The Great Indoors: Lightbox Photography
Using a Lightbox
Produce vibrant colours and stunning images with this technique…
Using a lightbox to illuminate your subject from below can yield some interesting results, as our two examples here show. The strong under-lighting can be used to boost the vibrancy of your subject, or highlight its internal texture, or it can be used to give it an ethereal glow.
Of course, if you happen to own a proper photographic lightbox so much the better, but fear not if you don’t because there’s nothing to prevent you from constructing your own.
The two main things you need to construct an impromptu lightbox are a pane of glass (or sheet of clear acrylic) and a diffused light source such as a desk lamp. Bear in mind that the glass or acrylic pane needs be strong enough to support your subject, and it also has to be raised high enough off the ground so that the light source can be placed safely underneath without turning the whole set-up into a fire hazard.
Also, try to ensure your light source is as even and diffused as possible, either by using a lamp with as wide a beam as possible, or by placing a white sheet or piece of card over (or under) the pane of glass or acrylic.
Once you’ve got your lightbox – be it commercial or home made – in place, you’re ready to try your hand at some new creative techniques.
Don’t be put off if you don’t get it right first time; play around with the exposures until you get the final image you want. The veritable feast of props you can photograph is endless and you’ll have heaps of fun. Enjoy!
Watermelon by Anna Goldsbrough (right)
‘First of all the individual slices were cut thin enough to let the light from a lightbox pass through them to give them a glow and pick up the patterns of the fruit. I didn’t want the slices looking static so I tried different positioning of the slices to get an abstract composition.
‘The only source of light for this shoot was from the lightbox. I used a Nikon D70s with an 18-70mm lens for this shoot: the aperture was dropped down to f/5.6 because of the brightness of the lightbox. The camera was put on a tripod to give a precise framing of the image and to make sure there was no movement within the image. I took a fair few images using different angles before settling on this final image – this one flows and grabs people’s attention.’