Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Photo Light Tent

  1. #1
    Dr Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    97
    Real Name
    Bob

    Photo Light Tent

    I just finished reading a book by Harold Davis about photographing flowers and one of his techniques is to use a light tent for some photos. I am thinking about giving this a try and was wondering if some of you who have expereince with a light tent could help me get started?

    What size light tent would you suggest for shooting cut flowers and flower arrangements? I sse they come in various sizes and I am thinking perhaps one 36 inches by 36 inches? Or is 24 inches by 24 inches large enough?

    Some light tents appear to come with a front closure and a small opening to insert the lens. Is this useful?

    I see that some light tents come with colored background fabric. Is this useful?

    What lights would you suggest in terms of size, brightness, etc? There seems to be many to choose from so any suggestions are welcomed.

    I will be using a Canon 7D and various lenses, including macro lenses for my photos.

    Thanks and I look forward to your suggestions.

    Dr Bob

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,935

    Re: Photo Light Tent

    The larger the size that you can justify, the better. That's because the size that you need today may not be large enough for a different subject that you want to shoot years from now.

    The front closure and small opening can be very helpful in certain situations.

    My light tent came with black felt and white felt. Both are very useful.

    The best way to know the size of lights to use would be to review the kits that include the lights, the light stands and the tent. I recommend using compact fluorescent lights because they don't get hot, especially considering that the heat would adversely affect your flowers. Make sure that your lights have a Kelvin temperature of about 5000 to 5500.

    Having said all of that, if you have enough space to use a 36" x 36" light tent, I recommend instead that you use diffusers to soften the shadows and white foam core boards for reflectors. You'll achieve the same soft, reflected lighting and will have more flexibility. Once I started doing that, I never again used my light tent.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 27th March 2013 at 10:58 PM.

  3. #3
    Shadowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    29,272
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Photo Light Tent

    This photo was taken inside a light tent.

    Fetish Photography Is it Safe

    The dimensions are about 27"x19"x22". Your exact needs may differ and there are different ways of using a light tent. You can bounce light off the top, strobe light through the sides, through the front opening. The small opening/closure in the front is to control ambient light, you may not want to have mixed light sources which could effect the color of the object you are photographing. The different color backdrops are a means of providing variety and/or complementary colors for your subject

    Regarding lights, there are kits that you can buy with one or two lights, you may want to consider your overall shooting needs because what's plentiful for the light tent may not be enough for larger subjects. If you peruse these forums you will find other shooters who get by with homemade setups.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    York, UK
    Posts
    13

    Re: Photo Light Tent

    Hi Bob
    If you want a cheap version of a light tent to try out before looking at a more costly pro version. Try a White pop-up Laundry Basket (Marks & Spencers £6 in the UK).

    Nigel

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden (and sometimes Santiago de Cuba)
    Posts
    1,089
    Real Name
    Urban Domeij

    Re: Photo Light Tent

    A light tent may be useful when you need very even distribution of light with virtually no marked shadows, something very unusual in photography, as photographs are mostly built of light and shadow. The tent is very effective for killing contrast, and that is not what I usually want when photographing flowers. Few good pictures are taken inside a light tent, and they usually are objects as watches or the innards of mechanical things. It is possible to arrange good lighting also with a tent, but it is much easier without it.

    Having said that, I would discourage from spending a fortune on the contraption, because as Mike Buckley pointed out: "I recommend instead that you use diffusers to soften the shadows and white foam core boards for reflectors. You'll achieve the same soft, reflected lighting and will have more flexibility. Once I started doing that, I never again used my light tent."

    It is a general conclusion. Light tents won't get used a lot. It is difficult to set up good lighting in a tent, and once you know how to do it, you realize that it is easier without the tent.

  6. #6
    Dr Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    97
    Real Name
    Bob

    Re: Photo Light Tent

    Thanks for the great feedback. This is why CiC is such a great site!!

    It appears from your comments I should build rather then buy a light tent. I have searched the internet and there are lots of options on building an inexpensive light tent. Also, since it is not something I may use very much this makes building a more attractive option. I do plan on using it for photographing things other than just some flower shots so I will get more use out of it.

    Dr Bob

  7. #7
    rpcrowe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    12,482
    Real Name
    Richard

    Re: Photo Light Tent

    Bob...

    One place in which a light box/tent really shines is in photographing multiple items, such as for ebay sales. The lack of reflections is a more important aspect of a light box/tent than the lack of shadows. You can easily light a piece of gear regarding the shadows but, if the piece is highly reflective, the reflections become a problem. The advantage of the front flap with the shooting slit is that you can stick your lens through the slit and shoot those highly reflective items with fewer problems due to reflections.

    I would recommend buying an inexpensive eBay light box rather than going through the trouble of fabricating one.

    This one sells for $26 USD on eBay and folds down to be put away which is a BIG PLUS for me. A 30-inch home made light box is a pretty big piece of gear if it cannot fold down for storage. This box also comes with several backgrounds of various colors which is also a +...

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Photo-Studio...item23293cd9c4

    This smaller unit runs $20 USD. I would select the larger of the two because it would be more versatile. The price and storage space would be pretty close between the 20-inch and 30-inch models.....

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Photo-Studio...item5aef6756b4

    IMO, at the cost of todays photo equipment $20-$26 is chump change and it would not be worth my time fabricating to save that amount of money...

    Lots of photographers make their own which work every bit as well photographically but, usually cannot be easily be broken down for storage. There are literally dozens of websites and YouTube videos with instructions for home-made light boxes...

    BTW: I use a pair of studio strobes (White Lightning WL5000 "coffee can" units) with my light box but you can easily use a constant light source.

    There is a wide range in light box/tent prices but, the quality of the least expensive seems every bit as good as the more expensive...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 31st March 2013 at 07:25 PM.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Dunedin New Zealand
    Posts
    2,697
    Real Name
    J stands for John

    Re: Photo Light Tent

    At $26 there is a time vis cash question and my alternative, muslin from drapery store is questionable. I have until I heard about the $26 version thought that tents were ridiculously priced for what one can do oneself and might not suit me. I have usually strung cord from picture rail to picture rail, if you have these in your house, and peg the cloth to the cord. With highly reflective objects it can be good to have gaps in the white surround to create dark lines showing the shape of the object.

    I am intrigued as to why one uses a light tent for flowers? Not heard that one before.

  9. #9
    xpatUSA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,949
    Real Name
    Ted

    Re: Photo Light Tent

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Make sure that your lights have a Kelvin temperature of about 5000 to 5500.

    Having said all of that, if you have enough space to use a 36" x 36" light tent, I recommend instead that you use diffusers to soften the shadows and white foam core boards for reflectors. You'll achieve the same soft, reflected lighting and will have more flexibility. Once I started doing that, I never again used my light tent.

    Hope this helps!
    Plus one from me. In the smaller realm of watches and small products, I get by with two 5000k LED floods, homemade diffusers made of thick tracing paper edged with thick aluminum foil for support/shaping, and Kodak white cards for reflectors.

    I used to use a plastic milk jug, but images never looked quite right

    With separate lamps and diffusers you can tune the highlights a bit by varying the relative distances from the subject.

    Qué? . . .

    Lamp and diffuser close to each but far from the subject gives more specular highlights than diffuser close and lamp still far. Something to do with Lambertian surfaces . . .
    Last edited by xpatUSA; 31st March 2013 at 07:38 PM.

  10. #10
    inkista's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Posts
    1,398
    Real Name
    Kathy Li

    Re: Photo Light Tent

    Ted. You need to go to Ikea.

    $1.99 Fniss.

    Photo Light Tent
    Canon Powershot G9. ST-E2, 430EX, 580EX, SB-26.

    setup shot:
    Photo Light Tent

    Although, I found that really splurging on the $10 Sortera made life a little easier elbow-room wise.

    Photo Light Tent
    Canon XT/350D. EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM Macro. ST-E2, 430EX, 580EX.

    BTW, +1 to what everyone else is saying: going with off-camera lights and proper diffusers is much less limiting than a light tent, but if you want to try low-cost DIY solutions, it's fun to do the light tent thing first.

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden (and sometimes Santiago de Cuba)
    Posts
    1,089
    Real Name
    Urban Domeij

    Re: Photo Light Tent

    Jim Talkington of prophotolife.com reveals most all of the professional lighting secrets in his video tutorials. There's a lot to learn there.

  12. #12

    Re: Photo Light Tent

    five lighting setups from simple to complex on http://www.popphoto.com/..some shoots use mattresses to have a simple lighting effects.

  13. #13
    Shadowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    29,272
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Photo Light Tent

    Quote Originally Posted by AprilHerbert View Post
    five lighting setups from simple to complex on http://www.popphoto.com/..some shoots use mattresses to have a simple lighting effects.
    Link doesn't appear to work.

  14. #14

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,935

    Re: Photo Light Tent

    This thread is two years old. I wonder if AprilHerbert is directing people who read the thread to the website that is selling mattresses and if the link to Pop Photo is intentionally inaccurate.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 24th May 2015 at 12:52 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •