How To Make A Light Box For Photography

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Whether you lot’re taking pictures of something you want to sell online, or y’all just want to exercise your photography, proper lighting is primal to getting the perfect shot. You could go out and invest in an expensive lighting set up or try and work with natural daylight, only null will be quite as easy to acquire and use as a bootleg photography lightbox. Past adding some diffusing panels to a cardboard box and wielding some cheap lamps properly, you can make a lightbox that’ll give you great shots within an afternoon.

  1. 1

    Choose a cardboard box large enough for the object you want to photo.
    Try and find the biggest box that you tin can, as this volition let you take pictures of near annihilation yous’d demand to photograph. Ask at local shops, find a box yous’re no longer using, or look at purchasing 1 from a storage company to get the perfect cardboard box.[1]

    • If you lot desire a lightbox that lasts longer, yous can use a box made of a more sturdy material. A large wooden box or one fabricated of an opaque plastic would also piece of work. However, you’ll likely need something stronger than a box cutter, such as a saw, to cutting the lighting panels in the side.
  2. ii

    Tape upward the flaps on one side.
    Turn your paper-thin box over and fold the flaps down to create a flat bottom. Utilize packing tape, duct tape, or something similar to agree the flaps in place and continue the box steady. Tape downward the flaps on the inside of the box too, to keep them out of your way while yous work.[2]

    • Some boxes will come with ane side already held together with cardboard tabs. While this should keep the box steady every bit you work, it might pay to tape the edges of the box together also for extra stability.


  3. 3

    Measure out windows on either side of your box.
    Place your box on its side, so that the open flaps are facing you. Use a ruler to mark a point roughly 2 inches (5.i cm) from each border on ane side of the box. Draw a straight line with a pencil along the edges of the box to connect these points, creating a rectangle with infinite effectually the edges. Repeat on the opposite side.[3]

    • This will be the size of the window that you will cover with a piece of material, parchment paper, or tissue. If you lot accept a particularly big box, you might want to make the window smaller to ensure that yous can yet cover information technology with 1 piece the fabric or paper.
    • Yous can also trace a window on the top of your box as well, which volition allow you to light the item y’all’re taking a movie of from above.
  4. iv

    Cutting out the windows in your box.
    Use a box cutter or a sharp scissors to cutting along the lines y’all have marked. Go around each line until you can remove a slice of cardboard in the center, leaving you lot with a pocket-size window. Repeat on the other side to make some other window.[four]

    • To keep the lines extra straight, hold a ruler confronting the pencil lines and cut along them. This won’t bear upon the functionality of the box but will get in expect ameliorate.
  5. 5

    Trim a piece of white poster board to be the aforementioned width every bit your box.
    Identify a piece of white poster board or a thick piece of white paper over the meridian of the box. Use your scissors or box cutter to trim away any edges, and so that it will be able to fit on the inside of your box. The poster board should be the same width as the box, and around twice as long as the top side.[5]


    • White affiche lath works excellently for this, as it will be smooth and will not easily crease within the box. It should exist available at your local craft store for a low toll. If yous can’t find information technology, any large slice of sturdy white paper or card with a matte end should work just as well.
    • White affiche board will requite you lot an easy “infinity” expect equally if the particular you lot are photographing is sitting in an empty space. Try using different colors to get dissimilar cool furnishings.
    • The most important part of the textile that you cull is that it has a matte surface. Annihilation that is as well shiny will reverberate the light and ruin the purpose of a lightbox.
  6. six

    Tape the posterboard to the tiptop inside border of the lightbox.
    Attach a long piece of duct or packing tape to the acme edge of your poster board. Being conscientious non the allow the tape touch annihilation else, press it onto the inside of your cardboard box as close to the top of the back side equally possible. Apply another piece of record to hold the other stop of the posterboard to the lesser of the box.[7]

    • Avoid folding or creasing the poster board as much as possible. Try and make it bend so that you accept a slight curve forth the back bottom corner.
    • Don’t worry about covering the entire box, as long as y’all take a wide plenty section that you lot can accept a moving picture without seeing whatsoever of the exposed cardboard.
  7. seven

    Cutting out two pieces of white fabric or tissue newspaper to cover the windows.
    This will work to lengthened the calorie-free that shines into the lightbox, giving the whole picture fifty-fifty lighting. Cutting out some pieces of white material, tissue paper, or something like to be around one inch (2.5 cm) bigger on each side than the windows you accept cut.[8]

    • To make this easier, you can use the piece of cardboard yous cut from the box when making the windows as a guide. Place information technology on the material or tissue paper and cut around it, leaving infinite on each side to attach information technology to the box.
    • A polish white textile, tissue paper, parchment newspaper or anything similar will work for this. The material you choose just needs to be non-reflective, and let some but not all of the light through it.
  8. viii

    Tape or gum the fabric or tissue paper in place.
    Starting with the top edge of your chosen material, utilise a piece of tape or some hot gum to secure it over 1 of the windows. Let it drape down over the window and secure the other sides with more tape or gum. Repeat for all of the windows you take cut until all of them are covered.[9]


  1. 1

    Put the item you desire to photograph in the middle of your lightbox.
    Place your finished lightbox on a large flat surface, leaving space to position lights on either side. Position the detail you demand to photograph in the center of the white surface in your lightbox.[ten]


    • Use the viewfinder or screen on your photographic camera to help position the item in the lightbox. Shift the photographic camera and the detail around until y’all can go a make clean shot without any exposed cardboard showing.
    • If you can’t get the particular or your camera positioned but right, you can always crop the photo to remove annihilation you don’t desire to be seen. You shouldn’t need to practise whatever other photo editing, but a unproblematic ingather tin can save y’all a lot of conscientious repositioning.
  2. 2

