Monthly Archives: May 2020

Let There Be Light!

As some of you may be aware, I have started making bags, pouches and jewellery from Chain Mail*.

Due to the nature of the items, and the prevailing conditions, I have been struggling to take good photographs of said items. So I have eventually relented and invested in a Light Box (and when I say “invested”, it was £11 from Amazon).

“So, is it any good?” I hear you ask. Well, let me explain …

A bag containing my new light box

I opened the familiar Amazon parcel to find this little bag. Apparently the light-box is “portable”, and can be repackaged. It looks quite nice, anyway. So I emptied the contents, to see what I had bought.

My first reaction was one of disappointment. Cheap plastic tat. The background cloths were as cheap as the reviews I’d read mentioned. Not smooth at all. But there were several of them, and two USB leads, for the LED strip lights. (EDIT: on closer inspection, the USB leads are a 1-to-2, only requiring a single USB port to power both LED strips. I consider this a very good feature.

So, it is what it is.

To be honest, for £11, including next-day delivery, what did I expect?

So, on with the Unboxing. Or more accurately, the assembly:

Following the clear, concise instructions .. a ha, ha ha, ha ha!

Eventually, I got it folded the right way, and the little tabs correctly inserted in the right place! It did feel kinda flimsy while putting it together, but I think the plastic will hold up to a little manhandling.

As you can see, there is a circular flap in the roof, so that one can take photographs from directly above. This was actually a selling point, over some of the other options in this price range.

Once assembled, it was actually reasonably rigid, and the background cloth easy to fit, and swap.

The LED lights are quite bright, but do not glare or shine too much. There is plenty of room to place, and manipulate, a piece of jewellery, or small sheet of mail. The cloth has a minor crease in, and does not lie flat, but this can be worked around (I’ll probably be using other backgrounds anyway).

A quick snap with my phone (Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge) shows that the lighting makes a big difference.

I can now look at better positioning, cropping etc.

Even the Black rings show up well, with enough contrast between the rings, but no glare.

The background material is not great, but is good enough for now.

A sheet of pastel green A4 paper just fits nicely inside the box, so this could be a good way to go. Although I may use a different colour for this piece. It looks like it is picking up a lot of green reflection, although I think it is just the colours not meshing well.

More research needed.

I did de-assemble it, and try to squeeze it back into it’s travel-bag. The results were mixed. Probably good enough, if I’m careful with it.

So, overall, after a very quick test, I would say that this was £11 well spent! It works, the photographs are a lot better than previous attempts, and I hope they will be good enough to put in my Online Store!

If you are interested in ordering, or finding more information, I bought it from here:

So, until my next post: Farewell, dear readers, and #StaySafe!

“Chain Mail”. The origin of the term “Mail” (or you may prefer the French spelling “Maille”) refers to a piece of armour (usually of linked rings), from the Latin for Mesh. Over the years, this has been corrupted to Chain Mail, and I use this term to avoid confusion with Postal Mail, or even Gender. Once this has been established, I tend to lapse back to “mail”.