1
\$\begingroup\$

I want to take evenly lit images of small moving objects. So, I want to place those inside a light tent or light box.

Per how I understand light tents, the purpose of those is to diffuse light like clouds would. However, whenever I see an example image from tutorials online on how to build your own light tents, they seem very unevenly lit and even have sheen (as can be seen in the final image in this video

enter image description here

or the ones in this article)

Even articles that use a commercial light tent, this seem to be the case (as can be seen as a bright line across the scope in this article).

How can I make a light tent that distributes light more evenly?

\$\endgroup\$
2
  • \$\begingroup\$ It would be nice if you included examples of said images with unevenly lit tents. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 9, 2023 at 17:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Light tents aren't near as great as everyone seems to think they are supposed to be. They're for "quick and dirty" product photos that can be easily touched up in post. You're not going to get a "perfect" result straight out of camera in a light tent. Ever. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 10, 2023 at 2:08

4 Answers 4

1
\$\begingroup\$

I am a fan of DIY things for photography. I have constructed PVC lightboxes and light tents.

1. Choose the right material

A lot of these tutorials are made just for the sake of doing things cheaply, not right. So they take a simple waxed paper and think it is enough.

Make a light test

Here are some simulations of how different materials behave. They are not perfect, but give you an idea.

Take your time and get the correct material. Put the material you want to test in front of a light at some distance.

B. The material is too transparent. E.g. Waxed paper.

C. The material is too opaque and only lets light through the thread's spacings. E.g. Beed sheet.

D. The material is diffusive, but the light passes through the thread's spacings, and besides it reflects on the glossy material internally. E.g. Some nylon cloth.

E. Right diffusiveness. It will become more diffusive if the light is further away. E.g. Some nylon cloth, vegetal paper, and synthetic translucent paper, some frosted plastics.

enter image description here

2. Use a double diffusion

Make a setup where you use, the layer on the light tent and an additional layer outside of it. The layers must have a distance between each other.

enter image description here

3. Put the lights further away

If your material is actually diffusive, but you get a hot spot, move the light away.


Aditional note

A bad diffusive material could be enough to photograph matt objects. For example cloth.

But if you have glossy materials, like ceramic, it is more important to get a better material.

The most exigent objects are chromed, metallic, and glass.


But take into account another thing. Good photography is also about light and shadow. Do not try to illuminate something without any reflection or shadow, because it will look flat, without volume.

Even if you are using a lightbox you could put light only on one side. You can even put black cardboard on the other side so the shadows are more prominent. You can also put one light from the top of the box and have a cenital illumination.

Additionally, if an object is glossy or metallic, reflections are now part of the object. It is now impossible to avoid them. The only way to avoid reflection is to turn the lights off.

\$\endgroup\$
1
\$\begingroup\$

The "sheen" is a highlight, and it will exist anytime there is any directionality to the lighting.

And you probably do not want to eliminate the highlights, because without those there is no texture/detail conveyed in a 2D image.

To make the highlight less harsh you need to make it larger/softer to where the colors/details show through. And you do that by making the light source larger and much closer.

These are a couple examples I have taken; none using a light tent/box.

enter image description here

enter image description here

\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

It is physically impossible to have zero shadows in all cases. You need to use light retouching to remove shadows completely.

This watch is the worst case for any kind of lighting. If you want to have no shadow with this positioning of watch you need to elevate it above the paper on some kind of stand.

enter image description here

The image of the pot is almost flawless even without retouching and the blue tint around the base is actually the light bouncing off from the blue paint and exaggerated by strong colour correction of a smartphone. enter image description here

Maybe if you also place a light underneath the tent you will get even better results, like this:

enter image description here

But this will change how the subject looks, it's unnatural to have the lighting from beneath.

\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

You don't need an evenly lit light tent. You need a tent where the background is sufficiently uniform to be blown out.

You expose so that the darkest parts of the background are over-exposed (or can easily be overexposed in post-production). It is also a matter of balance between the background lighting and the subject lighting.

Of course, the more uniform the BG, the less dark are its darkest parts and the less overexposed it needs to be, and this reduces the occurrences of halos/blooms around the subject. But you don't need perfection.

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.