Let there be light!

What started as an unofficial resolution at the beginning of 2015, before becoming an official resolution in the middle, is now a reality at the end.  Despite my intention to get my craft on, I didn’t make my lightbox; this one was on sale and it was too good of a deal to pass up.

… that was the middle of July. What have I been doing since then?

Well, I stalled almost as soon as I started. Our spare lamp had only a 60W bulb and I needed a brighter bulb; it took me a few weeks to remember to buy a bulb. But, even with a “natural light” bulb, the shade threw a yellowish tinge that coloured the pictures. I tried making a reflective shade to boost the light and counter the yellowing, but I still couldn’t get my pictures the way that I wanted them. Having only one light also threw some shadows, so I stole two of our bedside lights, one for each side of the lightbox, in the hopes that I could make do with what I already had. Still no good.

I had a lightbox but no light!

Of course, it was the summer, so most days I had abundant natural light. Great for taking pictures my usual way. Not so great as an incentive to sort out my lightbox lighting. Over the summer I sporadically looked for lights that would work, but nothing seemed right. In October, as the days started to shorten, I forced myself to look more seriously for some decent lighting, but it wasn’t until the middle of December that I finally found some lights I thought would work. Sadly, they were out of stock and not expected to be back in stock for six to eight weeks. Still, I kept my eye on them while I looked for other options. A few days before we rang in the New Year I saw that they were back in stock and I pounced. Talk about coming down to the wire! But, I can honestly say that I finished the resolution in 2015, even if it took me a little longer to post about it.

I chose my dragon bracelet as my test because of the labradorites. Usually the sun really makes the labs flash, so I wanted to see how well the lightbox could do. The first two pictures below were taken in natural light, the rest were taken in my lightbox. And, to really see how it did on a dark day, I took the lightbox pictures in a dark room. The only light sources are the “true colour” bulbs in the lights that I bought.


The lightbox did a decent job of making the labs flash. The only thing that I’m still not quite happy with are the colours. The colours in the natural light pictures are still much nicer than those in the lightbox pictures. The difference is particularly noticeable in the more barrel-shaped lab, which looks blue in the natural light and a pale green in the lightbox light! And, despite the “natural light” bulbs, the lightbox pictures still have a few shadows and a tint to them. But, they did highlight the blue desert and pearl nicely.

Despite it not being the perfect solution I was hoping for, I’m pleased with my lightbox. Even in an almost complete dark room, the pictures turned out bright. And, although the resolution is complete, it’s not over. I want to try different materials underneath the bracelets and brighter bulbs to see if that helps diffuse the light and banish some of the shadows. I might also try a different brand of “natural light” bulbs to see if I can get rid of the tint. Part of me would really like a third light for on top, but I don’t know if that would be overkill.

I thought of subtitling this post “2015: The year of delayed resolutions.” As I looked back over the year, I noticed a trend:

  1. My bangle resolution was delayed by the lack of stoppers.
  2. My Faerybeads resolution was delayed by buyers paralysis.
  3. My chain resolution was delayed by a lack of “buy a lock, get a chain” deals.
  4. My bead-making resolution was delayed by the lack of a Brainiac bead.
  5. This resolution was delayed by the lack of lights.

I’m really hoping that my 2016 resolutions go a bit more smoothly!


  1. Well, I think that’s great that you’ll be able to take photos in the deep, dark days of winter! Beats going outside in the cold!

    1. :D Yes, chasing those few elusive hours of good sun (when the sun was even out!) last winter was frustrating. Now that I have all the pieces, I also need to find a place where I can set it up permanently, or at least have it partially set up so that it’s quick to take pictures. And hopefully having the stronger lights means that I can also take pictures at night if I need to! I’m looking forward to not being limited to an hour or two when the sun is just right :D

  2. Oooh I have the exact same light tent! I keep it on a shelf and next to the table near the window where I use it, but I don’t have any lights so I shall watch how your light set up progresses!

    I’ve recently bought a smaller (but way more expensive) photo dome so i can take easier pics of single beads with my smartphone without all the issues my light tent has. Speed is of the essense with my own beads as it was getting painful trying to do it with a big light tent. You can just about fit a bracelet in the photodome provided it’s done up and in a circle!

    Looking forward to more light and eastier photography as the months go on!

    Mars xx

    1. Now that I’m finally using my tent, I was thinking that maybe I should have bought a smaller one :D I didn’t have any sense of how munch space I would need, so just grabbed this one when it came on sale. I wonder if my lights would work better if it was But. it’s probably still cheaper to try other lights than to buy a new tent. Smaller would have also been easier for storage.

      Ah well, still an improvement over last year when I had more limited options! Hope your photography keeps going well :)

      1. Yep I am exactly the same regarding the size, really didn’t one as big, but went for the biggest I could afford without it being huge – I think I envisaged photographing FN in there and needing the height… only happened once!

        Mars xx

    1. I’m still figuring out how to get the best pictures with it, but I think that it will be useful. I still think that eventually I might like to try a slightly smaller one. Mine is 16 inches but I clearly don’t need that much space for a bracelet :D

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