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I'm not sure this is the place to ask this question, but I'm looking for advice about buying a lightbox for taking pictures of my pots.   I've found some inexpensive ones online ($40-60 or so), and am wondering if anyone has used this sort of setup and what you think of it.   It's also a case of not knowing what I don't know,  since I have no experience with lightboxes or taking photos of my work except for my own reference.   I haven't found any reviews specifically mentioning shiny glazed pottery pics.    I hope it's appropriate to seek advice about specific brands on this forum.   I'll include a couple links. Thank you for any input.








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The ones you listed are all 16 cubic inches, which I think would be pretty small unless you make almost all small work. You may want to go for a bigger size so you wouldn't have to buy another later if you make bigger work.

I made something for myself out of PVC pipes and a thin polyester fabric shower curtain. It's about 3 feet wide and 2.5 feet tall. It sits on a table. I have 2 lights on tripods on each side, and one light that I can hold in front, above or put on a tripod too. The thing I spent money on was a Flotone sheet. There are lots of ways to make a light setup yourself if you're interested.

I think with ceramics, being able to adjust the angle of the light hitting your piece is important. You can move the light around to eliminate hot spots and get better shadows and such. I was glad to take a photographing ceramics class, which helped me to be able to see those things I wouldn't have noticed or known how to deal with before. Diffusing light is important for shiny glazes. I don't have any info on using a premade lightbox, but I think you might want to also have some other light source that can be moved around in addition to the one mounted in the box. 

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I like the white light cubes as you can add for outside light

I have a few sizes with color balanced bulbs that set up outside cube

If you get a black outside cube  its to hard to light the top and sides

I also suggest some color balanced lights in small tripods as well with these units

I use the larger one more than a small one.-all with white backdrops


like this one


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The phrase that’s standing out in your original question is “I don’t know what I don’t know.” That would be the thing to fix first.

If I hand only $100 to spend on something to make my photography better in the early days, I’d head to Skillshare and take a course on photography lighting for product photos. The tent is like a specific kitchen tool: great for one job, and if you do a lot of that job, they’re worth owning. But if you’re doing more stuff for social media, they have limited use.

I actually find the tents cumbersome BUT. My advice is given with the caveat that  I don’t apply to juries or publications until after I’ve forgotten about how much the last round annoyed me, or about every 2 years-ish. I do a lot more website/social media photography, and the best practices are different. If you’re doing more plain background images photos, the tents are great. My suggestion would be to see if you can borrow from a friend or rent one from your local camera store first, to see if you like using them. If you do enjoy, do what Mark said. 

But if you don’t like using one, the lighting tents are primarily diffusers, and there’s lots of budget friendly and effective ways to do that. 

IF you need a quick and dirty diffuser box for temporary or occasional use, Here is an older, but still very good tutorial on how to build and use one.

If you want, I can give a description of an easy natural light setup, but this post was turning into a novel. 

Photography gadgets that I do get WAAAAAAAY more use out of: a gorilla pod for my phone, figuring out that I can use my headphones as a cable release (IPhone) Snapseed (photo editor), and a course on how to think about lighting an image. Tools for reflecting and controlling light that I use are largely dollar store purchases: the poster board, foamcore and tissue paper. Some may recommend a shinier reflector, and you can use tinfoil over a piece of foamcore. If you are using a fancier camera, you just want the fancier camera versions of the tripod, cable release and editing software (Lightroom).

Whatever you use for your rig, you will have to figure out how to edit your images in post. Even if you hit all the boxes and get an image “out of the can” that’s almostperfect, chances are you’ll still have to do some white balancing, or colour correction. If you’re working with your phone, I can’t recommend Snapseed enough. If you have a nicer camera than I do and work on your desktop, it’s worth it to take a course, or at least a few tutorials on how to use Lightroom. 

Edited by Callie Beller Diesel
Left out a word.
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Wow that's a lot of information!  Thank you all for your thoughtful inputs and information and sharing your experiences.  It's a lot  to  consider.  I'm going to look into online courses on photographing pottery , and check out  Snapseed and the box tutorial, which looks pretty great, and also investigate the white light cubes.  Thanks for the links as well.  Most of the items  I make are medium bowls,  mugs and small plates so I don't need a big setup.     You've given me a lot to go on and here I go......Thanks again!



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Actually I was trying that yesterday.   Also a white dishpan had some promise.    Also tried the dishpan inside  the bin and it was pretty good.  Thanks!  Nice to know it works for someone else.  I'll experiment some more.


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