I was asked to tell how I make the pics of my minis, because nowadays, they look "fine". For me, they were just OK, they could be better with better lighting and a correct setup. That's why I decided to pay a promise I made to myself (xD) and build a lightbox and portable photography studio for less than 40 USD.
Short story: a friend of my dad went to the USA some weeks ago, and I was about to ask him to bring me a Portable Photo Studio, like the ones sold in Amazon.
In the last minute, I changed my mind and decided to ask for a colour shapers set, then I promised myself that I would make a better portable photo studio using less money. (Now I have the whole colour shapers set, and I'm a happy man! xD)
So, this was the perfect oportunity, to explain how I make the pics, to pay my promise and to make my pics better! Hoping that I haven't bored you too much, lets get building a portable lightbox and photo studio, for less than 40 bucks!
I began with the 6x6mm architecture wood sticks (2 USD for twelve 50cm pieces), cutting 4 in halves. I selected two more pieces, and another one, wich I cut 6mm. And then, using my hobby drill, drilled some holes and pinned them before gluing the wood sticks to form two 25x25cm square frames and one 25x50mm rectangular one.
Then I cut a blister package in four 90° bended pieces an used the bunch of paper clips (8 USD for 40 assorted colour pieces) to hold the frames in place, giving form to the lightbox.
As you can see, the lightbox is quite fragile, but sturdy enough to mantain shape for itself. That's mainly because of the bended pieces of blister package and because of the pinned stick I cut 6mm before. One hole on the side of each squared frame and voilà.
Then I cut two 25x25cm sheets of butter paper and one 25x50cm one and have plenty enough to build like 8 lightbox more (bought 1 square meter for less than 0,5 USD). With the help of the clips, I attached the butter paper to the frames.
Before doing this, I tried diffusing light with several papers: diamond paper, butter paper, normal paper, craft paper, TNT fabric, and the best diffusing light is the butter paper (also, very cheap!). Then I got some big drawing block sheets and attached them with the help of more clips (kinda happy for having bought 40 xD). And I opened the package of my brandless mini-tripod (that i bought for 3 bucks!) to try it.
At this point, the studio looked like this:
But then I added 2 lamps (4 bucks each) with 2 Twister Phillips energy saving 23W cooldaylight bulbs that light like 100W bulbs (wich costed 5.5 USD each). Yeah, bulbs were more expensive than the lamps. That's because lamps don't matter, but bulbs are critical for miniature photography. I suggest energy saving lamps, because they almost don't produce heat and consume less. The twister ones are my favourites and they should light like 100W or more. And the most important part: cooldaylight, or natural daylight. All the other stuff just spoils the pictures. Trust me, propper lighting is crucial.
Summing up, I bought:
- wood sticks 2USD
- paper clips 8USD
- butter paper 0,5USD
- mini tripod 3USD
- 2 lamps 4USD each
- 2 bulbs 5,5USD each
So, mission accomplished! Overall I spent ~32 USD to make my lightbox and photo studio. I forgot to make the final pic, but unassembled, it fits beneath my desk, over the drawers, in a 3cm high space between those 2 surfaces! Of course the 2 side lamps should be kept in their boxes when not needed ;D
Well, that's it for now. I hope you liked it so far, and hopefully, that this enourages you to make a better lightbox, if you haven't got one already!
In the second part of this tutorial, I'll explain a bit about lighting and how to make good pics. And in the third and last part... just guess!
See ya! Soon!