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.
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
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.
- Lighting is made simple and efficient and takes less time then conventional lighting solutions
- Complete portability in design with one-touch set up and breakdown
- Full zipper front and zipper on top panel for digital camera lens positioning
- Front panel peels back on all three sides for ease of positioning products inside
- 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)
- 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:
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:
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:
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
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:
The light shed was even big enough to host my curious 3 year old son:
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.