Come on baby light my fold

sue's flapper

"Sue's Flapper" by Nick Robinson

For many years I’ve been struggling to produce consistently good photographs of origami. Despite having a decent camera (Canon EOS400d) the lighting has always been a problem. Inspired by some wonderful photos by Rebecca Harris, I got in touch with her to pick her brains.

Amongst other useful information, she sent me to a site explaining how to make your own lightbox. I had the required materials lying around, so knocked one up. The results were instantly a great deal better. I need some sidelights to help knock out the remaining shadow, but it’s looking good!


Come on baby light my fold — 6 Comments

  1. Thanks for this post. I’m also very interested in this subject, specially since I prefer photo-diagrams. I haven’t ever tried a lightbox and I still ask myself if it is worth it. Why would you say a lightbox is important? Personally I don’t see the problem with a model producing a shadow. Is it unacceptable, in terms of aesthetics, for it to cast a shadow? I think shadows help understand forms better, which I would say is pretty important in photo-diagramming.

    I just use white card stock as the floor and another one as background, a directional lamp with a daylight lightbulb, and ambient fluorescent light.

    • Hard to say, but I guess it’s about control and consistency – given a light-box you can almost guarantee to get a decent image, placing it on card with a single light it’s less certain. Also, the sides of the box diffuse the light. Anyone else have an opinion?

  2. Yes, it’s all about diffusing a lot of light from a broad range of angles. Keeping one side somewhat dominant (usually from above) tends to improve results too, it gives models more depth. As a quite mediocre photographer, I still get decent shots with three economy lamps (5600K), one on each side and one above from an angle.

  3. Thanks for sharing this DIY article… I’ve been going crazy trying to get shadow-free–or at least less shadowed–pictures. Such a simple solution that I wanted to smack myself for not thinking of it myself!

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