January 1, 2009

DIY light tent

G_Smolt over at the Neil Creek Chronicles gave me the idea to construct a light tent a few weeks back. I was seeking to improve my photographs, to better represent my fly patterns. I found a good source online to construct a basic DIY light tent. Luckily, Mrs. Roughfisher has a very extensive inventory of craft supplies, and I had everything I needed to complete the project without having to leave the comforts of home.

light tent suppliesA simple cardboard box, scissors and/or other sharp edge, glue, tape, bristol/poster board, and muslin or other light colored fabric is all you need to create a simple light tent. I used a hot glue gun to adhere the fabric to the outside of the side light windows.

A couple of views of the finished product:

light tent
light tent, alt viewA couple of tips I picked up were to not permanently affix the back round or the top fabric cover and use tape instead, as you can utilize different color back rounds and fabrics to achieve varying lighting effects, depending on the desired outcome. I monkeyed with a few different light sources and took some demo photos with the following results:

Lighting example 1
Lighting example 2
Lighting example 3I need to do a little adjustment with the front lighting and may possibly utilize a curtain to produce more light in front of the fly. I'm also planning on acquiring a better lighting source, something in the CCT range of 5000°K to 6500°K that will produce a natural light spectrum. This will be nice to utilize while at the vise as well.

This isn't neurosurgery or aerospace engineering, but rather a simple trick to vastly improve the quality of your photographs. Hopefully this will help you take better photos of your flies.


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  1. Hey man, your "cheapskate shenanigans" above should be replaced with "thrift and efficiency." Cool project. My wife is crafty too - I need to consider that more often.

  2. pics look good...like that pattern too...

  3. I have been wanting to make something similar to your box. Nice pictures, I dig it.