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'No Frills' $75.00 home studio tent/lightbox

Discussion in 'The Gallery' started by SharpByCoop, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. Balislinger

    Balislinger Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 11, 2003
    Thanks, Coop. What do you use the tracing papers for? I saw earlier that you recommended draftsman's velum paper for diffusion instead of a trash bag, so do you use the tracing papers for background somehow?
     
  2. kenstogie

    kenstogie

    32
    Oct 26, 2012
  3. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    LOL! Velum paper IS 'tracing paper'. Same thing, called a different name.

    Ken: See post #16, then read to post #24. Puuuuhlease.

    Coop
     
  4. kenstogie

    kenstogie

    32
    Oct 26, 2012
    I did and I don't get it. I am sure yours is better as its custom and think your photos are fantastic just thought if someone wanted to take pics of their knives would give them a cheap starting point. I use my lightbox with my Canon 7d with fairly good results but mostly for stuff on Ebay, a picture is worth a thousand words. Again, awesome photographs.
     
  5. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Hi Ken,

    Thanks for your kind comments on my work. I DO appreciate that.

    I thought $75 was a pretty cheap starting point. :) My setup can be made for even less, but I included everything necessary for specific KNIFE photography.

    Serious: Do me a favor and post a knife photograph in that $40 tent. I'd like to see. I may learn something. :thumbup:

    And so may you? ;)

    Deal?

    Coop
     
  6. Balislinger

    Balislinger Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 11, 2003
    Thanks, Coop, I pick up some of that velum tracing paper for the box I'm building. Ken, this thread has nothing to do with softbox kits. There are other threads on those you can look up and comment in. I've been through a couple of those kits like the one you linked to, outgrew them pretty quickly, and ended up creating my own set up with a large diffusing tent and three point lighting on stands with a weighted boom. My set up was alot more expensive, but finally got the job done. Coop's set up is alot less expensive than the one I built, and works better, also with a smaller footprint. So you have to understand the value of his years of experience. Of course someone can buy a little crappy softbox kit and take OK pictures. Coop's set up is built to allow for really great shots at the same rock-bottom price.
     
  7. Balislinger

    Balislinger Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 11, 2003
    OK guys, I built my new lightbox. It takes up alot less room in the office, so thumbs up on that. I think it might even take better pictures, but I'll let you be the judge of that. Here are the new pictures I took in it today, followed by pictures from my old set up. I would appreciate your comparison and critique of the new ones. BTW, The George folder was dirty from use and I didn't bother to clean it up for the picture.

    NEW PICTURES FROM NEW LIGHTBOX:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    OLD PICTURES/OLD LIGHT TENT:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Give me some feedback! Thanks
     
  8. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Hi George,

    Hard to compare as they are two very different blades. Both sets are overall clear.

    THe new tent shots show the handle nicely. I'd MUCH prefer showing your setup, too.

    This is my field, and since you asked; here's some critique....

    Too much light in the middle of the blade. Washout on the guard. The handle needs more bias, as does possibly the tip. BIG dark reflection on the blade.
    [​IMG]

    OK lighting on the handle. Clumsy reflection on the guard completely dominates this one. Maybe on the above shot and this one, it is your reflection? Never a good thing.
    Blade lighting is shadowy.
    [​IMG]

    OK overall, but the lighting is darker up in the upper RH corner. Need more light. A bit too overhead lighting on the blade and you lost that sharp distinction of the flats to the bevel grinds.
    Back it up or lower it 2-4" and it would solve this.
    [​IMG]

    What I have learned over time is how critical my eye has become for seeing these distinctions and then moving the lighting or subject to change for the better. Knowing what to do to effect a change is the challenge, and it takes experimentation. I shoot MORE shots, not less these days. I won't settle.

    I use two overhead lamps at all times and a bevy of reflectors to achieve what I want. Rarely can you get great results with only one light source. Good results, but not great results.

    Show us what you built? Thanks!

    Coop
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  9. Balislinger

    Balislinger Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 11, 2003
    Thank you for the feedback, Coop! Yes, the shadows are mostly me trying to hold a grey card over the knife to block out some light from hitting the blade. Haven't figured out how to shield half the light without my arm casting a shadow on the knife. Here are pictures of the same knife I took with my old set-up, follow by the new pictures of the same knife, so we can compare apples to apples. Let me know which set you think is better. I'll post a pic of the new set-up shortly

    OLD SET UP:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    NEW SET UP:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Balislinger

    Balislinger Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 11, 2003
    Here are some pics of my old set vs. new set up. Old set-up had three-point lighting (there's a light behind the tent on the other side you can't see). Feedback welcome. Thanks!

