≡ Menu

DIY Photography Lightbox Tutorial

DIY Photography Lightbox Tutorial | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Unofficially, this post is called “Lightbox Version 2.0.” I made my first lightbox in the summer of 2010. Before I get to the tutorial, let’s take a moment to remember the first lightbox. It was a huge turning point in my photography, and it got me through dozens upon dozens of product photography shoots as well as numerous other small setups for blog posts and articles.

Here it is right after I first got it up and running, back in our condo in Iowa.

First DIY Lightbox in Action | http://www.roseclearfield.com

You can see a few other pictures of it in its better days here and here. Unfortunately, six years, thousands of photos, and two moves later, it doesn’t quite look that anymore.

Hobbes in the Old Lightbox | http://www.roseclearfield.com

No, I didn’t make Hobbes pose for me. Lately, he hangs out in there often while I’m working in my office. I may keep it for him elsewhere in the house, but I suspect he’s going to prefer the new one now.

I have been limping along with this lightbox for months now, making repairs as needed. I finally reached the point that it was beyond repair, which meant it was time, at last, for a new one. And I’m sharing the tutorial for it with you.

The box:

  • 1 large cardboard box. Mine measures 15.5″ W x 8″ D x 12″ H.
  • 1 white fabric fat quarter.
  • 1 piece of white poster board.

The lights:

For the new lightbox setup, I’m using two sets of lights. The first set of lights is a pair of Target desk lamps with a 60W capacity each with these bulbs. The second set of lights is a pair of DIY Lowel EGO Lights. My original inspiration for the Lowel lights came from this post, and I used this tutorial to make the lights. It’s really important you purchase daylight bulbs, NOT incandescent bulbs, for your light fixtures.

Other supplies:

You’ll also need regular scissors, fabric scissors, an X-ACTO knife, masking tape, a pencil, and a ruler.

Take your cardboard box.

DIY Photography Lightbox Tutorial | http://www.roseclearfield.com

 

Cut off the flaps.

DIY Photography Lightbox Tutorial | http://www.roseclearfield.com

 

Draw your cutouts for the white fabric on the two sides and the top of the box, leaving approximately 1″ of cardboard on every side. All measurements for this tutorial do not need to be exact.

DIY Photography Lightbox Tutorial | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Use the X-ACTO knife to cut out the rectangles.

DIY Photography Lightbox Tutorial | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Cut the white fabric to fit the openings in the cardboard box. The fat quarter should be just enough for the three open sections. Use the masking tape to secure the fabric.

DIY Photography Lightbox Tutorial | http://www.roseclearfield.com

 

 

DIY Photography Lightbox Tutorial | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Measure and cut the white poster board to fit the inside of the box. It should curve slightly in the back of the box. Allow several inches to hang out of the box so you have ample space for your shoots. Secure the poster board with masking tape.

DIY Photography Lightbox Tutorial | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Measure and cut the remaining white poster board to cover the still showing interior cardboard. Secure the poster board with masking tape.

DIY Photography Lightbox Tutorial | http://www.roseclearfield.com

DIY Photography Lightbox Tutorial | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Set up your new lightbox with your lights. For many years, I only used the desk lamps.

DIY Photography Lightbox Tutorial | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Now I use both the desk lamps and the DIY Lowel EGO Lights. The increased watt power allows for much lower ISO settings. The multiple lighting angles greatly minimize the shadows.

Making your own lightbox is a simple, affordable way to take your product shots and other small item setups to the next level. Clik through for the full tutorial. | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Here are a couple sample shots with the current lighting setup. I took both of these shots with this lens. The specs for both images are ISO 200, f/3.2, 1/80.

Canon 100mm, ISO 200, f/3.2, 1/80, photographed in a DIY light box. Click through to get the details to make your own light box! | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Canon 100mm, ISO 200, f/3.2, 1/80, photographed in a DIY light box. Click through to get the details to make your own light box! | http://www.roseclearfield.com

I also have the flexibility to move the lightbox and use this lighting setup for larger shoots, such as a recipe tutorial. I hope to share more details about these types of shoots in the future.

Finally, not surprisingly, I had a little helper every step of the way. He’s lucky he’s so cute.

Orange Cat Lightbox Helper | http://www.roseclearfield.com

If you use this tutorial to make your own lightbox, tag it #RoseClearfield on Twitter or Instagram, send me a snap on Snapchat (randomcreative), or post a photo to my Facebook page, and I’ll check it out! Thanks!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Judy Nolan October 24, 2016, 5:35 pm

    Great tutorial! Like you, I made my own light box, and it has made a huge difference.

  • Natasha October 25, 2016, 11:52 am

    I love all the lights! I haven’t used our 100mm for product photography because my things tend to be too big, but I like the idea for if I ever make something small again!

  • D. Renée Wilson October 26, 2016, 5:14 pm

    Great tutorial! I keep telling myself to make a light box but I never get around to it. Your product photography looks great!

  • Splendid Little Stars October 30, 2016, 10:32 am

    great tutorial, Rose! I should try a light box when photographing light blue scrunchies. It’s very difficult to get the color and definition right.

  • Cassie Smallwood March 30, 2017, 7:49 am

    I’m so excited to make one! My pics for my blog have been horrendous. I think this will help with my lighting issues. Thanks for sharing!

    • Rose March 30, 2017, 9:27 am

      I’m so glad to hear it! Let me know if you end up making one.

Leave a Comment