Impact Light Shed Review

This is a review of the Impact Digital Light Shed, used for small and medium product photography. Whether you are photographing jewelry, toys, shoes or even lenses, a good light box is essential for creating beautiful photographs of the product. While you can take the DYI route and build a light box yourself from scratch (which is what I did for years before), purchasing a solid light box setup can save you plenty of time, space and frustration.

Impact Digital Light Shed

While I am not into product photography, I occasionally take pictures of items that I want to get rid of through Craigslist and eBay (speaking of which, Bob gave some great tips on how to sell your photo gear on eBay). My first light box was made from a square cardboard box that I cut from three sides. I glued some white paper inside the box and over the holes, which worked great for diffusing and softening the light evenly inside the light box. To light up my setup, I used the cheapest lights I could find from a local hardware store, because I only had one speedlight at the time. While my setup worked great initially, the cardboard box just would not last long (mostly thanks to my little kiddos) and I found myself making one every time when I needed to photograph something.

Once I got myself a real light box, I realized how much time and effort I could have saved myself if I had bought it a long time ago. Plus, I realized that my pictures actually looked better and I did not have to spend as much time trying to fix problems in Photoshop. It is one of those things that you only realize after the fact…

The Impact Light Shed is the largest light box made by Impact – it measures 24x24x36″. The smaller “large” model is 18x18x27.5″, “medium” is 15x15x23″ and “small” is only 10.5×10.5×13.5″. Since the price difference between these sizes is rather small, I went ahead with the largest one. I did not want to restrict my product photography to small items only. Plus, boxes that I have used in the past were rather large and I wanted to have a roomy light box as well.

1) Product Information and Specifications

Product Information:
Impact’s Extra Large Digital Light Shed is a high-quality, translucent cloth material housing for photographing small and medium products that can be lit with daylight, HMI, electronic flash, fluorescent quartz and tungsten light sources.

The Light Shed can be lit from the sides, top, back, front or can be placed on a shooting table for bottom illumination. It includes a removable white, and a black plastic base, offering alternative backgrounds.

  1. Lighting is made simple and efficient and takes less time then conventional lighting solutions
  2. Complete portability in design with one-touch set up and breakdown
  3. Full zipper front and zipper on top panel for digital camera lens positioning
  4. Front panel peels back on all three sides for ease of positioning products inside

Product Specifications:

  1. Dimensions: Extra Large – 24x24x36″ (61x61x91cm), Large – 18x18x27.5″ (45.7×45.7x69cm), Medium – 15x15x23″ (38x38x58cm), Small – 10.5×10.5×13.5″ (26.6×26.6x34cm)
  2. Weight: Extra Large – 11 lbs (5 kg), Large – 5 lbs (2.2 kg), Medium – 4 lbs (1.8 kg), Small – 2.2 lbs (1 kg)

2) Packaging, Assembly and Use

The Impact Light Shed is packaged and folded nicely inside a large black bag that looks like this:

Impact Light Shed Bag

The best part about this light box is that it takes very little space in my storage when it is collapsed inside the bag. No more large boxes gathering dust!

Assembly is super easy, you just open it up and it instantly becomes a box. Everything you need, including a reflective surface and black + white background, is included inside the box. Here is how it looks after being assembled:

Impact Light Shed Assembled

You can set the light box vertically or horizontally, depending on what you are photographing. Here is my vertical setup with the same cheap lights that I used to use with a DYI light box:

Impact Light Shed Setup Vertical

As you can see, I have a pretty standard layout with 4 lights, although if the lamps you have are powerful enough or you are shooting with speedlights, you could certainly get away with just one on each side. If you want to get fancy, you can add another light on the top.

3) Sample product photography

Here is some sample product photography using the Impact Light Shed:
Sample #1

Sample #2

For these shots I used a white background with a reflective plastic bottom. As you can see, the images turned out great without any fancy setup – just two 100W lights on each side is all I had. Want to photograph lenses? No problem! Here is the Nikon 24mm f/1.4G in its full beauty:

Sample #3

The light shed was even big enough to host my curious 3 year old son:

Impact Light Shed with Ozzy

4) Summary

If your bread and butter were product photography, you most likely would have a complex setup with plenty of small and large lights, bounce cards, mirrors and black cards. But if you only need to photograph products occasionally, or if you do not want to mess with a custom setup, save yourself the time and get one of these Impact light boxes. They are light, compact, easy to setup or put away, and will last for a very long time.

5) Pricing and Where to Buy

The Impact Light Shed is available in 4 different sizes at B&H Photo Video and is priced between $36 and $64.

