The Black Box

The Black Box

9' x 9' x 9' = 723 cubic feet of negative bounce.

Imagine having light ONLY in the places you want, with the flexibility to shoot into a corner, light from directly above, or build a set.


The black box started as an experiment in my basement long before the studio opened. In a 10'x 10'x 7' (height), I unrolled black seamless paper and painted the walls and floors a flat black. The ceiling gave too much bounce so the idea lay dormant for a few more years.

In October of 2014, there were no more people occupying the studio space for the first time. This exodus brought one thing back to the studio that it had been missing so badly: space. With the office and living room furniture gone, the front room of the studio housed rotating sets and wardrobe. Eventually, the idea of the black box resurfaced. The corner was perfect. Wide enough, deep enough, and if 14' isn't tall enough for you, well; tough luck! haha.

Now, there is enough light absorbtion to get minimal bounce inside the black box. Grids, and lower powered lights will help. Shooting at low ISOs will help crush the blacks and underexpose anything that your light doesn't touch.


Many adore the gridded beauty dish, or even a large octabox directly overhead. Some enjoy a stripbox, inches from the subject, positioned just to the left or right. Some of our community members can get REALLY creative and used some heavily modified speedlights, off camera, producing a candlelight efffect in order recreate a 16th-century painting. No joke!

Insert credit: Dave Myles Photography

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Post by Atomic Joshua

Photographer + Filmmaker turned studio owner.