Save Your Empty Food Box for This Great Lighting Effect

If you're into that film noir look à la "Double Indemnity" (and who isn't?), this is the tutorial for you. Using only an off-camera flash, a food box, and some tape, you can create this moody and cool lighting effect. 

I may have a slight obsession with film noir. It's just so undeniably mysterious, the atmosphere so inscrutably cool. A lot of what gave film noir its moody look was the lighting, which constantly played on harsh, angular shadows. Perhaps no setup is more reminiscent of that than the "light filtering through Venetian blinds" look. Seriously, find me one film noir that doesn't use it. In this video, the Academy of Photography will teach you how to recreate that using nothing more than an off-camera speedlight and a biscuit box. By cutting slats into the end of the box and fitting it over the flash, you're projecting the pattern you've cut using the light (which means you can experiment with other patterns as well). While the tutorial uses a biscuit box, unfortunately, I only had a waffle box available. I'm happy to report that it worked just as well, however. It also gave me an excuse to make some waffles. 

[via ISO 1200]

Log in or register to post comments


Michael Murphy's picture

Okay, that's cool; I would never have thought to try that, I've got to try this one out.

Leigh Smith's picture

Nick Fancher is the current king of this stuff in my opinion. Check his stuff out!

Yes I've seen his video way before.. I like Nick work.

Michael Kormos's picture

Good morning Alex. Look forward to reading your morning, mid-morning, noon, afternoon, tea-time, and evening posts today :-)

Alex Cooke's picture

LOL. I'm actually shooting today! I'll be back tomorrow! :)

Ryan Cooper's picture

Ages ago I bought a horizontal blind on sale for like $10, anytime I need to do this sort of effect I just hang it from a boom and blast light through it. Far more control and freedom than the box method above would yield and not exactly expensive. ;)

Tomash Masojc's picture

I like those bargain tips :) thanks for it!

Rob Mynard's picture

This gives a really nice "Outsider looking towards the future" vibe to a headshot.