    Fix a lamp on either side of the lightbox.
    Lamps that provide directional lighting, rather than ambient lighting, will piece of work best with your lightbox. Notice as many desk-bound lamps or other directional lights as you have windows on the lightbox. Position the lamps so that they are facing directly into the windows yous have cut, and switch them on.[12]

    • Keep your lights at least 5 inches (13 cm) away from the windows at all time, to forbid the fabric covering them from getting too hot.
    • Your lights should be an even distance from the lightbox when you showtime turn them on. Try moving unlike ones further away or closer to the windows to create some more than interesting lighting effects inside.
    • Utilise light bulbs with a cool white light for the all-time results, every bit other types may give your images a xanthous tinge.
    • You should be able to find cheap desk-bound lamps or lamps that tin clip onto furniture for a few dollars online or at your local homeware or office stationery store.
    • If you don’t take a good lamp, experience costless to utilise a northern-facing window (for indirect light) and betoken the lightbox at the window to let the lite bounce off the white paper.[13]
  3. 3

    Play with the
    settings on your camera.

    It’s non often that you’ll be taking pictures of something so evenly and brightly lit, so your first pictures might end upwardly being too bright or entirely the wrong color! Change the shutter speed, ISO, and white rest settings on your camera until your photos look normal.[14]

    • If yous’re using a smartphone camera, or a photographic camera with an automatic manner, you lot shouldn’t demand to touch the settings at all.
    • Photos that look too xanthous or blue are ordinarily a sign that your white balance settings aren’t right. If your photos are too nighttime or also vivid, try adjusting the exposure by irresolute the ISO, shutter speed, or discontinuity. Keep on trying until you get a perfect photo!
  4. 4

    Take the picture.
    In one case you’ve got your item lined up and your photographic camera settings perfect, it’s time to take the picture. Movement the camera effectually and then that in that location’due south naught other than the white background in the shot, concord it steady, and snap a few pictures![fifteen]

    • Use the flaps of cardboard that are left open up to block whatsoever light shining from the lamps straight into the camera. Any calorie-free that’due south non going through the windows might create a lens flare and reduce the effect of a photography lightbox.


Add together New Question

  • Question

    Will white cotton piece of work as well? How transparent should the cloth be?

    Community Answer

    Yes, this will work as long equally information technology is not a heavy thread count. Hold it up to the light to see if information technology is vivid white. Things that practise not work include: Cheesecloth, taffeta, upholstery fabric and burlap. White silk is a good textile to use.

  • Question

    Are special light bulbs needed? Don’t want it to expect yellow!

    Community Answer

    Just utilise white light bulbs.

  • Question

    Can I exercise it with white paper?

    Community Answer


  • Question

    Tin can parchment newspaper be used instead of cotton fiber?

    Community Answer


  • Question

    Where tin can I buy white and black matte poster board from?

    Community Answer

    Target or Walmart probably has information technology in the arts and crafts section, or you could get to a arts and crafts store like Joann’due south, Michael’s, etc.

  • Question

    My pictures are coming out yellow when I turn the lights on. I am using white bulbs in desk lamps on each side. The pictures await ameliorate without the lights on. Why?

    Joseph Hendren

    Joseph Hendren

    Community Answer

    This is likely due to the white rest settings on your camera not beingness adjusted to the light coming from your white bulbs. Plow the lamps on and adjust the settings in the camera until your photos wait the way you want them to.

  • Question

    What wattage of seedling do I use?

    Community Answer

    Merely try whatsoever you have — perhaps endeavour fifty-fifty your telephone’southward built-in flash light if you have a split up photographic camera to accept the picture.

  • Question

    I exercise not have white affiche paper. Is there any other kind of paper I can employ?

    Community Answer

    The reason for the poster board is that information technology is more hard to pucker. You could apply big printer paper, as long as it’s a bright white, but you might find it doesn’t work as well every bit the poster board will, because it develops folds that volition show up in your photographs. You can find affiche board at Target or Michael’s Crafts as well.

  • Question

    Can I employ baking paper instead of tissue paper?

    Joseph Hendren

    Joseph Hendren

    Community Answer

    Baking newspaper is just some other proper name for parchment paper, so it should work excellently for this project. Annihilation that lets calorie-free through while diffusing it should work.

  • Question

    I’ve read about light boxes and a lot of sites use tissue paper. Which is better, paper or material?


    Both work, but paper may be easier to come by.

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  • Make sure to use matte and not glossy poster board. Sleeky affiche board can reflect the light and cause glare.

  • Effort other colors of poster board and even cloth to achieve the desired effect.

  • Wear long sleeves in a unmarried color when taking photos to prevent your artillery or the photographic camera from showing up in the reflection of the item yous’re photographing.


  • Make certain lights don’t start a burn down!

  • Be careful when working with a box cutter. Ever cutting away from yourself and from your hands.


Things You’ll Need

  • Cardboard box
  • White fabric, tissue, or parchment paper
  • Matte white poster board
  • Record
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Box cutter or pair of scissors
  • Desk lamps or other directional lights
  • Camera or smartphone

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Commodity Summary

To create an inexpensive photography lightbox, start by getting a cardboard box that’s big enough to hold the object you want to photograph. Then, tape the flaps at the top down so they’re non in your way. Side by side, plow the box on its side and trace and cutting a rectangular window out of one of the sides, repeating on the opposite side when you’re finished. Once you’ve done that, trim a slice of white posterboard to be the same width equally the box and and then tape information technology to the top inside edge of the light box. Finally, cut out 2 pieces of white fabric or tissue paper and use them to encompass the windows you cutting out.
To learn how to utilise your photography lightbox, scroll downward!

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