DIY Lightbox

DIY Lightbox

My latest DIY project was inspired by this post on Shutterboo.  I took one look at her homemade lightbox and knew I had to have one.  Sure, I could go online and spend upwards of a hundred bucks or so to have an “real” lightbox but thank you  recession, our disposable income is no longer quite so disposable.  A cardboard box and tissue paper I already had.  Goodbye counter top glare in my food photos, hello macros.

In case you now have lightbox envy, Shutterboo’s post is a perfect guide.  All you need is 30 minutes (or less), a box, utility knife, ruler, tissue paper, poster board, and tape.  For real.  Oh, and some lights.  I didn’t have any small lights that I could “borrow” from other rooms.  So I spent $12 on two small, adjustable lamps at Target.

I like the results.  But I may need to get a third lamp that I can shine down into the top of my rig.  Or maybe I just need to try stronger bulbs to keep from getting dark shadows towards the front of the box.

For other examples of homemade lightboxes, Google “light box photography”.

10 thoughts on “DIY Lightbox

  1. OMG! how easy does it get????? I actually DID photograph my pork loin but got part of the stove and so thought it unworthy to print. This removes the unworthiness!

    1. Emily, it is easy and I love it. But it does have some drawbacks. Like where to store the lights and box when they’re not in use. Or making sure there is clean counter space to set it up. And setting it up and breaking it down.

      In a perfect world, I would have a space where my rig would permanently live, ready to shoot.

  2. I love that you were able to make one for your food shots! I haven’t been able to play with mine much since I broke one of my lamps. Boo. But if you ever need to store the box, you can untape the back panel and let the box fold up. Should fit in a closet and not damage the translucent paper. Good luck!

    1. I definitely had to come up with some creative storage options. The lamps live in the coat closet and the box is neatly folded down and tucked away in the dining room.

    1. All the credit goes to Shutterboo for her post. I would have never come up with such an elegantly simple solution.

  3. I was wondering about the incandescent light. It has a yellow cast. I was wondering if the tissue paper would be enough to filter it out so that the pictures do not look yellowish.

    So I did a little digging on Al gore’s iinternet. Someone else had the same idea. He called his box a light TENT.

    His solution to the cast problem was to go to the store and purchase bulbs marked DAYLIGHT. ( he says Home Depot has them)

    Works for me! JUST A THOUGHT. it may not interfere at all. If you notice a decidedly jaundiced look to the phot, here is a solution


    1. I’m currently using 60 watt Soft Light bulbs and always fiddle with the White Balance settings on the camera to get the coloring I like best. Tissue paper does a good job diffusing the light. I think I might have too many layers on my rig right now. This weekend I’m going to peel some off and see if things get brighter. It also doesn’t help that I shoot on a black background. It totally sucks up the light.

      What would we do if Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet?

      Next time I’m in the Depot, I’ll have to check out the daylight bulbs.

  4. Nice!
    I totally need to build one of these…my cave-like row house
    has very problematic lighting for my food shots.
    And, Happy Anniversary, too!

    1. The rig is very handy. I just need to find the right (stronger?) bulbs because mine is still dark.

      We had a nice ann’y, thanks.

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