Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lightbox Ernie: Off Camera Flash Testing

I was up late last night, and decided to practice a little off-camera lighting using my DIY lightbox. The lightbox was created from white foamcore as the structure with large transparency paper taped over the openings to provide that soft lighting for product shots. I don't really sell anything on eBay, but saw this DIY project on the Strobist site, and thought it would be good practice. I chose Ernie from Seseme Street as the model, and tried to use different effects by using different color backdrops and stands.

Here is your basic white background lightbox shot. You'll see this "type" of shot everywhere on eBay.

The Canon Speedlight I was using on the left-hand side was colorized by using a Rosco gel insert into another DIY project, a Home Depot downspout snoot. It gives the backround a bit of character by adding some color.

Changed the background to black, and also set the model on a glossy floor tile, also from the Home improvement store. This adds Ernies reflection into the tile, and makes for a dramatic shot over the plain white.

Ernie's cow also wanted to join in on the fun, using the same set up as above.

Changed the background to blue, and put a sheet of clear glass under Ernie to get the same sort of web 2.0 reflection. I'm not a big of fan of this one as the glossy black floor tile, as there is a visible line where the glass ends.

This on is a combination of the blue background, and black glossy tile. Adds a horizon line, but it's another look.

Most of these were shot with a 70-200mm 2.8 IS L lens on a Canon 5D Mark II, using the PocketWizard MiniTT1 and two FlexTT5's holding Canon 430EXII speedlights. Three flashes total, one on the miniTT1, and the other 2 were remotes. The lightbox supplies were purchased from Hobby Lobby and The Home Depot, and cost less than $50.00 to make. The Rosco color gels were purchased from, but can be optained from regional Rosco lighting distibutors. The DIY downspout snoot tutorial can be found here, on the Canon Digital Photography Forums. A version of the DIY Lightbox project can be found here. Additional lightbox picture examples can be seen at the m2 Photography website under the Product Photography gallery.

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