This is my set up for jewelry photography.

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The light box is made from a cardboard box for paper towels which I got from Safeway, more than 20 years ago.  And it is still pretty much in tact.  Two holes were cut in the sides, into which translucent colorless gels were placed.  The bottom, top (which comes off for easier jewelry setup) and inside walls are covered with white paper.  A sloping piece of gray paper is attached from the bottom front edge to the top rear edge.  Everything held together with glue, tape, paperclips, and strengthened somewhat over the years with strips of foam core.  Note the pieces of paper on top of the box.  These are four letter sized pieces of paper taped together and to the top in such a way, that they fold down, to close the box during the exposure, so dark reflections do not enter the picture.

The reflectors are of the cheapest kind from the hardware store.  Spun Aluminum, with plastic sockets and spring clamps.  No expensive tripods needed, just clamp to the backs of a couple of chairs or anything else you might have handy.  The lamps are GE Photoflood lamps, type ECT, 500 W each, 3200 degrees Kelvin.  These lamps are special lamps to be used together with the film I use for photographing my work, which is Kodak Ektachrome 64 Tungsten Professional.

These lamps burn very hot.  I have them both connected to a power strip for convenience, so I only have to flip one switch each time during the process.  Believe me, it becomes a hassle to go back and forth all the time, turning the lamps on and off during set up, checking exposure, focus and taking the picture.  They are just too hot and too bright to keep burning all the time.  Also, these lamps wear out before they burn out, so you only want to use them when you have to.  After working with them for some time, the color balance shifts.  One would not have this problem with Halogen lamps, which maintain their color balance throughout their life, but the cost difference is enormous. The cheap reflectors I use plus the lamps cost me about $20.-; Halogen lamps, reflectors and the needed tripods would have cost between $500.- to $600.-

The camera I use is an old Nikkormat, but any good single lens reflex camera will do.  I use close up rings, in addition to my standard 50 mm lens, but a macro lens by itself would be a lot better for this.  A good stable tripod is a must, and so is a cable release, because you will be using long exposure times.


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This is what it looks like when I take a photo.  Note how I have folded down the white paper sheets from the top front edge of the box.  I am also holding a piece of white paper in my left hand to further minimize any dark reflections from entering the box.  Of course there is not much I can do about the reflection of the lens itself.