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Soft Box for Photography

For various reasons, including product reviews at The Sand Trap and a growing (but still quite small) interest in macro object photography, I'm considering building a "soft box" for photography. The soft box is, in case I'm using improper terminology here, a "box" built with translucent (like white cloth) sides, into which I can place objects and upon which light can be shown. The cloth diffuses the light, creating a soft, all-around light.

I've heard that they're relatively easy - and cheap - to create, but I'd probably need to buy some lights, some PVC pipe, and the cloth. If anyone has seen instructions online somewhere, please point me in the right direction. I'd buy a pre-made kit if it made sense as well, but my local shop can't figure out whether they're a pro, semi-pro, or purely consumer getup.

4 Responses to "Soft Box for Photography"

  1. This and this come up in a Google search, but they don't talk about the lights I need. I don't want to build a studio in my house if I can avoid it, and I don't want to spend a fortune on lights just to shoot pictures of some golf clubs now and then.

  2. Well really, you can use any sort of bright flood lamps. When I did my studio stuff, that's what I used and it worked well. If you can get ones with flaps, it helps a lot since you can direct the light. They can be expensive, but not ridiculously so. I've seen photographers use the flood lamps (the yellow ones) you can get at Home Depot to great effect.

    The real trick is to get the background to basically melt away, and that means even lighting, and a clean - spotless background. I'm guessing that you could probably make your own rig, to provide even all around lighting the "cabinet" in such a way that each side is lit like a light-table. It would eliminate a number of shadows, but of course, then the light is less adjustable in direction,etc...and additional lighting is needed.

    Just some thoughts. Let me know how it works out. I currently use a big white sheet on a wall/floor with lighting to do studio shots. If I can build something slightly more compact for smaller items, (like Architecture Models, etc) that would be great.

  3. Halogen bulbs, much more common these days, will give you the standard for 'tungsten balanced' color, -stable, easy to white balance.

    They do run hot though, so be careful if you are building any

    sort of cloth enclosure. You can also use a white piece of foam core to bounce the light to similar effect as any more direct and brigter Soft box you might build.

    Don't forget that black can be as useful, either to make a background disappear, or unwanted reflections in shiny stuff disappear. Black velvet can be your friend.

  4. these 2 sites will show you step by step how to make a light box including lights to use