Building a Homemade Photo Light Box
This week I am going to show you how to build a light box. This was extremely frugal for me considering I already had most of the needed items on hand. If you don’t, I’ll show you some thrifty ways to get them. Even if you have to buy some of these items it’s far less expensive than purchasing a light box for $100 or more. See frugal tips for building the photo box at the end of this tutorial.
How to Build a Photo Light Box
You will need
cardboard box (like a medium moving/packing box)
4 sheets white tissue paper
white craft glue or sturdy shipping tape
box cutter or craft knife
white poster board or a white sheet
2 desk lamps with bendable necks (must hold standard size light bulbs)
2 energy saving DAYLIGHT bulbs, 60 or 75 watt
What You Do
If you are able to find a white box, use that. If not, a regular brown cardboard box will work as well. I happened to have a stack of white cardboard boxes in my garage. If using a white box you will want the white to be on the inside. Cut the box open by finding the seam that connects the box together and open it there. Turn the box inside out and seal it back up with shipping tape.
Now you will need to cut windows in your box. You will need two windows, one on each side. If you are using a regular brown box, cut a window on the top of the box as well. Now cover those windows with white tissue paper. I used white craft glue to attach the tissue paper, then I used the scraps from the windows I had cut out to reinforce the edges. I simply cut strips from the scrap cardboard and glued them over the edges of the tissue paper. Why do you need 3 windows in a brown cardboard box? because of the dark ceiling, you want light to flow in. The white box doesn’t need that, the light will reflect of the ceiling.
Next you’ll need to insert a piece of white poster board or even a white sheet, inside the box. This will provide an even back drop and will also cover any seam at the back of your light box. Mine has poster board, but I will be switching to a sheet.
Last step is to position your lamps next to your box (I have one on either side) so that you get the lighting that you want. You want the lamps with the bendable necks so that you can move the position of the light easily. Be sure to use the DAYLIGHT bulbs, they give off a white light. Soft white bulbs have a yellow tint and that’s what will get all your photos rejected on the food photo sites.
Now I can’t tell you how to take pictures, I’m not a professional photographer. However, I can tell you to either find your camera’s manual or look it up online and spend 15 minutes reading about the different settings. I can’t believe the difference a few little changes made in my photos after reading the instructions! ;)
This light box is portable, however I highly recommend keeping it somewhere where it can remain stationary. If you tear your tissue paper, just replace it, no biggie.
|These three photos show the difference the light box makes. My favorite is still afternoon natural daylight, but the light box helps tremendously!
Kitchen lighting, no flash
In light box
Money Saving Tips:
Getting a box – Ask friends, family and if there’s a local factory in your area
Tissue paper – Walmart or dollar stores are the best place. If you are a thrifty parent, you already have some tissue paper you saved from one of your child’s last birthday gifts ;)
Desk lamps – thrift stores, garage sales or even craigslist have these cheap. You can get brand new ones that will do the job or around $11 at Walmart!
Light bulbs – This is probably the biggest initial investment in this project. I believe I paid around $8 for a package of these bulbs, but they last forever. Make sure you get the bulbs that say DAYLIGHT!
Total cost for my light box:
Box in my garage – $0.00
Lamps – had one, bought the other – $11.00
Bulbs – $8.00
Tape & glue I had on hand – $0.00
Tissue paper I already had – $0.00
poster board I had on hand – $0.00
Total cost for mine $19.00
Here are some other ways to build your own light box: