Lighting box

I always want to play around with my cameras at the worst times. You know, like at night when there isn’t any light, or on rainy days. And I’ve got all these little trinkets that I enjoy looking at that I’ve never photographed. So I thought that I’d try adding another dimension to my bag by working with a lighting box. Of course, after thinking this, I went around and looked at what was out there commercially and found it both expensive and wanting. There are some products out there that are quite nice but they want a nice amount for them. There are a lot of DIY’s out there that involve laundry bags and bed sheets. But I wanted something rigid that could be easily assembled, then broken down, and stored. And cheap. That’s where I came up with the PVC idea. Off to Home Depot I went.

The first piece that I found was the PVC Pressure 90-Degree Slip x Slip Elbow with Taped Side Outlet.Great! I found my corners. I could slip some cheap two foot sections of half inch PVC into the smooth sides but I needed to either buy threaded PVC or find another adapter. That’s where the Pressure MIPT x Slip Male Adapter comes in handy.  It’s cheap and gets me back to just dry fitting everything together. Eight of corner-piece A and adapter B with twelve sticks of PVC. My total price tag is $30. And I’ve managed to build a 29″x25″x25″ box.

Now I just have to find something to be the sides. I could probably get Thea to make some cloth sides but let’s look at Micheal’s for something more rigid, like a roll of paper. Rolls of paper are cheap but the sizes are off. They have twenty inch and thirty-two in cheap white paper rolls. One too small and the other too large. I don’t really want to cut and paste or tape my sides together. They have poster boards that are ten for $5 and are 28″x22″. And they are rigid enough to hang with binder clips.  That gives me a cheap $35 two-foot lighting box.

Now to play around with it.


No Flash – long exposure
Mounted flash
Two remote flashes ceiling bounce



Flashes outside of lighting box ceiling bounce
Flashes bounced inside lighting box
Flashes bounced inside lighting box with half-ceiling

3 thoughts on “Lighting box

  1. Very cool.

    “There are a lot of DIY’s out there that involve laundry bags and bed sheets. But I wanted something rigid…”

    That’s my lightshed, and you’re right; the biggest downside is that it’s not rigid. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be, but the laundry hamper barely holds up the bedsheet.

    You say yours breaks down easily? Does that mean the pipes are just slipped into the corner joints? (I don’t know much about plumbing or PVC.)

    (Also, you could still consider a cheap white bedsheet to drape over for the sides; it makes a great diffuser for outside light, and bounces inner light nicely.)

  2. I checked at Lowes/HomeDepot locally, and it looks like I’ll be doing something very similar before long. 🙂

    I found 90-degree corner pieces where all three openings are non-threaded, and the fit is nice and tight, so I won’t bother getting threaded pipe. Since I already have the white sheet that’s working well for my smaller shed, I’ll use it for this one.

    Estimated cost: $19… Of course, when I do it, I’ll blog it. 🙂

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