Introduction: Make Your Own Mini Studio

Picture of Make Your Own Mini Studio

I was documenting some Arduino projects and I came into a problem that I can't take good photos! my projects always have a lot of wires,jumpers and reflective surfaces like LCD screen so my photos always have horrible shadows that I can't get rid of even when I used Photoshop. So I consulted some of my friends who have the experience in photography and they all said that I have to make a mini studio.

The idea of a mini studio or box of light that you make a closed box and diffuse the light into it through a diffusion material so you can get equal quantity of light in your photos and get rid of reflections,shadows... etc.

So I made this mini studio with the help of my boyfriend Mahmoud Kotb

Step 1: Collecting the Materials That You Want

Picture of Collecting the Materials That You Want

You will not have to buy a lot of things as you will find most of the materials already in your home :

1- box ( any size according to what you want) I used a shampoo box :D

2- cutter

3- glue

4- meter or ruler

5- paper clips

6- some nails and nuts

7- diffusion material ( I used calc paper)

8- wooden sheet

9- any kind of thick white paper ( I used 150 gm Canson paper)

10 - (two lamps, wire , lamp base and a plug) if you will construct your own light system but you can simply buy two desk lamps.

Step 2: Construct the Box

Picture of Construct the Box

1- Bring the box and cut 1 side so you have a box with only 5 sides.

2- Leave about 3 cm on each edge and cut the rest so that you have a hollow side.

3- Repeat the previous step on 2 more sides.

4- Glue the diffusion material on the 3 hollow sides.

5- Cut 2 pieces of white paper and cover the edges inside the box.

6- Cut two small holes from the upper side so that you can mount the paper clips

7- Mount a sheet of paper using the clips and make it as curvy as you can so that you don't have any inner edges that will reflect light and ruin your photos.

see! it's very simple only 7 steps

Step 3: Construct the Lighting System

Picture of Construct the Lighting System

1- Bring a wooden sheet.

2- draw two holes on two opposite sides of the sheet.

3- mount the lampp bases using the nails and nuts.

4- connect the electrical circuit as shown in the picture.

Step 4: The Result: After and Before

Picture of The Result: After and Before

Without using the light box you will find the photo contains a lot of shadows and light spots but after using the light box the photo looks very good to me. May be you will need a little bit edit on the photo brightness using any photo editor.

I took some random images of things around me to show the results

Enjoy your mini studio :)


MahmoudTolba (author)2016-09-07

Good job Mrehan!
Try to support the cardboard from the middle because it will bend after sometime.

chancefour (author)2016-08-23

Could you tell us more about the paper you used to diffuse the light?

Some people use old white shirts, others use any white paper but I choosed calc paper

I'm trying to define "calc paper." The only information I can find is that it is the paper used in calculators, the 2 to 2 1/2 inch wide paper used in manual calculators. That can't be it. So, I apologize for my naivete, but the definition of "calc paper" escapes me.

Oh sorry my bad I will edit it on the tutorial. it's written calque not calc

check this:

Maybe "Tracing Paper"?

Thin paper. Translucent?

GMaslin231 (author)2016-08-28

Safety Aspect

M2aestro (author)2016-08-25

mach1950 is essentially correct and giving good advice for the hand-held shot; more light does in fact allow you to use a smaller aperture (larger f number), which gets you a greater depth of field. A point and shoot camera will automatically adjust to the greater light flux and in some cameras, also correctly sense equivalent light temperature to give you proper color in many situations. We still find automatic mode sometimes fails to give proper color for flowers and scenery on a new camera, almost as much as good digital cameras made a decade ago, but your chances today are pretty good. You can adjust this post-shoot in some phones and cameras, and use free-ware to adjust many color problems in photos via freeware in your computer when the color problem is global for the picture.

mach1950 (author)2016-08-19

Great make mrehan. Two suggestions, adjust your colour temperature and add some more lamps. It may seem like it will be too bright, but when you are shooting close-ups you need a small aperture to give you a better depth-of-field. Notice that a couple of your shots are not sharp. Brighter light will give better depth of field and also allow higher shutter speeds, therefore sharper shots. :-)

M2aestro (author)mach19502016-08-25

You can get that depth of field with the larger numerical aperture (smaller actual aperture) and the light shown from her box setup by merely extending the exposure time, of course, if the camera gives you control of both aperture and shutter. More light is not the only way to the desired end.

mach1950 (author)M2aestro2016-08-25

True, but I got the impression that mrehan was hand holding, as perhaps would most people at whom the 'able was aimed.

Hi there, Thank you for your suggestion. I'm not very good in photography so I don't know how to adjust the color temperature :D I will search about that but may be this option doesn't exist on my camera because it's a little bit old. The shots isn't sharp because I didn't adjust the focus well I was in a hurry but thank you for sharing ideas with me :)

Not all cameras allow you to adjust color temperature (if yours does, it would be a menu item), for many point and shoot cameras attempt to do this for you in an computerized automation, sometimes with good results and sometimes the opposite.

Filmist (author)mrehan.elshehawy2016-08-23

Your camera should have a "white balance" setting -- that will let you set the color temperature. Check the manual (physical or online).

One thing that will help is putting reflectors around your light -- you're wasting a lot of light into the room away from your diffusion paper. A simple paper shield lined with the shiny side of aluminum foil will help redirect the light through your diffusion. It will also boost the intensity of the light coming through the diffusion without changing the quality of the light.

A white reflector card put right under your camera lens will help add "fill" light to the front of your subject items, too. This may be necessary for glass or chrome items, too, and add some extra shape to the object.

