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D.I.Y. Macro Photography Tent

The final setup.

The final setup.

Recently I've been upgrading my lenses in an effort to get a uniformity throughout all my video. I've pretty much settled on getting a whole set of Contax Zeiss Primes. While this is great, it leaves me with all my old lenses just sitting around collecting dust. For example, my Nikon mount Nikkor 50mm f/2.0 Ai is a fantastic lens, that has even been reccomended by the legendary Shane Hurlbut, but it makes no sense to keep with my new Zeiss 50mm 1.7, so I'm selling it on eBay.

You can get a significantly larger return when selling your gear online by taking the time to shoot some excellent photos that make the buyer see the item in a "good light". This is why I decided to build a DIY Macro Photography Tent out of a carboard box and printer paper. The store bought version of these handy little tents dont necessarily cost that much, but the time it would take to find one online, order it and wait for it to arrive is time I just didn't want to waste. Also, I just don't do a lot of still photography and would most likely rarely use it.

I decided I wanted to make an infinte white background, as well as diffuse the light hitting the lens to give it that beautiful "catalog" look.

Supplies...

  • Cardboard Box (to fit your item)
  • White Paper (or cloth could work)
  • Tape
  • Scissors/Box Cutter
  • Lights 
  • Camera (100mm or so would be good)

In order to do this...

Cutting the holes in the sides.

Cutting the holes in the sides.

1. I took a small cardboard box, cut out the sides, and taped in some white printer paper to diffuse the flash coming in from both sides.

2. I then taped two piece of printer paper together to create a long strip of paper. Next, I taped one end to the top back wall of the box and let the other end of the paper drape down towards the front of the box, creating a nice smooth curved background.

3. I set up both lights on either side of the box and turned up the exposure on the camera slightly to make the background slightly blown out so it will appear "infinite".

Taping white paper to the interior.

Taping white paper to the interior.

4. I experimented a bit with differnt exposure to get it dialed in and looking right with lots of detail. This will vary depending on your camera, lens, and amount of light. I didn't have any diffusion for the on camera flash so I improvised with a bit of folded up bubble wrap which raises the ghettoness level of this from about a 8 to around 11, but it worked.

Shooting the photos with the DIY tent.

Shooting the photos with the DIY tent.

5. Then I brought the images in to Aperture and did some levels and enhancements to make the lens pop off the background. The white of the background was brightened to the point you couldnt see any detail so it appears to be infinite, which really helps give the shots the professional "catalog" look.

Editing the photos in Apple Aperture.

Editing the photos in Apple Aperture.

I know the setup might seem a bit iffy...and in a way, it is. But its actually pretty effective. As proof, here's the final image of the lens thats going on eBay!

The final product!

The final product!