There's never enough light. At least that's how it seems whenever I try taking pictures of my flies. I decide to build a light box just for fly photography, and I set out to do it for around $10. I'm hopeful the following will prove useful if you're faced with a similar situation. I'm already considering improvements, though.
First, find a suitable cardboard box, some duct tape, white paper, white plastic grocery sacks, and lights. I picked up these little AA-powered headlamps at Harbor Freight for $4.99 each.
Using a utility knife, cut the flaps off the box and set aside:
Next, cut openings in the sides of your box. This is roughly what you're trying to achieve:
Cut to size and install the white paper to the remaining sides of the box.
Cut the grocery bags into squares slightly larger than the openings you cut in the box's sides. I settled on using three layers, as that gave the best combination of diffusion and penetration. Secure with a piece of duct tape across one edge, then install tightly across the openings in the box's sides.
Test your light source to see if you have good diffusion and plenty of brightness. I don't, but will be changing to a more powerful light later in the week. I couldn't find the lights I was looking for, so went with these as a temporary solution.
I'm affixing this box semi-permanently to a shelving unit in my closet, which will serve as a photo station for fly photography. I'll attach its top to the underside of the wire shelving using heavy pipe cleaners and notching the bottom so my vise merely slides into place when I'm ready for a pic.
Here it is set up and ready to use.
And here's one of a size 14 Stimulator taken inside my new light box. Please overlook the obvious need for a better camera and the insufficient light offered by the headlamps. Both issues will soon be addressed.
A little creativity can go a long way toward making better photographs of your flies and as you can see, it doesn't take much money or effort to construct a working light box.