Light tents

Ever used a light tent before? If not they are well worth considering as they can make still-life photography so much easier especially if you don’t have access to a dedicated studio 24/7.

I bought my Redwing Cocoon ages ago and haven’t used it much until recently as I have just embarked on a new long term stock photography project that involves shooting a large number of small objects to be marketed as illustrative cut-outs. The cocoon is a fiddly thing to set up and I cut myself doing so (that velcro is a bit abrasive!). Anyway after fixing a few plasters to my fingers and wrestling with the zips, I had put my cocoon together!

At this point its probably worth explaining the difference between a Redwing Cocoon and a Lastolite Cubelite.

The cocoon is made out of a very pliable opaque perspex material. The unit is made up of 4 pieces that fit together by a combination of Velcro tabs and zips. Its easy to identify which bit goes where (thanks to coloured markers) but actually doing so is fiddly because you have to wrestle with it a little bit in order to construct it!! However after doing this a few times, it gets easier! Once you have put the cocoon together you have access to its interior via 3 large apertures, all of which provide enough room for you to poke your camera lens through and to manouvre it into position accordingly. I highly recommend using a tripod for this, as its easier then to make fine adjustments to get your shots absolutely correct. The perspex material acts as a great diffuser and its easy to achieve shadowless photos with minimal reflections on the surface of your subjects. You can set one of these up in a room thats cluttered and not have to worry about tidying up before a shoot!

A Cubelite on the other hand differs in two ways, its a cube (believe it or not!) and is made out of a fabric material rather than perspex. In fact the Cubelite is more like a tent in its nature because it has a door on the front that can be zipped up around the camera lens to completely enclose your subject. As with the Cocoon it is also a big diffuser and once again you can create shadowless images. A Cubelite is a lot easier to erect and put away. The only disadvantage is that its not as solid as the cocoon and doesn’t feature a curved base for that all important “infinite” effect thats popular for cut-out images these days.

Light tents (whichever one you choose) are great for shooting small and especially reflective products/items. I shall keep you updated on my fun and games with the light tent and reveal some of the results I have achieved with it for my current project in the near future…

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