Sign up Login
Home Forums Articles Galleries Members Galleries Master Your Vision Galleries 5Contest Categories 5Winners Galleries 5ANPAT Galleries 5 The Winners Editor's Choice Portfolios Recent Photos Search Contest Info Help News Newsletter Join us Renew Membership About us Retrieve password Contact us Contests Vouchers Wiki Apps THE NIKONIAN™ For the press Fundraising Search Help!


Shooting Indoors - When Getting Outside Does Not Work for You

Connie Cassinetto (Via the Lens)

Keywords: connie_cassinetto, via_the_lens, shooting_indoors, light_box_photography

Sometimes I cannot get outside in a location that will allow me to take interesting photographs or the weather just won’t allow it.  But, I still want to use my camera to take photographs so I’ll try setting up a still life of some sort.  At one point, I read about light box photography and saw some beautiful flower images that a photographer, who teaches the technique, had taken.  I had the pleasure of attending a weekend seminar in late fall of 2017 where someone demonstrated this technique.  The technique is not about putting an item in a three-sided light box to get a commercial photo, but instead about using a flat light box where the subject is laid directly onto the flat light box to create a work of art.  The technique does require that you use a processing program after taking the shots to obtain the best possible effect.  It also helps to use a macro lens to get close enough to have the image fill the frame and a tripod is required as you set the camera on the tripod and shoot down onto the light box and subject.  Light box photography is a productive way to keep photographing through harsh winter months or when you just can’t get outside in the right location to take photographs.

Mixed Flowers
First Attempt; Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm, ISO 100, 8.0 sec at f/8.0. Used f/8 to see how that aperture would work out for this shot, which was pretty much filled up with leaves and probably needed a higher number aperture setting but I still like how it turned out. I also added a pinkish background to the shot when the processing was completed. Shot in aperture priority mode in natural and added light.
Click for an enlargement


There is more to the technique, however, than just equipment.  You do need to have an eye for putting together a scene of sorts in some way that is pleasing to the eye.  Light box photography is actually just a flat still life scene that is back-lit, so some experience in setting up still life scenes is helpful to the process.  As usual, composition is the key to a successful photograph: it’s just hard to get away from that no matter what type of photography you do.  Also, if you like to photograph flowers, which I do, having some knowledge about correctly arranging flowers would be very helpful in creating a successful layout of the flowers.  I have not studied flower arrangement nor have I done a great number of still life photos, but I do know about composition and color to some degree and I relied on this knowledge to get something that pleased me and hopefully pleased others when they viewed the end result.  I am, of course, still working on how to get each subject correctly arranged on the light box each time I do light box photography as each time the subject and the setup are different.   You can also use textured backgrounds and borders to dress up the piece once done with the processing.


To read the rest of the article, please log in. This article is available to all Silver, Gold and Platinum Nikonians members. If you are not registered yet, please do so. To discover the world of Nikonians and the advantages of being a registered member, take our short discovery tour.


Martin Marchyshyn (MartyD800E) on April 27, 2018

Thanks for the information, Connie. I will probably buy the same light box. My class was in Berkeley CA about a year ago. So, close, but no cigar. Again, thanks.

Connie Cassinetto (Via the Lens) on April 14, 2018

Ribbon awarded for her valuable contributions to the Articles Section.

Kent, Thank you.

Connie Cassinetto (Via the Lens) on April 14, 2018

Ribbon awarded for her valuable contributions to the Articles Section.

Hi Martin, The light box I got, I assume they are all different in the light source provided, is decidedly cooler in tone. I generally like a warmer look and since I shoot in RAW I correct the WB after in post. You could, I suppose, also add a warmer light and the mixed lighting would add some warmth to the final shot. My workshop was in Pleasanton, CA...and yours? I simply keep taking shots until the last one is very high key with lots of pieces blown out, so all the way to 30 seconds in some shots. You get to pick the ones you want to work with anyway so it won't matter in the end how blown out the shot is. Thank you.

Kent Lewis (nkcllewis) on April 11, 2018

Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017

Connie, greetings and thank you very much for sharing your images and technique. I especially like the Camillas. Very much food for thought. Kent in VA

Martin Marchyshyn (MartyD800E) on April 7, 2018

Hey, Connie ... sounds like we might have been on the same weekend course. Great work, by the way, and as you say, it is a journey. Just a couple of technical questions, if you don't mind. First is about the colour balance of the light box ... was it relatively easy to set up your in-camera WB, or do you correct it in post, if necessary? Second, when shooting at f/16, given the light output of this particular light box, what is the slowest shutter speed you need to get the most over-exposed image in the series? Thanks ... looking forward to seeing more of your work and reading more of your articles.

Connie Cassinetto (Via the Lens) on April 6, 2018

Ribbon awarded for her valuable contributions to the Articles Section.

Yes, that is the look that happens with this type of photography: I love the results. Unfortunately, since I don't post this information directly, I cannot simply add a shot of the light box. But I hope this link works: You may have to cut and paste, not sure if it will go "live" when I post.

dwight koehler (dkkoehler) on April 6, 2018

Thanks for sharing. Reminds me of the beautiful hand-drawn botanical posters I saw in my college Botany class. I just wish you add d a shot of the light box you were using.