Instructables

Micro Macro: The miniature lightbox studio.

Picture of Micro Macro: The miniature lightbox studio.
What is a light box? A light box is a white or black environment made for taking seamless pictures of objects.

This version is a 'Micro Macro', you can use it to take great pictures of items for ebay, bugs, and many things. It can also be scaled up to be a full studio, so long as you can find a large enough box.

For those who don't need step by step, all the images are on this step.

P.S. All shots are from a Canon Sd870 point and shoot. No processing was done after taking them except the really obvious ones (referring to the first shots).

Comments appreciated! (don't just rate it, rate it and provide feedback!)
 
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Step 1: Materials:

A tooth pick- used to secure index card, substitute with any longish hard thin object. EG paper clip.
An Index card - stiff matte white paper will also do, this is the most readily availible.
A Sandwich bag - Substitute with snippet from impossible to open packaging.. you know the one. This creates reflections for objects.
A small box with a white inside lining - I used a tokyo flash box, but in reality, any box that is lined with matte, white paper will do OK.
A led light, or lantern (for a real 'micro feel' get a group of led's connected to a 9 volt with a switch) - this lights up the box.
A subject - self explanitory.
Scissors- used to cut stuff. If you don't have this, you need a new toolkit!

Step 2: Cut!

Take the index card and cut it to a size that will fit semi snugly (2mm clearance about) into the box, and do not alter the length. (cut along lines, not against)


Take the plastic baggie and cut it out for a little rectangle. This is your wet substance or reflection maker. This allows you to create reflections or use wet substances without wrecking the box. Try to make it the size of the box bottom.

Step 3: Put it together:

Pictures do better than I can explain:

Put it so the index card will be facing the opening (opposite of how I did it in the picture, so that you could see how the index card was in).

Either put it in the long way with the card touching each edge like a U,
Or the tall way with the card touching an inside corner, and an outside edge.


As you can also see, I am using the toothpick in the third picture to push the card down onto the bottom.


Optional Update: Cut out an additional piece of bag the size of your box, and let it be long enough so some will come out the front. put two index cards on the base (or 1, depending on box size), and then put the plastic on top. this creates a better reflecting surface, and works better in general.

Step 4: Using the plastic baggie cut out:

Place the plastic baggie either on the curve or the flat piece (depending on the box's orientation.)

The bag will either (or both):
Create reflections
Protect box from stain or water.



Make sure to keep it wrinkle free, with the subject in the middle of it!
The wrinkles will really mess up the reflection, distorting it!

Step 5: Taking a shot:

Put the camera into macro, and turn the light on.

With the box tall you get a directional light, and can use the box flap a gentle reflector.

With the box long you get a nice clean bottom edge, and lots of directional light.


Don't be afraid to get in the way of the light if it is bright enough, plenty of light will still get through.


Pro tip: Want softer light? Or maybe some red, threatening light? By placing a piece of cloth over the lantern or light, you will softly diffuse it, and using colored fabrics, create a cool glow.

Step 7: More Ideas to try (will be updated when I do new stuff):

Print out index sized backgrounds. Make your matchbox car, look like it is at the track surrounded by fans.

Poke Holes at intervals in the box for leds to go through, and add a potentiometer plus a battery and you have really cool variable brightness for shots.

Freeze bugs, and then Macro them.


More soon... leave suggestions!

Step 8: Now that You have the image....

Post Work done in gimp, pretty much the same in Photoshop:

Went to Colors>levels in Gimp

Went to select white point (little eye dropper on bottom)

Picked a gray area in the image.

Pressed ok.

Went to Color>Color balance

Brought red and green a little bit over.

pressed ok.

Select the reflection using magnetic laso.

Went to Color>Color balance

bring red over all the way, and pink over halfway in color balance.

This brought the dingy, grey white picture you saw in step 6, to this polished mouth watering raspberry.

Adjust the editing for your shot, color adjustment may not be neccessary.
Great idea!!!!
spectre94 years ago
I haven't tried it yet, but I was wondering as I read this if gloss acrylic spray painted directly on the white index card would be a good substitute for the baggie.  I already use it to waterproof paper and cardboard, so it may work well as long as the reflections are good.  I'll give it a try and report back.
lunastyx4 years ago
Very nice. I take a lot of pix for my etsy shop & have a larger, tradional light/studio box but I am going to make yours right now & let you know what I think. But I can tell you already that I am gunna love it.
Thanks, luna
unigeezer5 years ago
pretty cool Jeremy!
stonechild5 years ago
Very interesting idea. I'm not really sure what a light box is, but I think I get the idea. It makes the object appear more 3-dimensional. I'll have to try it. Could you put up more examples? . .
vanpaun (author)  stonechild5 years ago
Yeah, will do, just got my DSLR, so expect wonders! :)
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