Printing photos for light boxes???

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by colbyjames, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. colbyjames

    colbyjames TPF Noob!

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    Hello! First post here...

    So I'm constructing light boxes for a photo project I'm working on right now. I built one today and put a test lamp inside and found that the light blasted out my images. I've never used light boxes before.

    For reference, they are dark images - this is one of them, though they are a series of 11, possibly 12.

    [​IMG]

    All of the blacks turned to middle-gray. I'm assuming I need to print these images significantly darker and highly saturated, kind of like a piece of slide film? How do I know how much to reduce my exposure and increase my saturation for such a print?

    Crummy cell-phone pic example below. The test light was just whatever bulb was handy - so it's the wrong color, voltage and type. I'm going to use very white light - fluorescent tubes mounted on either side. These boxes are double-sided, so 2 images presented per box. You can see the upper half of the image is very light-colored, when it should be almost black. How should I go about modifying my images for this type of presentation? Is paper type/thickness crucial too?

    [​IMG]

    FWIW, I'm constructing these boxes from 1x5.5" ash. The images are placed between a piece of glass and a piece of light-diffusing material and slipped into grooves in the wood. For reference:

    [​IMG]

    Just a crummy cell phone picture. I still need to figure out what color to paint or stain the box. I'm reluctant to go with black because I'm afraid it will clash with the absolute blacks of my images.

    Thanks for the thoughts/help!!
     
  2. Felix0890

    Felix0890 TPF Noob!

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    I don't have experience with this but my head is telling me to try putting something between the light and the image. Maybe some translucent-ish paper or material? Something to wash out the light a bit so it's not that harsh. Maybe there's a particular type of light bulb that will give you a better effect. Or a different type of paper (like the type they use at the movie theaters to display the new movie posters). Hopefully someone else knows.
     
  3. colbyjames

    colbyjames TPF Noob!

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    Too clarify, the photographs are sandwiched between glass and a light diffuser. I'm not too worried about the light diffusion in the box, because even with the localized bulb I used solely for mock-up purposes, the light was diffused pretty good. I will be using bulbs that will further diffuse the light - so that's not exactly my issue. The issue is more related to the fact that the images got washed out when light was put behind them.
     
  4. Felix0890

    Felix0890 TPF Noob!

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    Then I'm thinking it's the paper that needs to be different. Might want to research what type of paper you should be printing on for this type of thing.
     
  5. colbyjames

    colbyjames TPF Noob!

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    Just an update here.

    I got all the electrics installed in my light box. I went with 2 10" (iirc) fluorescent tubes, controlled by a switch I spliced in that goes through the top of the box.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You can see that the power cord I made up goes through the top of the box. The boxes will be suspended from the ceiling in the gallery so that the viewer can look at either side of the boxes, making this photo project into something like installation sculpture.

    Since these photos were taken, I've painted the inside of the boxes white to help reflect as much light as possible. Today I will stain the outside of the box a dark walnut color.

    Today I'm going to print my images again. I got a hold of some free backlit film to try out. I think that will solve my problems with the blasting out of the images. It can be bought for super cheap on rolls right now - like $30 for a 24" by 100' roll. Major discounts out there online if anyone is interested in it. Or you can get individual sheets for decent, but expensive, prices. :)
     
  6. Felix0890

    Felix0890 TPF Noob!

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    Backlit paper . . . never thought of that. ;)
     

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