This seems to be a pretty consistent question from the cats, but today I was really getting it. I wasn’t baking or assembling furniture (Tron’s favourites) or sewing or lying on the couch with a blanket (Lulu’s favourites). This was something new… something with edges!! Yup, today I assembled a lightbox, aka a new place for the cats to rub up against. Le sigh. Love them, but they really can be menaces.
There are a ton of great tutorials out there on how to assemble a lightbox, so I’m not going to put step by step instructions here. Instead you’ll get our lightbox adventure, maybe not the best way, but done. Basically what you need to do is start with a librarian (ooh, and I have one of those in the form of the hubby) who can do all the research and bring home printouts of about 6 techniques. Then you need someone who doesn’t really like to follow directions but just look at some pictures and bodge things together on their own. That would be me. As Jamie likes to say, “there’s a right way, a wrong way, and a Rogers way”. And I’m a Rogers through and through. You just don’t want me wiring your basement.
We started with a shopping list, compiled by the boy (see above for reasons). A trip to Home Depot later and we had some lovely clamp on utility lights, 100 w eiquvalent, daylight balanced coily bulbs (you know, the enviro friendly ones). And I think that’s it. Oh, no wait, I found out they have the perfect tile for our kitchen reno. I get distracted easily. Other than that we needed a big box (mine was a computer box left over from our move), a knife to cut it with, tape, and something to mute the light. I’ve seen suggestions for fabric interfacing, muslin, and thin white paper. We had some sheets of very thin, drapey styrofoam type packing material from a recent IKEA assembly and that seemed just perfect. The final thing you need is something for the backdrop. A lot of people use white paper preferably from a long roll. Since I would be photographing lots of white clutch purses I went with a blue wrapping paper with a cherry blossom print.
Assembling your lightbox is actually pretty simple, more or less frustrating depending on how involved your pets decide to get. What you need to do is tape your box together with the bottom closed and the sides straight up. The bottom of the box will be the back of your lightbox and one of the sides will be the bottom. You need to cut windows into the other 3 sides. I cut mine with a small serated knife, leaving a 2″ frame all around the window. Once your windows are cut, take your scrim material and tape it to the outside of the box, completely covering the windows. Ta-da, lightbox! Now all you need to do is tape in your backdrop and set up your lights. Put one of each of the clamp on lights on either side of the box shining through the scrim. It was pretty dark here today so I set up an extra light in front.
My lightbox. Isn’t it pretty?