Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Improving my photography - lasercut light box

Hey folks. Having been blogging for about 4 months now I have been feeling more confident about showing and writing about my hobby, and enjoying the process too. Most of us hobbyists are always looking for ways to improve ourselves, whether it be at painting, modelling or tactics on the tabletop, and that crosses over into the blogging sphere too.

I have struggled to take good pics of my minis for a while now, although this never used to be so important to me as it was usually only to show friends ect or post up on forums. However as my painting has improved and I get more interested in showcasing my work, I want to start taking good photos to show them off.

A few problems I have been encountering is heavy shadows on or around the miniature, colour variation between different takes, and dark striations throughout the pic. Doing a bit of research through the wonders of the internet I have found that a very simple solution to this is to diffuse the light before it reaches the mini, and the best way to do this is use a light box.

First of all I went the Modern male route and bought one from amazon (exactly like the one at the top of the post). The thing was humungous and I found it very awkward to use. I needed something that would fit in my tiny man cave and would be accessible, instead of having to clear my desk, fold out the tent like container, and manouver it without crushing all the tiny man dollies cluttering the rest of the room. Something had to give, and it was not going to be the man dollies! Behold my first creation below. I knocked it up out of a cardboard box and plenty of packing tape. What a thing of beauty!

Behold the marvel!

Being the perfectionist I sometimes am I decided that this incarnation/travesty of a light box was far too shabby to grace the hallowed halls of my man cave. I decided to use my lunch break at work to create a CAD template and laser cut my own MDF version. Pretty happy with the result and the clicklock system works very well for this sort of thing. I wanted the box to flip both vertically and horizontally so that I could take larger/longer minis as needed (I tried to photograph a raider on a piece of A4 paper once and it was very awkward :D) I cut holes in all the sides so that any angle can be illuminated as required, and have a filler piece for each sized hole to serve as a base.

Primed and ready for assembly


Version two

All that is left to do now is to add the fabric and start the photography! (Finished below). It has been mentioned that a good camera and tripod also vastly helps (duh I hear you say!) but unfortunately limited funds means I have to use the tools available (iphone), and the light box was the easiest and cheapest option to go for.

Ta da!

Check out this blog post on how to make your own lightbox out of a cardboard box (Which is miles better than my first creation). Anyways here's hoping my photo's are improved as a result of this :)

Nafnaf out!



  1. Dang it Nafnaf! Post comparison photos stat! That is one GREAT light box you've made!!!

  2. Cheers Greg. Aye I should have put some photos up but I only finished assembling it last night so have not had a chance to get any new ones done. I am away with work for a couple of days but when I am back I will do another post with some comparison photos.

  3. haha, I love it. I love seeing people put their professional skills to use in the hobby, IE: using CAD to make a light box :)

    My current light box looks like your first and it's rather terrible. I need to work on an upgrade myself.

  4. Hehe cheers Thor. It is a great tool to have access too. I have made a few pieces of terrain on it too for infinity and might do some ruins for 40k. Tbh the first box was perfectly functional but I found quite a few tutorials online for making ones starting simple to fairly advanced.