Last night, I created a home-made lightbox in about one hour, and because it was so simple and fast and inexpensive, I want to share with you how I did it.
I used this tutorial as my guide and pretty much followed their directions. I started with a decent-sized cardboard box and, using an exact-o knife, cut out squares of cardboard from the 2 sides and the top of the box. Then I grabbed some white tissue paper from where I keep all my gift wrapping stuff, and taped the tissue paper on the outside of the box, covering the open squares like this:
I then got a $.99 piece of matte (matte is key! no glossy paper) white posterboard from the nearest office supply store, cut it to fit the width of the inside of the box, and laid it inside so that it bends upward but is not creased.
I grabbed some desk lamps from around the house, propped everything on the dresser in my spare bedroom, set up my tripod in front, and started snapping some shots.
My normal backdrop for smaller items has been a creased piece of white poster board set up against a wall, which leaves a visible "horizon line" like this:
That's fine, and lots of people have that, but I wanted an endless background look.
So now? Voila!
I still have lots of playing to do, as far as setting up the lights on the outside of the box, and I messed around with my white balance settings on my Pentax K-x, as well as with aperture and ISO, so I'm obviously going to need some time to find the right settings.
As you can probably tell from this example, I had a lamp placed to the right of the box, which created that oval of super bright white in the background. You still get a good, clean shot of the object, but that orb in the back is no good.
So, I'll be doing a lot of experimenting over the next few weeks. But at least now I have the tools to create much better pictures of small, stationary objects. Let me tell you - this is KEY for any etsy seller. If you frequent the front page, you'll notice that objects that are photographed with a plain, neutral background in the most crisp, clear way are usually the items that make it. GOOD photographs are super important!
So there you have it. If you are one who frequently takes photos of smaller items, this would be a great project. It's not hard to find cardboard boxes, and the additional supplies are cheap and minimal.