After many months of thinking about it, I finally did it - A light box for food photography! It really is as easy as they say in many sites and blogs around but before you jump ahead, I would ask you to consider a few things, based on my experience.
- Do you really need one? Although a light box gives you the flexibility to click pictures of your food whenever you'd like, nothing can beat natural light when it comes to food photography. Let me repeat that - nothing. A lot of professional food photographers may go for fancy studio equipment but the beauty of food blogging from our homes and kitchens is, this is what we make for our family meals, we are sharing our recipes and what we cook on a day-to-day basis. I wouldn't compare that to commercial food photography any day.
Another thing to consider is, do you usually plan before you cook for the blog or do you cook something and then decide you want to blog about it. If you find yourself doing more of the latter, then a light box may be a good idea because half the time I think that way, its night time on a week day when I am at work all day.
- Do you have the space for it? You can always dismantle your light box and set it up only when you need it but trust me, that won't happen often. So you will end up building it but hardly ever using it if you don't have a fixed spot for it in your house. We recently moved into a three bedroom apartment and I am using the third bedroom as my studio. The wardrobe is where I keep my photography accessories and the light box sits to one side of the room. I don't intend to move it from there or dismantle it.
So here it is, my very own light box!
I pretty much followed the instructions on RV's site. The few differences I made are:
- I used a smaller box
- I used tracing paper instead of fabric to cover the slots through which light enters the box
- I used 18W daylight bulbs that give a 100W output
A few initial shots with varying light input - both Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC) and edited.
This is the first picture I took, without bothering with a background sweep or anything. I was super eager to see the results. Remember, this was taken in the night, at around 8:00pm. Taken with one light - SOOC.
Another macro shot, taken with one light - SOOC.
The first food shot, taken with one overhead lamp - SOOC except for watermark and straightening. I didn't have the other two lights set up when I took this so I had to depend on editing to make it look better.
Same picture, after editing.
Enter three lamps - first food picture with all three lamps as shown in the light box picture above. No editing done - SOOC.
One of my favourite light box pictures to date (I haven't taken that many yet, I always turn to natural light if I can help it). This is a very lightly edited picture taken in the light box, again, in the night.
I have taken a few more and recipes are coming up soon for this dishes. Going forward, I will clearly mark the picture setting when posting pictures because I expect a good mix of both kinds of pictures in future posts.
Other sites you can refer for building your own light box:
Digital Photography School