Last week we saw one example of how to build a DIY photo studio or “lightbox“. This week I finished up my own, and I have to say I’m rather pleased with the results. Now I did say that I was going to do things somewhat different from the video. I’ve seen numerous videos and read some articles with pictures, each with some different variations. I came up with a few of my own as well, and these are my results.

(By the way, I needed a lightbox to film me making a lightbox. Ran into some of the same problems trying to take pics of the process. Is this irony?)

This is the step that everyone has to do first: marking the holes. Following the video from last week I used a ruler to make the lines, leaving about an inch (or the width of the ruler). From that point I started going my own direction. After taking out the pieces from the top and sides, my dad and I noticed the sides around the holes were rather weak. I left the flaps following the article I linked to last week (to block any glare from the lights, but also to close up for storage). So I took pieces from the removed areas and cut them into small braces to glue on the corners of the holes. (One of the pics that didn’t come out.) One video I saw actually had pieces on the inside the full length of the box, but the way the corners were, the outside was best.

I also used a piece to brace the back of the box. The way the box was designed and  taped the two inside flaps had a gap that I decided was too big for comfort. It already proved itself to be a weaker box. In the right corner you can see that the box is folded made it easy to decide which side would be the bottom. Had I cut that side the box might have fell apart and I would need another box.

Instead of taping the tissue paper to the outside, like pretty much all of the guides I saw, I used double-sided tape to tape it to the inside of the box. In addition to needing the braces on the outside I still think the paper will be in better shape inside the box. It still works and storing it is easier without worrying about wrecking the tissue paper on the outside of the box.

And here you can see my finished box. This is obviously before I put in the poster board. While the video from last week had the board placed in and taped first, I had to do the tissue paper first and I’m not taping the board in. (Like I said last week, I can replace it with backgrounds or a green screen for photo projects that don’t involve selling my unwanted clutter.) I did use some removable double-sided tape (instead of the stronger stuff I used for the tissue paper) to keep it in place and Dad and I noticed that the side flaps could also hold the paper steady. That’s an unexpected bonus.

Of course the big question is how well it works? Well, here’s Bass as he appeared in the NT Warrior figures review.

And here is a collage of test shot using the lightbox.

I tested different lights and arrangements to figure out which was the best with my current lamps. With this information I am now ready to take some (hopefully) great shots. The whole thing took a few hours at most and the only thing I had to buy were the tissue paper and poster board (since I got the box for free and already had the tape, ruler, and marker) so it cost me all of $3 to make a good miniature photography studio. That’s not bad, considering a professional one costs about $40 last I checked.

Looks like I need to start taking some pictures.