simon on August 30, 2011

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