Impact Light Shed Review4.7Nasim Mansurov2012-03-23 02:01:25This is a review of the Impact Digital Light Shed, used for small and medium product photography. Whether you are photographing jewelry, toys, shoes o…
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Size and Weight
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Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) moi

    What lights do you use? Type and power? :)

    • 2
      ) moi

      These avatars are crazy. :)))

      • Go to gravatar.com and get yourself a nice one :) Once registered with your email address, it will always display it here and other websites.

        • 6
          ) Che Ibarra

          Avatar Check? Does it show up? Thanks for the articles Nasim..never heard of a light box…I actually build my own a couple of months ago while trying to photograph food. Intuition told me I needed some kind of box bouncing light all around..made it out of a cardboard box and covered it with white paper. I have been shooting for about 9 months now and your articles have helps me a lot. Here is a shot I did with the homemade “light box” http://500px.com/photo/1640834

          • 7
            ) Che Ibarra

            Avatar check….

          • I looked at the picture. What I would personally do, is move the card a little back and have the food in focus as well – I think it would have had a slightly better appeal then.

            In terms of exposure and flash, looks like you have a harsh direct flash that is not diffused (judging by the white area). The light on the right side is pretty strong, while the left is not receiving any (the shadow is too noticeable). Try adding flash/light on the left as well to make it look more even.

            Just my 2 cents :)

            • 11
              ) Che Ibarra

              Wow, I wasn’t expecting a critique/advice at all. Thank You so much for taking your time and looking at it. Beyond the call of duty from an ultra busy professional like yourself. Im a big work in progress. Thank You Nasim.

    • Moi, I have four 100W “soft white” energy efficient light bulbs…but you can use whatever you want. Set your White Balance to auto, shoot in RAW and tweak the colors in post later.

      • 21
        ) Jay

        what kind of lights did you use? Are those the ones that come with the light shed kit?

  2. Nasim–Just wondering how you are able to get such beautiful product photos without any fabric seams, wrinkles, etc. showing in the background. I’ve tried this and have gotten a dull shade of gray (instead of white) background and photos had the above mentioned problems. Is there a lot of Photoshop work required? Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

    • Rene, it literally took me about 10-15 seconds in Lightroom for each photo. All I did was crop the image to the right dimension, then I adjusted the “White” slider a little to brighten up the whites. If you are getting a gray background, then you need to adjust your exposure and your lights a little – the background should come out white. Another thing you can do, is add another light to the back of the light box – it will make the background much whiter in comparison.

  3. 12
    ) Rohan

    Your kiddo looks funny here :-)… did he actually “wear” the lightbox ?

    • Rohan, thanks! No, he easily fit inside it :)

  4. Naism,

    I have to take and process a lot of product pictures of crystals. In some cases it would be nice to have a refective surface on the bottom and often the back of the crystal. White, black, dark blue, etc. with some reflective backgrounds graduated between 2 colors.

    Your reflective white background was just about perfect. Do you know where I can purchase this type of background?

    Thanks,

    Dick

    • Dick, the above kit includes a white reflective surface :)

      • Nasim,

        Thanks for responding so quickly.

        I already have a tent and need to find just the reflective material. Even if I bought this tent, it wouldn’t come with all the combinations of reflective surfaces I need – black, white, dark blue, black to white, etc. I was hoping you knew where to find these or could somehow find out with your contacts. I have looked all over the internet with no success. I imagine that many other product photgraphers have similar needs.

        Sincerely.

        Dick

  5. 17
    ) pallavi

    Hi Nasim,

    I am not sure if this is the right place for my question but I shall go ahead anyhow. I have a catalogue shoot coming up..furniture photography. I was wondering what lights to use, if I should use lights at all. The space is huge and there is plenty of natural light available. I have done interiors shoot but furniture will be my first. Any pointers would be helpful.
    I have 35mm ad 50mm prime lenses. I also have 70-200mm VR II lens apart from the usual kit lenses. I am using a half frame camera and a D800 is on the way. I am also not sure if I made a mistake by ordering for this as opposed to D800E..or even the D600 after reading your review.
    I really could use your inputs.
    Thank you so much. For all the help and information here. It is quite simply sublime of you.

  6. 18
    ) nothingness99

    Wonder if you know how to use Photoshop to turn the gray background into white like yours…Thanks

    • Just use the magic wand tool to select the gray area, then simply hit the delete button and tell it to paint it with white – that should get rid of it. If you have fine hair, etc, then it will be more difficult to remove – better to overexpose the background from the beginning by pointing a very bright light source to it. Also, play with Brightness settings in Lightroom/Photoshop.

  7. 20
    ) Rajko

    Can you please tell me the dimensions of the box when collapsed and in its case so I know if I can take it on a plane. Thanks

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