View Full Version : Photo light tent / box suggestions?....

Dec 13, 2011, 08:05 AM

I am looking to purchase a 32inch (80cm) light tent / box.

The prices vary wildly and I appear to be at least 100miles from the nearest vendor. This means I can only, realistically, purchase online. Before I do so...

Does anyone here have any experience of these things. Or better still a recommendation of any particular brand?

Thanks awfully in advance.



Dec 13, 2011, 08:11 AM
I built my own. Just google "DIY light tent", and you'll find all sorts of variations. I made one that is very large, yet collapsible, and is much more functional and versatile than anything I could find for sale online. Look through the solutions different people have come up with, then just go to your local building supply/hardware store and have some fun making one that will do exactly what you need. :)

Dec 13, 2011, 08:36 AM
Hi and thank you for taking the time to reply!

I have done the search as you kindly suggested. I have built several versions already - The results have been more than adequate. The issue I have is that they all look a little bit " Heath Robinson " and look un-professional.

I would like something that " looks the part " as well as producing good results.

This set up will be used in offices and peoples homes.

Regards once more.


Dec 14, 2011, 05:39 AM
A light tent that needs to look professional? Hmm. Light tents are by definition amateur equipment, for the most part. A really serious product photography set-up would instead involve lots of strobes and softboxes for maximum versatility and control.

And it needs to be mobile? I can't imagine why you need to go to the products instead of them coming to you, but I suppose you have a good reason. If portability is going to be very important to you, then a pop-open tent (fabric on a wire frame) would make the most sense. The problem with that type of tent, however, is accessibility, since it gives you access to the product inside only through the front hole. It also makes using a hard light (i.e. undiffused) more difficult, since it has to be inside the tent as well. The light box I built has removable fabric panels on all sides, so if I want a hard raking light on one side, I just remove that one panel. Having that versatility is also great for accessing the product inside. It's hard to beat the portability of those pop-open tents, though. They come in a little zipper bag much like a reflector does, and they pop open in the same fashion. That's probably the best solution for someone with your needs.

Dec 14, 2011, 03:16 PM

Thank you again for taking the time to reply. I have to word this carefully - I do not want to cause any offence!....

There are very specific reasons why I need to take a professional looking light tent on site. " On site " may be an office or some one's home.

A home built version simply will not suffice and making something that looks the part is beyond my abilities.

I ask again - If anyone has any brands to suggest I would be very, very, grateful!

Regards and thanks again.


Dec 14, 2011, 03:42 PM
I have to word this carefully - I do not want to cause any offence!....

There are very specific reasons why I need to take a professional looking light tent on site.

Well, my point was that "professional looking light tent" is something of an oxymoron. The big brands in lighting equipment would include the likes of Elinchrom and Broncolor, but they don't make light tents because pros don't use light tents. That leaves you with all of the budget brands that make equipment for amateurs and enthusiasts, and honestly, they're all pretty comparable.

I would recommend you look through the selection at B&H, who do ship to the UK: link here (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=light+tent&N=0&InitialSearch=yes). They tend not to sell anything that's total junk, so any of those ought to work for you. At the very least, you might be able to identify a model that you can purchase through a more local online reseller.

Dec 15, 2011, 02:54 AM
have you considered a light table, the ones with an Infinity or S curve. They will look way more pro, & are way easier to use, the downside is they will be much less portable.

Dec 15, 2011, 11:57 AM
Alternatively, find someone with the necessary skills to build something for you. That way you avoid the "Heath Robinson" look, but you get the features you need for the work you do. It sounds like you need only some fairly specific features while in an office or home, so you may not need the total flexibility a studio built ad-hoc system allows.

My wife, who has no professional skills in this area, has in past sewn up some large curtains and diffusion panels for me. They looked way way more professional than what I was using prior. Sewing up the panels is basic sewing, so it should be easy to find someone to do this. The frame is a bit more complicated, but if you can find someone who is retired, and is metal machinist (think model building) you should be able to get the frame made.

I understand about the image you are trying to project. One of my teachers at school specialized in formal studio portraits. He used a Mamiya 6x7 120-film back on an old 4x5 camera (complete with black focussing cloth). Just because - when the family arrived for their session they would see a "real" & "professional" camera, and didn't mind paying the session fee (rather than letting the niece with the freshly minted BFA do it for free with her mere 35mm Nikon/Canon/Leica)

Dec 16, 2011, 11:39 PM
Or if anyone scoffs at how cheap it looks, ask if they'd prefer higher rates instead... :rolleyes:

Or better yet, that you're passing on the savings to them.

Artful Dodger
Dec 17, 2011, 10:34 AM

I would look here then contact BH or the manufacture and ask for info on the product such as what is the frame made from and so on.

Also what is your budget there about? Boxes can be from $70-$500. I'm guessing you have the lights already? What do you want inside it, do you want and or need different colors for the background or all white, black or blue?

I guess I'm saying if you know how to build one by looking at one from online it's just a matter of knowing what materials to use to build one yourself. It's really easy if you know what type of tubes/supports to use and think about it for a bit. It's not supporting much weight so polished round tube or powder coated tubing would work very well although even if you bought one you would look at it and say to yourself, really, I could have built one for far less and even better.

I'm just saying the professional is an overall way of coming in, setting it up and handeling the situation. If you feel or are thinking it's not professional your body language will show this and change the whole situation more than the box will. I've seen some boxes and thought they were crap, I've seen some really cool ones that I asked, hey where did you get that from and they said, all from the hardware big box store. The last place someone built one was using some stuff from their tent, yes tent tubes can support a good amount and look pro. It's just how creative and then what you do with that creativity is key if you want to build one rather than buy one.

Hope these ideas help you build a nice unit or you find one that meets your needs.

Good luck :D