How To Build A Lightbox For Photography

By | 25/01/2023

Ever wondered how people shoot those great product shots yous see in catalogues or online stores?

Professional person photographers commonly use a lite box to create an fifty-fifty illumination on the products.

The best options on the market tin toll hundreds to even thousands of dollars. So how exercise y’all brand a DIY low-cal box for photography if you lot don’t take plenty budget?

It’s quite easy. In this tutorial, we’ll show you three different means to build a DIY light box using re-purposed materials.

a person photographing a small product in a light box[Note: ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and purchase something, we make a little bit of money. Need more than info?

Run across how it all works hither

How to Make a DIY Low-cal Box with Available Lite

This DIY low-cal box will take about fifteen minutes of your fourth dimension. And yous only need a few materials yous probably already take around the house.

You volition need:

  • 1 Medium card box
  • 2 Sheets of blistering or wax paper
  • ii Sheets of aluminium foil
  • 1 White sheet of paper
  • Ruler, x-acto knife, glue

A cardboard box beside a stone wall for making diy lightbox phoography

Footstep 1

Start with your
paper-thin box. It doesn’t matter if you have a square or a rectangular box as long equally your products would fit inside it.

Now, see which side would work the best as the front of your light box.

If your box is square, then it wouldn’t matter which part you choose. But since mine is rectangular, I chose the longest sides because they’d let in more lite.

Overhead shot of a box, steel ruler and knife - tools you need to make a light box

Step 2

Now, cut that sides of the box in the middle with an x-acto pocketknife. It will aid if you use a ruler and a marking to draw out which parts you’d like to remove.

Make sure the cuts are precise and make clean. That way, your box would produce even lite from both sides. Not to mention, a clean box always looks more than highly-seasoned.

Overhead shot of an open cardboard box and other tools you need to make your own photography light box

Step 3

Exit two open up flaps that will piece of work as
barn doors
on the forepart side of the light box. You tin utilise them to control the low-cal that reaches the within of the box.

In a professional person environment, you can find barn doors in front of photographic camera lenses or lighting equipment. Each flap moves independently to help direct the light beams.

Overhead shot of a tools you need to make your own photography light box

Stride four

Measure the sides of the box. Then cut wax paper to match their size. Leave near an inch or two so yous accept infinite to tape or mucilage the wax paper onto the box.

Wax newspaper can exist delicate, so exist careful non to tear it while taping information technology onto the box. Even minor tears can potentially affect the quality of your lighting box photography.

Overhead shot of an open cardboard box and other tools you need to make a light box photography

Footstep 5

Cut rectangular holes on the sides of the box, leaving ane flap to the back of the box. Then glue the wax newspaper to the edges of the openings.

An overhead shot of a cutting mat, tin foil roll and Stanley knife - materials for how to make a lightbox for photography

Step vi

Measure the flaps on the back of the box and cut aluminium foil to match their size. These will act equally reflectors to help directly the light into the box.

Experience free to add white newspaper or aluminium foil to your front barn doors besides. These flaps will be especially useful if your location has plenty of uneven lighting.

A photoshoot setup containing a laptop, diy light box, dslr camera on tripod

Step 7

Identify a white sail of newspaper inside the box, which you’ll apply as the background. Etch your product and position the flaps of the box to reflect about of the natural light you might have in the room.

Now your light box is set, and you’re prepared to shoot.

It would exist all-time to place your box right side by side to a calorie-free source. For even lighting, you lot can also consider shooting exterior in direct sunlight. Simply make sure that the sun is not straight shining in forepart of the product.

Instead, let your light box filter the low-cal and adjust the barn doors to create even illumination.

A close up of a film camera on white background - how to make a light box photography

I shot this epitome at f/22, half a 2nd shutter speed, and 400 ISO.

See the fifty-fifty lighting and color temperature? Not bad at all for a homemade light box, right?

How to Make a Compact LED DIY Low-cal Box

The box we made earlier is perfect for shooting in natural light. But you can’t always look for the sun to smoothen when it comes to lightbox photography.

What if you need to shoot at night? Don’t worry, considering our next project involves a light box with LED lights!

This method requires more fourth dimension and free energy, merely it will be worth it. Particularly since using LED lighting creates controllable exposure and colour temperature.

