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2,392 Posts
Soft Box 1

My wife and I have been getting into photography after buying the new Canon 70D. My wife would like to start taking more portraits (after being asked by several coworkers to take pics of their kids, etc). Since we don't have a studio, and our apartment's lighting is subpar for great picture quality, I decided to look into buying some Soft Boxes.

Here is an example of a soft box (from google pictures)....

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I know you can buy some online for pretty cheap (but I'm sure they're just that…cheap). I did some research online and decided to try to build one myself. Mostly for the fun of it.

So the journey begins….

I started by making the lighting component first. There are endless ways to do this, however I just used what I had on hand….

The box is 5" x 5" and will have 4 lights coming out at 10 degree angles from each other (towards the corners of the box)
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I used a small drill bit to help set up my guides, so my Forstner Bit would be lined up accurately….

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I then installed the sockets, finished the box, and wired the sockets to the extension cord…..

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This is all pretty rough so far. I still have to sand it all down, and paint it black. I really just threw it together pretty quickly. I don't want to waste the time making the wooden box really nice just in case I can't get the rest of it to work for me. If the rest of it turns out nice, I'll probably remake the box a little nicer. The steps will be pretty similar.

The next step will be making the actual soft box skin (the hard part). Stay tuned!!...
I don't think those 4 bulbs will supply enough light to be diffused through the soft box, yet still provide enough light to allow the lens to be stopped down to control the depth of field and still have a shutter speed fast enough to freeze any movement by the subject.

Good luck with your project. It looks good so far.


· Registered
2,392 Posts
Soft Box 2

I forgot to post a diagram of my wiring….(Thanks to Lumberjocks for helping me with this!)

Plant Gesture Font Happy Circle

Today I'm going to work on the actual Softbox skin. I think this will be the most challenging part. I have a pretty good start already….

For the skeleton, I found some carbon fiber poles at a Big Box Store. It was an 8' section of it with a flag on one end (I think used for putting on the back of a Snow Mobile). I cut the poles into 2 4' pieces. I then mocked up what my "tent" will look like….

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With 4' poles, I created an arc with roughly a 15.5" radius. I then spread these to be 2' feet apart at the ends. This will give me roughly a 24"x30" SoftBox.

I then created the same thing in Google Sketchup so I could create some sewing patterns….

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...After that, I used my Flattening Extension, to create patterns…

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...Then I added my 1/2" seem allowance for sewing it up…

Parallel Font Symmetry Pattern Drawing

For the skin I'm using black fabric that graduation gowns are made out of. I will sew reflective fabric on the inside of it - for that I will be dismantling a Car Windshield Reflector….

Thats all for now…..more to come soon! Any questions, let me know!
If you haven't visited, you are missing out on some things that could help your project like an umbrella adapter so you can attach your soft box to a light stand.

Lon Coleman is the owner and a nice guy to deal with.


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