My first light box

by Elaine Luther

I have tried a few different photo light boxes in the past few years. I’ve posted on them extensively on Orchid and have written articles that have appeared in the newsletter of the Chicago Metal Arts Guild and The North American Felters Network newsletter.

My current favorite lightbox, for size, ease of use, ease of assembly, and presence of a back drop clips is: the Patterson Medium Light box. It was $44.00 when I bought it, I think it’s up to $47.00 now.

You can find it in the studio section at B & H, then light domes and tents.

It’s a good size, so you don’t have to worry about running out of backdrop room if you make something big. The backdrop clip is awesome. After years of using jerry-rigged systems, I really appreciate this set up. Yes, you could build it yourself for less, but boy they’ve done a nice job for a reasonable price.

To go with that, you can buy seamless back ground paper in a number of colors from most any large photography supply place. If you want gradient gray, you can by that in small, affordable pieces from

It’s hard to find. It’s under backgrounds, then tabletop, then gradients.

Other folks recommend printing out your own at home using Photoshop and photo paper.

At a recent meeting of the Windy City Chapter of the PMC Guild, many of us brought our photo light tent set ups to show and for members to try out. People brought jewelry and took test shots.

One of the systems a member brought was the American Recorder Photo Studio in a Box, here is a link to one place to buy it:

This is apparently one of those products that came out to meet the needs of the eBay seller. I was very impressed with how it truly folded flat and also takes less than a minute to set up. It would be more accurate to call it Photo Studio in a bag. The whole thing is in a “bag” the outer parts of which are also it, the light tent. You unzip and un-velcro it, pop out the sides and ta-da! You’re in business!

That is comes with lights and is only $99.00 is incredible. If I needed everything, I would probably get this one. When we used this at the Guild meeting, we added a ramp of foam core underneath the background.

Photography Links

Where to learn: go to Product Photography How To go to library, search for excerpts from Small Scale Photography by Charles Lewton Brain. This is where I got my start and what I based my first set up on. a little course in photographing small items how to build a $7.00 set up. article by Cynthia Eid, excellent, complete

How to Build Your own Lightbox: see a homemade light tent very detailed how to make your own light tent this one uses an IKEA hamper!

Where to buy:

Seamless paper and large gradient gray backgrounds:

Very small gradient gray backgrounds, only $9.99:

Light tents, domes, etc.
Any photography supplier. Some folks like

I happen to have gotten my light tents from: has an expensive system, $399.00 for the smallest one

(c) Elaine Luther 2007-2008 All Rights Reserved

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