Yous volition need:

  • one 3mm Perspex sheet
  • 1 5V LED bar
  • 2 Small Velcro strips
  • X-acto pocketknife

a diagram of assembling a cardboard box for making a diy lightbox for photography

Stride 1

Cut this shape on a white 3mm Perspex sheet. The dotted lines are folding marks and non cuts. The size of your DIY light box volition be as big as the calibration of your template.

As a reference, you lot can apply the center square to summate the size of one of the sides of the lite box.

You lot could also use white paper-thin instead of Perspex. But it won’t be as durable or resistant to the elements.

A photoshoot setup containing a camera in a diy light box

Step two

Now fold your box, overlapping the triangle-shaped flaps. Go on them in place with adhesive tape or Velcro strips. With the latter, yous’ll be able to collapse information technology for transportation and reassemble once more easily.

Next, glue the 5V LED strip to the small flap on the summit front of the box. If y’all have more of those lights to spare, consider adding more to embrace all sides. Doing so guarantees that y’all take even illumination.

These lights are pretty inexpensive. They even come with a micro USB connection that you tin plug to a portable power bank. You can do this with a unproblematic cable, making this the ultimate “on the go” DIY low-cal box.

A diy photoshoot setup containing a laptop, diy light box, dslr camera on tripod

Step 3

At present, just use a white sheet of paper as a background. Set up your product, and you are prepare to shoot your image.

A close up of a film camera on white background - diy light tents tutorial

I shot this image at f/22, 1/iv of 2d shutter speed, and 400 ISO.

Direct out of the camera, it has good overall exposure. On a comparative note, however, the light is not as natural looking equally in the previous paradigm.

The colour temperature is probably a petty off, as well, due to the blueish colour bandage of the LED. But you can easily correct that with a more than precise in-camera white balance or in post-production.

Just if you want to get everything perfectly in ane go, consider buying daylight-balanced LED strips. They’re a bit more expensive, but at least they produce more natural results.

How to Make a White Box Flash Diffuser

If the LED light box seems as well complicated, at that place is nonetheless one final project y’all can attempt. It’due south effortless. Yous won’t fifty-fifty need to have DIY skills.

Sure, this project involves materials you get from habitation. But the overall process, which y’all’ll see in a second, is mostly the standard amid many production photographers.

And then how do you brand a big low-cal box? Y’all don’t have to at all, and I’ll show you in a second.

Yous will demand:

  • i Plastic translucent white storage box
  • ane Canvass of white newspaper
  • two Speedlights
  • 1 Speedlight transmitter

A diy photoshoot setup containing a camera in a White Box Flash Diffuser

Step 1

Set your storage box on its side with the opening facing to the front. Identify a white sail of paper inside as your groundwork.

At present accommodate your product. Test your speedlights’ exposure and positioning to the field of study.

A diy photoshoot setup containing a laptop, diy White Box Flash Diffuser, dslr camera on tripod

Step 2

Synchronize the transmitter with the speedlights and the camera.

At present yous are ready to shoot.

A close up of a film camera on white background - how to make a light box tutorial

I photographed this image at f/22, 1/60 of a 2nd shutter speed, and 200 ISO.

Looking at the result, I think it’s a pretty fantastic image straight out of the camera. The overall calorie-free is well diffused and placed on the right spots. The groundwork appears lit and shadowless. And that is a huge plus if yous need to isolate images in mail. Information technology saves you hours of work, creating cut-outs in post-production.

The white balance seems to be spot on likewise. I used the flash preset in the camera color temperature options.

The metallic reflections are as well great without glare or specular lite hot spots. This blazon of lighting is sometimes difficult to accomplish with this type of material.

Instead of a storage box, most photographers apply a real light box. But most of them fix their flashes exactly the way you would with this homemade setup. The main reason is that strobes produce powerful and consistent light, which you need when shooting hundreds of images.

It’s worth noting that some photographers also tend to add an overhead light for even illumination. Simply for the most role, two strobes placed on the sides of the box work perfectly well.


There are all sorts of uses of the lightbox in photography. Autonomously from shooting products, it’due south too an fantabulous tool for taking still life photos.

So consider building a calorie-free box if you desire professional-looking results on a budget. Remember that the virtually important matter is the image, non the tools you used to get information technology.

With a little ingenuity, you lot tin make it. Even if you lot have all the money in the earth or you normally stay away from DIY photography solutions, yous may decide to create your tools to go the results you want.

Want to learn more than about useful techniques that volition help you take your photography to the next level? Why non cheque out our course

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Originally posted 2022-02-13 04:53:21.