DIY Light Box for Product Pictures

Want to take better product or macro pictures? Using a light box will help diffuse harsh/direct light, and it will also create a seamless and edgeless background like professional product photos. You can buy a light box but they are extremely expensive. If you're a photo hobbyist or if you're just starting photography I would recommend you make one instead of buying professional equipment. I made this one for under $ 5

Some sample pictures (unedited).

The photos in my Review - Prestige My Biggest Lashes Mascara post were all taken using this light box. I'm having a great time shooting photos. I just finished taking pictures of my mascara collection. I am a hoarder of cosmetics even old eye infecting ones I can't use any more but I've created a page to document and keep track of all them so now they can finally be tossed. I use Gimp to white balance and edit where needed.

I'm already working on my next light box project using foam boards or PVC pipes. I would like to have one that I can collapse and store away.

For those interested in instructions on how I created this light box (picture heavy) please continue reading.

DIY Light box for Product Photography.

Large cardboard box
White tissue paper
Solid color bristiol board (White to start)

Exacto Knife

You will also need 1-3 spotlight/light sources. Clamp lights, worker lights, or desk lamps will work fine.


Step 1 - Tape up the underside of the box and lay your box down on its side.

Step 2 - Creating the frames. Using the ruler width (slightly larger than an inch) as a guide trace out the frame by aligning the long side of your ruler to the edge of each side of the box. Do this for 3 of the sides.

Step 3 - Using your cutting tool, cut out the frames you traced out. You should have 3 frames and one side still intact. The intact side is the bottom of your light box.

Step 4 - Cut off the extra cardboard connected to the left, top, and right, side of your light box.

Step 5 - Cover your frames with tissue paper. If the tissue paper has a shiny side, apply it so that the matte side is facing the inside of your box. You will need to do 2 layers of tissue paper to provide adequate light diffusion. Tape it, glue it, just make sure that it's as smooth as possible. Any seam or crack can cause shadows.

Step 6 - Create the background. Measure and cut your bristol board to fit in your light box. you want to stick it to the back of your light box on the inside. Be careful not to crease your board. Creases will show up in your pictures. If there is a shiny side to your bristol board make sure to attach it matte side up. It's the curve of the board that will give you that infinite white background you see in professional product photography.

Step 7 - Your light box is done. Set up your work station with lights and you're ready to start taking pictures. Try using different 2 light sources coming in on both sides, or try using a large flood lamp on top. just play around until you get the best lighting.

You can also customize your backgrounds, use different colors and textures. Your background should be large enough to come out of your light box a bit (mine is a bit short) because i notice sometimes I have to position my objects further back.

If you also created your own light box or set up for macro photography please leave a link. I would love to see your set up!


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