A New Light on the Subject

When I first started taking pictures of my marking knives almost 10 years ago I realized it would be helpful to have a light box to help take consistently acceptable photographs. I came up with a compact design that used inexpensive, clamp-on lights and incandescent bulbs plugged into dimmer switches. 


It has served me well. Almost every tool picture on my website was taken using this light box. But it has at least one flaw, it is too small.  Now that the product line includes things like Joiners mallets and large sets of chisels, it is very difficult to fit them inside the box and not include the sides of the box in the pictures. I read Christopher Schwarz’s blog and a few months back he talked about a light set-up that he used from Cowboy Studios. The price was very reasonable for what you get so I thought I would give it a try. Upon opening the duffel bag that everything came packed in I was pleasantly surprised. It is certainly not Pro-level equipment but pretty decent for office work. Here is my temporary set-up on top of a drafting table:


I had to take quite a few test pictures while figuring out the proper white balance and exposure but I am narrowing in on some good settings.  I learned I need to turn off the overhead office lights and Kim didn’t mind working in the dark!  I use Adobe Lightroom if I need to tweak anything. I only know a fraction of what this program can do!


I didn’t have my tripod so hand-holding a one second exposure was tough but here is an initial test result.


 I am looking forward to experimenting and learning to use this new lighting. As time goes on let me know how I am doing 🙂 or maybe not!


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  1. alan

    Thanks for that Dave. Very helpful. I’m really looking forward to the 6 x 1/4″ chisels that I have ordered. The quality of your work is just superb.
    Alan Wood

  2. Larry Pezza

    I think the new lighting system is just what you needed…the new photos look great, try playing around with the white balance. You know what they say the older you get the bigger the toys. Keep up the great work.


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