    OLD SET-UP:

    [​IMG]

    NEW SET-UP:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. pap11y

    pap11y

    Jul 4, 2012
    Thanks mate. This will come in handy for me 1 day soon :)
     
  12. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Balislinger (George): Nicely accomplished. Your setup is fairly narrow, and that will have you searching for diffuser to reflect the entire knife on larger pieces. It looks like a square piece of diffuser?

    Mine is setup in 'landscape mode', although I shoot in portrait often.

    Secondly, be willing to swing one of those lamps around undrneath and closer to the handle. You need to adjust luminosity to the various parts of the knife.

    One of the reasons shooting knives is so tricky, is we have deep rich absorbent handle materials right next to highly reflective polished surfaces.

    We've all seen the trials: The blade is too shiny and the handle is too dark. LOL!

    Getting them both to show, is the challenge. This is why I use placement and light volume to adjust this. Without a strobe dial you are restricted to placement as your intensity adjustment.

    Keep at it and show is your better works.

    Here's a small tidbit I think I posted way earlier, but it illustrates how important placement is:

    [​IMG]

    Coop
     
  13. fast14riot

    fast14riot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 27, 2010
    Coop, I just LOVE this thread! I have yet to build a light tent, but I did "build" a softbox for my lights and that alone has greatly improved my image quality! I know this thread is about lightboxes, (and I haven't read all 26 pages) but I think just softboxes can make an almost free project invaluable for better quality images.

    If you want I can post my pics before and after and of my "redneck" softbox and also the set up to illustrate very simple set ups.


    -Xander
     
  14. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Xander: ANY display of quality images achieved on the cheap is the theme of this thread.

    Please show us results AND the setup.

    Thank you. :)

    Coop
     
  15. fast14riot

    fast14riot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 27, 2010
    Thanx Coop.

    Here is a shot of my work using mixed light, artificial and natural. This is basically how I would take my pics before.

    [​IMG]


    The softbox was two pieces of cardboard taped together with white paper inside and a sheet of paper over the front. 100w incandesant bulb in a white lined metal housing.

    [​IMG]


    So here are the results. Sorry for the dusty dirty knife, the shop isnt the cleanest place to take pics!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    On the second image of the hawk and knife I know I got a slight vignette and too much light falloff in the left hand side, and I could use a reflector to light the front a bit more, but overall I think there is a huge improvement in my image quality.


    -Xander
     
  16. fast14riot

    fast14riot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 27, 2010
    Any critiques? I'd love to get some opinions.


    -Xander
     
  17. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Your original photo, although clear, is flat as a pancake. No depth.

    You have already seen what I see: Not enough light into the set. Use a reflector of any form to push more light back.

    The little mini is as clear as can be.

    The larger the object, the harder it is to get even lighting.

    Prop those tips up. Leave a shadow around the entire blade and don't let the blade angle off reflecting the darkness.

    Good stuff. Keep at it!

    Jim
     
  18. fast14riot

    fast14riot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 27, 2010
    Thanx Coop! Excellent advice about propping the tip up. I never noticed it in your pics, but it makes the difference between your work and ametures like me. This set above was shot hand held with my Nikon S1 point and shoot. I metered and preset my white balance for the lighting. I will try a couple more shots tonight and post here to see what I can do.


    Thanx!

    -Xander
     
  19. Berno

    Berno

    459
    Dec 9, 2009
    It is rare that I am satisfied with my work. But for once, on this picture I do not see that I could try to do better...

    Think Jim ?

    [​IMG]
     
  20. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Xander: Knife Photography 101 - Lesson #1: Always prop the tip up slightly to let the shadow run the entire blade. :)

    Norbert: Bravo! I can see why you are excited. :) Good handle lighting showing the curvature, and I can see in the well.

    That said, if this image took me ten shots to get it here, I would have taken the eleventh...

    I'd move the lighting down towards the tip and into the camera. Just a bit. In doing so, you will gain definition on the engraved bolster, and brighten the tip area of the blade, which is just a tad dark.

    Few people would notice any further need, but I see improvements still. :D

    Coop
     

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