Good luck!


mrehan.elshehawy (author)Filmist2016-08-24

Interesting! I will try the whole reflection thing you are talking about but I was trying to solve the problem with minimum concepts to take into consideration for non professional people like me :D

No problem if your camera doesn't do it. You can download very cheap or even free picture editing software which will allow you to adjust the colour easily. Try Pixelmator on a Mac for example. MUCH cheaper than Photoshop and has all you need. There must be alternatives to Photoshop for Windows as well. Good luck!

ggadget (author)mach19502016-08-23

There it's another excellent free one called Gimp.

TomD46 (author)mach19502016-08-23

I use neopaint for windows works very well and is small program!!

I have photoshop " a portable version" I use it for some edits so I will give it a try

Xonk61 (author)mach19502016-08-22

indeed, I find that Gimp for Windows works well for a photo editor. It's cross-platform, so there should be a version of it for most operating systems. And it's free! (openSource)

ggadget (author)mach19502016-08-23

This advice will really help me when I make the project. Thanks much for the input.

diy_bloke (author)2016-08-19

Make sure to set your camera for the right colortemp.
Can also use flashes

Hi there, I don't recommend using flash because it ruins the photos and that's why I decided to make the light box ! About the temperature I will give it a try :)

Thank you for sharing ideas

i think you misunderstand me. I mean flashWITH a lightbox instead of the lamps.

The general statement that 'flash ruins photos' is something I think 99% of photographers would disagree with :-)

If you have a lot of reflective surfaces the only thing you will get with a flash is light spots ( check after and before photos in the last step)

If you mean big flashes that are used in studios sure they will be better but i wanted to make the mini studio as simple and cheep as possible :D

You can get fine flash photos with well-designed flash units, and I do mean flash photography that does not have saturation spots. You merely have to know how to use them and to know when to put on temporary diffusing devices for close-up work, etc. I have used a section of a plastic milk bottle over an already screen-diffused flash attachment, for example. None-the-less, a light box can be a very good thing, and even can be used in field work to an advantage when you have excess sunlight and wish to take wildlife macro pictures.

the before and after as i understand show the difference between with and without lightbox, but its ok

Yea! without the light box I had to use the camera flash but after I used the light box I didn't have to do this the light was very sufficient to get the perfect white background without any light spots

I wold recommend to use some cheap led strap instead of using flash light
that wold be very helpful for balancing the color temperature of the footage
also you can use dimmer to control the level of lighting

Could you please explain more! about how the led strip would balance the temperature ?

sure , you can easily make a LED panel for cheap by cutting a peaces 20 cm of the LED strip then stuck them to a peace of carton or plastic or whatever ..and finally soldering straps together

in my case this way helped me alot improving my camera light balance .

also , you can watch this video if you want to make a LED panel

M2aestro (author)YOSIF alasadi2016-08-25

Cheap LED strap or tape material should only be used where needed for unusual lighting, and offers absolutely zero color balance over conventional CFL and LED bulbs that are made for lamps. The reasons are that #1, the quality of LED strap or tape material tends to be much lower, that is, have shorter functional lifetime, than the bulbs mentioned, and #2, the bulbs are available in a nearly complete range of spectral qualities, that is from around 2600 degrees K equivalent to about 6100 degrees K equivalent. Where the tape or strap lights might have an advantage is in distribution or diffusion of the light where you might have made a poor diffusion method choice, or where you might wish to have a weak (but diffused) spot slightly emphasized. I see in the illustration a box that is white on its interior, and this should get rid of most shadows. On the other hand, I find that it is often very useful to have a light - adsorbing background, i.e. a neutral grey or black for some settings, and this can be accomplished by merely making an insert for the back of the box using black or grey matt.

Frankly, I cannot fathom the fascination that some have with the LED tapes that are on today's market, except for making some things that cannot economically be made with other materials, because most of that tape is merely junk. Perhaps the lifetime of the projects of the tape users is so short that it would not matter.

Jfieldcap (author)2016-08-23

Nice! I think I'll need to make one of these, but with plywood so it's a bit more durable, and perhaps with LED strips. I suppose you could even use RGB leds, with an arduino for control, and have adjustable colors and brightness. Another project for someday!

Cool idea! But mainly white light is used to get the white background for documented projects or products

NaveedA37 (author)2016-08-24

very practical, solved my problem

Good to hear that :)

kelpokey (author)2016-08-23

What is diffusion paper?

As the guys told you any of these papers will work but I chose calc paper as it is more light transparent

kelpokey (author)kelpokey2016-08-23

thankyou so much. ?

CKL (author)kelpokey2016-08-23

Good examples are parchment paper, wax paper, tracing paper, washi paper, etc. Even printer paper will diffuse light.

Ralphxyz (author)kelpokey2016-08-23

Technically any "paper" that light will diffuse through, actually any material could be used like toilet paper etc.

Altoidian (author)2016-08-23

I love this Instruct able. Well written, too. I often do small projects like this and a low cost, easy miniature studio is perfect for them. What's strange is, your LCD/Arduino project is one I am working on right now! Thanks!

Thank you ! an I hope your project is going okay :D

alielasfoury (author)2016-08-21

Great work mrehan :)

Thank you :)

protoproff (author)2016-08-19

Nice simple idea and it works. Shukran for sharing.

Afwaan :) Thank you for your nice words

VectorRobo (author)2016-08-19

I saw you posted this in one of the laser forums on Facebook! cool to see it across multiple communities. awesome project!

Thanks a lot for your nice words :)

heinzdrei (author)2016-08-19

I've been thinking a lot in the last months about how to make more professional photos for my instructables and thought along similar lines -- this will probably save me a lot of work and trouble :) This is a good and useful instructable, thank you for it!

About This Instructable




Bio: The mother of leds
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