Photo lightbox, a tutorial

In case you didn't know, a "tutorial" is when I walk you though something crafty I've done and teach you how I did it with pictures and directions. I'm not sure if you remembered, since I can't even remember the last time I did one of those on here.

I've been wanting to make a lightbox forever. Actually, I was totally going to buy one, but then I looked at my business budget, cried a little bit, and dove into my recycle bin in search of a perfect box. Because really, all a lightbox is is a fabric wrapped box! So, you will need:

  • A large box. A pretty big one, I'd say at least 18" tall, it needs to fit whatever you want to be photographing.
  • A box cutter/razor
  • Sharpie/ruler
  • White spray paint
  • White poster paper
  • About 3 yards of plain white fabric (I just used the $1.99 white muslin from Joann, with a coupon!)
  • Packing tape, staples, glue...something to attach the fabric to the box.
  • Three lights with those fancy "natural light" light bulbs that give off white light
Nice big box. I bought David some speakers for his birthday so I just swiped the box. I bought it...so it's ok right?? Tear off those annoying flaps at the top, they aren't needed.

Don't leave your box for even a second! Cat magnets they are....Use the sharpie and ruler to draw rectangles on the front of the box and the two sides, two inches from each of the edges. Cut out the rectangles.

After you spray paint it white, it should look like this!

Cut that white poster paper to the same width of the box and gently lay it inside. The poster paper should be longer than the box, because it needs to be taped to the top of the box and the bottom front of the box with a nice curve, you don't want any folds in your paper at all.

Nicely curved! This ensures that there are no lines in your product pictures from corners or folds. Nice and clean.

Next, you'll need to add your fabric. The point of the fabric is to soften the light being shined into the box, so there are no harsh shadows. I taped the fabric over these three sides, and it's held up just fine. Staples would probably be your best bet though, I just didn't have that on hand.

Ta-dah!! You need to keep that front panel open so you can stick your camera in there, so don't cover that up. Your box is now finished...but how do you use it??

Shine your three lights in where the arrows are pointed. Since the light sources are coming from three different directions, it will create minimal shadows. Stick your camera on your tripod, put your product inside your box, turn on your lights, aaaaand....

Shoot! See how the shadows are really soft? It makes for great product shots. I've LOVED having this box, I used to wait for a nice cloudy day to take out my poster board and shoot my products, and now I can be be a lazy butt and shoot at night if I want! Best part? This box was totally free, I already had everything I needed on hand. Silly me...thinking I had to buy one. 


GNIST by Gitte Bettina Lauridsen said...

This is so smart!! And funny how cats love boxes. The new boxes are always the best...

Kara @ Mine for the Making said...

This is AWESOME!!! Cannot wait to make one. Thanks for the great tutorial Amie!

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