Using a Light Tent

When taking still photos of small items, it is common practice to use a light tent. The translucent nylon material of the light tent diffuses your lighting evenly around your subject, reducing shadows and softening the light.

Most light tents today come with backgrounds that attach to the inside of the light tent using velcro. Choosing the correct background is the first step in using the light tent. Be careful to choose a background that your subject will not blend into. If the background has creases, use a steamer to remove the creases prior attaching it to the light tent.

Another important element is the lighting. After setting up the light tent, you will need to add your lighting around it. You should use at least two light sources; adding a third in the front is useful if you still see shadows when just using two lights. When selecting your lights, you should look for daylight balanced compact fluorescent bulbs, as they produce the most natural lighting. Setup one light on each side of the light tent; if you use the third light, set it up in front of the light tent at the same level as your subject. You should turn off any other lighting sources in the room, especially the flash on your camera.

To reduce any blur in the photo, you should setup your camera on a tripod. Position this in front of the light tent, about 1 1/2 to 2 feet away. You can adjust this to a height and angle that will get you the results you are looking for. For extra stability, you can use an infrared remote or wireless shutter.

Light tents are simple to use and produce great results. With the right setup, anyone can create professional photographs.

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