Illuminating the Darkness…Or how I built a lightbox for cheap.

Evening people, Bifur here.Just a short one today: As you might have noticed we here at SFJY do like to put plenty of photos into our articles (Some may say this is to distract from the multiple spelling mistakes and grammatical errors), this is all to the good but I tend to use my phones’ camera. It’s a good camera but as I live inn a mine with very little natural light and I only use the most environmentally friendly energy saving lanterns. These facts often leave my pictures with a washed out yellow tinge. I’ve tried using the flash on the phone but that tends to create overly harsh colours and so many shadows that it looks like my subjects are being pulled down into Hades by shadow demons….

The solution to this problem? A lightbox. Whats one of those? Basically its a chamber into which you put the subject to be photographed. The inside of the chamber is then lit by diffused bright light and usually has a neutral colour on the interior of the chamber. This means the subject should end up welllit but without shadow. Again, all to the good, but as you should know from our Brewing posts we are nothing if not cheap and resourceful (in a ghetto way) so I decided to build a light box with as little outlay as possible. Below is the process and results of my efforts:

Firstly I gathered together the necessary tools and materials for the endeavour; A big dsc_2193.jpgcardboard box, scissors, tape, an old white cotton pillowcase, some white paper and a can of white spray paint.

First thing to do is rebuild the box and then cut off the flaps from the top. I then used these flaps to even out the surface at the bottom of the box (This would become the back of the lightbox).


Once the back was as even as possible I used a few pieces of normal printer paper toround off the bottom corner of the box in order to create an infinate horizon type thing for the finished product. In order to diffuse the light I was planning on shining into the box I cut big squares out of the sides and top of the box, over which I stretched squares cut from some old (but clean) pillow cases. The cloth was held in lace with lots (and lots) of tape.

I then coated the inside of the box with a layer of matt white spray paint and grabbed all the portable light producing things I could find around my dwelling (I have a surprising amount of battery powered led lights…) and after an amount of time messing around positioning them to get the best lighting possible I took a few test pictures. In the interest of comparison I took some pictures using my normal methods.



Picture taken with using only the ambient light.


…this one with the flash on my phone


And this one was taken in the light box.

I’m really pleased with the results. There’s a few things I might change when I can: There is to much tape inside the box which causes slight issues with reflections, but I managed to avoid this by messing about with the angles of the lights and the camera. I also need to get a few more lights to chase away the last of the shadows.Nevertheless with what I’ve done and all without actually buying anything…

Stay tuned for more ghetto hobby projects and better pictures of them in the future!







4 responses to “Illuminating the Darkness…Or how I built a lightbox for cheap.

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