DIY Lightbox for Lighting Macro Photos

Photography enthusiast Kris Robinson used to handhold a flash above his subjects for macro photographs, but then he got tired of doing that and ran out of hands. He then came up with the brilliant idea of making a do-it-yourself contraption that attaches to his flash when it’s mounted to the hotshoe. The light travels down a tube lined with reflective aluminum tape, and is bounced downward onto the subject through a diffused lightbox. For a couple sample shots, see here and here.

P.S. Robinson also offers a tip for shooting macro photos of insects: if you place them into your freezer for a minute or two, they’ll sit nice and still for a while before warming up and scurrying away.

Image credit: IMG_0495 by Kris Robinson and used with permission

  • javier_af

    hahaha amazing monster.

  • Guest

    sorry but this post does a disservice to the many excellent macro photographers out there. the lighting is poor, the subjects look lifeless.

    don’t bother with this, look at Piotr Nasrecki’s work or Mark Moffet’s…or anyones!

  • AndyGapin

    If you’re going to link to a photo of a spider, especially a close-up, you really need to provide a warning. I’m not going to be able to sleep for a week now. 

  • Dave

    Putting wildlife in a freezer to ‘get the shot’ is unethical photography.

  • Dave

    I just looked at the links provided. There is still frost on the fly from freezing it. This is very reckless photography to kill an animal just for a photo. They look lifeless (because they are) and unnatural. Find the animal in the wild and photograph it in the wild. It isn’t always easy but it should always be done with the creatures/plants well being kept intact.  Please remove this article from your site.

  • Vic

    Exactly! I looked at the two pics. In a word- terrible. A freezer- really?

    Buy a Rayflash and read a book on macro photography!

  • Krondor

    Michael, regarding this “tip” that you posted – the most accomplished macro photographers that I know of make it a point to never freeze, poison, kill or otherwise harm/disturb the living things their photograph.
    You get the best photos of Nature when you show respect for your subject.

  • jdm8

    I didn’t realize that people cared that much about the welfare of individual insects and spiders.

  • Dave

    They all fall under ‘nature’ and ethically a fly is no different than a blue whale.

  • jdm8

    I really don’t buy that.  A housefly is hardly something in shortage, a blue whale is.

  • Dave

    You missed the word ‘ethically’ I see.

  • jdm8

    No, I didn’t miss “ethically”.  A set of ethics on how to treat biology that ignores biological reality is not much better than no ethics.

  • Dave

    Injuring any living thing intentionally just so you can get a photograph is devoid of ethics. I don’t expect you to understand this either.

  • jdm8

    You do realize you’re defending a house fly, right?  How far down that rabbit hole will you really go?  Are you against antibiotics too?

  • Dave Knapik

    @jdm8:disqus == troll

  • Dave Knapik

    I agree that these photos are unethical and disgusting. How would you like it if something a million times bigger than you picked you up and threw you in a freezer for a photo?

  • Dave

    You just proved my last comment. Thanks! You will obviously try to twist anything to feel as though you are in the right, but there are thousands of nature photographers that behave ethically and get far better images because of it. I am sure most of them would be appalled at the tactics recommended by Mr Robinson, but I also believe most of them already know you do not need to kill something to get a good photo of it. You are too simple to understand this, so I am not trying to convince you. Check lout his Flikr stream and look at all the dead or dying creatures he is bragging about. The pictures are an example of bad photography, and his techniques are an example of lack of ethics. If you don’t get it, you never will. Thats ok, the world is made up of people in all IQ ranges. You just represent the ‘room temperature’ category. Now get back to your video games.

  • jdm8

    Again, you’re getting worked up about common insects, the ones that were frozen have a life of days.  OK, there’s the large spider, but it’s crying about a couple trees in a forrest fire, and in no way comparable to a blue whale.

    You also wanted this article deleted.  As if sweeping it under the rug makes the problem go away.

    None of this is rational, and the most simplistic sort of ethics that doesn’t get taught in philosophy because it totally lacks perspective.

  • jdm8

    I wouldn’t like it if I were a sentient bug, but then, insects most likely aren’t.

  • Marco Espejo

    Buncha hippies. It’s a fly. They’re pests. Come over to the third world and see how ethical you decide to treat them.

  • Matt

    Don’t know if any of you actually realize but insects and spiders are cold blooded, so popping them in the freezer for min or two won’t kill them, but will cause them to sit still and warm up, the same way they do when the morning sun comes up.

    Also if you actually read his comments he states on most of the photos that the insect was released after the photos alive and well.

    Oh and how many of you complaining about this have used big spray and watched a fly spin around on it’s back dying slowly. If you were to kill an insect by freezing it, you’d be doing it more humanely than bug spray does.

    Jeez some people will complain about anything. They’re good photos, and I congratulate him for them.

  • derekdj

    I hate to ask but is the time and effort to build that monstrosity worth it? It seems very single purpose versus just running out and getting a cheap ring light or simple light stand with a flash trigger that you can repurpose for different shooting situations?

    To the point of popping insects in the freezer, anthropologists will chill insects in a cool environment to slow them down, but not necessarily freeze them (which aside from potentially killing them, it might produce unwanted crystals on the surface for photography).

  • Taalke

    seriously?? what do you think happens to them in the winter? 

  • Taalke

    thank you for injecting a bit of common sense here

  • Wil Fry

    The first link in the entry above is to a private Flickrmail file on Flickr, not to Kris Robinson’s account, as intended. FYI.

  • Michael Zhang

    Thanks Wil! fixed