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November 01, 2013


Well its time for our second Dreamtime Designs Craft Challenge and its another good one. This time its not about the designer, but instead it will benefit the designer. :)

 As this is a new challenge blog, we really do need all the support we can get, so please come join and support us, I'm sure you'll all have lots of fun with the challenges and you have a whole month to create. Whats more there's a great prize of $20 on offer, lots of badges and more importantly lots of support and blog visits :)

So onto the challenge, this month we were tasked with creating a light box or explaining how we used a light box if we had already made or purchased one. The idea behind the challenge is to leave people with something they can use and will benefit from time and time again and to create lots of tutorials for everyone else out there that sees your's or our blogs, so others can also have a useful lightbox.

A lightbox will enable you to take better photo's of your designs or projects by providing better lighting during your photo shoot and eliminating unwanted items in the background.

I already had a light box, however I never really used it properly, in fact to start with I didn't use it, then I started using it just to eliminate background objects. 

My main problem is I never have time to take my photos of a day time, so can never use natural light and artificial lights never achieved a good enough picture. So this challenge was perfect for making me use my lightbox perhaps a bit more as I should of been!

This is a small pop up lightbox and the below photos show it in stages being put up, it fixes with velcro.

Light Box folded up

1. Un-velcro front straps

2. Fold front (black) section back on itself (underneath) I did this so it was out of the way

3. Lift up (stand up) double section and open out

4. Stand up single section and velcro to double section

5. Your light box should now look something like this (the small black outer flap, i just allow to hang off my worktop)

We had some questions to answer, here are the questions and my answers:
1) Has the lightbox helped you?  If so, how? It has helped by ensuring my shots are clutter free, which means there are no distractions from what I am showing the viewer. It also enables me to get a truer colour, so truer look to my creation.
2) Are you using the lightbox inside the house or outside? Inside as I'm always photographing at night, so natural light (which is generally best) is not a possibility for me.
3) Are you using lights?  If so, what kind? Freestanding flash and camera flash
4) Tell us two tips or tricks about creating or using a lightbox. If you get too much glare from a flash or lamp/light, use a piece of heavy paper or card stock between your light source and the light box, this will dull the light down.
Daylight bulbs will offer the best artificial light as they give truer colours to your projects.
I already had my camera flash, a stand alone flash and a lamp (ordinary bulb). We've had so many birthdays etc this month that I decided not to spend any money at this stage, but will probably in the future invest in another lamp and two daylight bulbs and evenly light from both sides. So watch this space, if this happens I will provide before and afters.
For now I decided to try out what gave the best effect with the equipment I had.
Below is an example of some of the setups I tried:

Without good lighting, not only will the colours of your project suffer, but the sharpness of the image will also suffer, So if you are struggling to get a crisp shot and are not sure why, not enough light could be the issue! 
Here is an example of the effects that some of the above setups made:

-Lit from the back (and front camera flash) created a halo around the card, and the details still could not be seen properly
-Lit from one side with the stand alone flash (and front camera flash), created a light side and a dark side
-No light was too dark

-Lit both sides, one with flash (and front camera flash) and one with lamp (ordinary bulb), created a blown out (fuzzy) photo with an orangey glow.
-I found the best result was when I hand held the standalone flash above the project, so I got out my tripod, sat the flash on that so I didn't have to hold it and this created the pictures I decided were the best. I also found switching my cameras settings to 'flash' white balance, created warmer colours and didn't leave it looking as washed out!
This was my after shot.

I felt the colours were true and warm and the photo was relatively clear.
Whilst looking into light boxes, I did find another handy little adjustment tip, that took this:
and made it into this: 
1. Load your image into Photoshop (I use elements)
2.Open 'Layer' - Select 'New Adjustment layer' - Select 'Levels'
3. A little pop up with graph, a slider bar and 3 pipettes/eye droppers appears
4. Select the lightest/white one and click on a white/light area
Thats it!!! You can keep clicking for different adjustments or use the grey or black pipette on their corresponding colours, have a play, you may be amazed ;p

Dont' forget to check out the other DT members projects, if you don't already have one, you will see the DT also have tutorials on making a box from scratch. And if you decide to make your own, don't forget to enter this months challenge, with your step by step guide, or even if you already have one like me, enter our challenge by telling us how you use it.

Why don't you pop over to our Facebook group to say hi. :)

P.s. Do you like my sneak peek of one of the fab Milkcoffee images i've started colouring :p I'm a bit further on with colouring her now, so hopefully she will be making an appearance on a card soon.

Thanks for stopping by.


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  1. Hi Sam,
    I totally love your lightbox with how it is totally portable & folds up beautifully :) It would be so easy to store too. With all of the little experiments that you have done for this challenge, I must say it has definitely paid off. Your designs are much clearer to see, cleaner & a lot brighter. Nothing like a clear crisp image :) I am so glad that it has helped you with taking clutter free shots of your designs & yes you are right, it really gives a truer colour of your design. I also love the cute little images & the tip for Photoshop. I also use the program but I adjust the levels & also the adjustment curves :) Photoshop is amazing isn't it? Thank you so much for your wonderful take on Challenge #2 at DDCC Sam. You are such an inspiration to all of us :) Hugs, Lisa x.

    Dreamtime Designs – My Blog
    NEW- Dreamtime Designs Craft Challenge
    My designs @ Etsy

  2. haha Sam you have the same lightbox that i found after making mine! Small world - love it, such a difference with the images too! and especially the tip about photoshop - thats made a huge difference also! great tutorial Sam!

  3. Wow, thank you so much for this tut, Sam. I struggle to get good photos. The colours never seem to come out 'true'. I certainly need to work on it and this is going to help me loads! xx

    1. Glad it may help Jane :)
      Don't forget if you do make/start to use one differently, then make your own blog post about it and enter the great challenge over at Dreamtime designs :)
      Dreamtime Designs

  4. So much great information! I love the tip about Photoshop unfortunately I use a different editing that shall remain unnamed. (Giggle)
    I love that this challenge prompted you to give your lightbox a go. It should make getting your pics so much easier. Can't wait to see if the addition of 2 daylight bulbs does make a difference. I invested in them (very expensive for silly little light bulbs) and would love to know if they are worth the expense when it comes time for replacement.
    Great job on this challenge!!
    Dreamtime Designs Craft Challenge Design Team
    Queen Bee Paper Crafts

    1. I will be sure to post again when I try the different bulbs. And hahahaha i'm laughing so much at the thought of the name of your

  5. Hi Sam, I have this lightbox which I have bought several months ago, it is really handy. Myselfmade lightbox will go to my mum, she is very happy with it. The pictures are really great! Hugs, Cindy

    1. Thanks Cindy :) And I'm glad both you and your mum will each have a lightbox now.

  6. Excellent job Sam! Your lighting looks incredible, what a difference! Love that it all folds away and the use of the velcro! xx

  7. Thanks Joanne, Wish I had your natural light though...hehe..x

  8. Hi Sam!! :D
    I love your lightbox and your result experiment! Really help a lot, I think I will try it next time :)
    And big thanks for the photoshop tutorial :) :) xx

    Loooveee your sneak peek for the Milkcoffee! Please, please, please make her into a card sooner. LOL.

    Hugs, Mikha


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