How to Create a Photo Using a Lightbox
"You need to pick and choose to see what matches the visual ideas you have for your image.
Be open to the possibilities that artistic serendipity sends your way!
~ Harold Davis
Lightbox Photo Create
1 My Journey into Lightbox Photo Create
My journey into floral photography began with creating images of flowers, leaves, and nature in my garden. Especially, I would create images in the hour leading up to sunset.
Then, I purchased an entry-level Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera. In addition, I learned to use it in manual mode.
My goal was to develop my own style which leads me to learn photography composition and techniques. After that, I consistently experimented with intentional camera movement whereby I created abstract photographs.
From there, I journeyed into the realms of textures and painterly techniques.
More importantly, my own style of abstracts was created. Additionally, my style continually evolves.
In March 2012, I discovered the book, Photographing Flowers, Exploring Macro Worlds with Harold Davis. I was inspired by the desire to shoot flowers in a macro using a lightbox. And, he added textures to some of his images.
However, it would still be a while before I owned a lightbox. So that, I could use it to create my own images.
In 2015, I joined Williamstown Camera Club. I have been exposed to new camera techniques, photography and art composition, and competitions. We learn from each other and develop our craft. Moreover, all this has assisted me to develop and grow as a photographer.
In the same year, I went to my first VAPS (Victorian Association of Photographers Societies Inc.) convention held in Bendigo. One of the presenters was Julieanne Kost, the Photoshop and Lightroom Evangelist. In her presentations, she inspired me with her images using intentional camera movement.
Next, Kathleen Clemons turned up on my radar. Above all, her close-up shots of flowers that are abstract and painterly caught my attention and inspired my imagination.
My overall goal is to find ways to be different and create images that are unique and creative. Above all, I am passionate about creating abstract images.
3 Setting up the shot
The before shot was created using a small lightbox. My daughter found the lightbox at Kmart, and it is shown below. It is 29.8 cm long, 14.3 cm wide, and 6.4 cm deep. The lit-up area is 28.9 cm long and 13.1 cm wide.
Using the lightbox with the light turned on, meaning that a flash was not needed. Other lights in the room were turned off, so no reflections would appear in the image. Therefore, a tripod was not used due to the size of the lightbox because I could lean over it.
In addition, the clear perspex was taken off the box.
4 Getting the Shot
Whilst I was at my son's farm, I found some decaying brown leaves on the ground. When the leaves are green, they aren't transparent. Thus, they're not suited to be used on a lightbox. Whereas, the decayed brown leaves are translucent when placed on a lightbox when it is switched on. As a result, reflections of light shine through the leaves creating varying shades of dark and light in parts of the leaves.
I used a Canon EOS 550d, an entry-level crop sensor DSLR camera to create an image of the three leaves. The lens I used is the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM.
The DSLR was used in manual mode and the settings are f/2.8 aperture, 1/100 second shutter, ISO400, at 100mm focal length.
To get the shot, I sat on a chair and leaned over the lightbox. I tried different combinations of one leaf and three leaves, and various angles. In addition, I moved in closer to fill the frame. And, I took some further away. The composition of three leaves that suited my desires is shown below.
5 Post-Production and Final Image
Next, the image of the three leaves was edited in Lightroom and Photoshop. Using a series of layers, blend modes, and textures resulted in the final abstract image, Lingering.
Shown below is the after image, Lingering.
I am honored that my lightbox photo creates, Lingering achieved Print Image of the year in A Grade at Williamstown Camera Club 2018. In the Traces competition during the same year, Lingering placed first in A Grade print.