Tips for a Simple DIY Photography Light Box

“Talent is natural skill acquired. With enough motivation it’s possible for an untalented person to surpass a talented person in skill.” These are the wise words of my best friend. In this case, we were talking about photography. (She is a professional.) Bloggers wear many hats, and (after the actual writing) photography is nearly the biggest part of our job. I’ve been looking into ways I can take better photos for my blog, and first on my list was to build a photography light box. 

 DIY Simple Photography Light Box-

I was really surprised at how easily a photography light box can be made. Depending on what materials you chose or already have on hand, it’s fairly inexpensive to build. I spent about $13 on the materials for the box itself. (More on that in a moment.) The basic supplies needed:

  • Cardboard box
  • Craft knife
  • White tissue paper or fabric
  • Heavy duty tape
  • Posterboard
  • Light source 

I found a few helpful blogs on Pinterest, and my favorite came from Anne on Flax & Twine. She is not new to making or using photography light boxes, and while I generally do my own tutorials, hers is concise and well done, so I’m going to link you to her post DIY Photo Light Box, where she will walk you through the steps to build your own simple photography light box.

A few things to consider before you build your photography light box:

  • Size: I bought a 16×16 inch box, and that size is good, especially for vertical photos, but I felt restricted photographing larger, wider items. For single objects, it’s great. You can go smaller or small items like jewelry, and bigger to use for dinner-plate sized dishes. 
  • Materials: Most tutorials for simple photography lightboxes use tissue paper. It is certainly the cheaper option, but I went with fabric because tissue paper wouldn’t last a day in my house. I wish I would have used glue- the duct tape would not stick to the box. (Who would have thought?) You can also vary up the type of background you use, as Ashley on (never)homemaker did with her light box
  • Stability: Since you are cutting out a good percentage of the box, it quickly loses its stability. While this really isn’t a huge issue (it’s a box, sitting on a table), you could spend a little more to go a different route. Katelyn on Ninth & Bird had my second favorite tutorial, and she created a small but rather sturdy photography light box using tri-fold project display board and glue. I plan on eventually making a bigger, permanent box out of wood, but obviously that’s more complicated and will cost more than a simple box. 
  • Light. “Photography is light.” Something else my best friend is constantly telling me. So, while this sounds redundant to say, light is key when making any photography light box. Now, some tutorials indicate that you can just use a regular desk lamp. Hate to break it to you… But, no. They are correct that you have to use a natural or daylight light bulb, as any other type of bulb you pick up will give your photos a darker, yellow hue. I spent $18 on a utility lamp and a special 150 watt bulb. (I think I could have found cheaper bulbs, but I was shopping with the boys and wanted to get out of the aisle before the broke something.) One works okay, but since photography is light, you want was much of it as possible. Angela from Oh She Glows shows off her simple three-light setup for her photography light box, as well as a peek into her editing process. 

The great thing about photography is that you can play with it. Start small, feel out what works for you, and build on it. While a simple photography light box may not look like much, it can still do wonders for your photos, and bring them up to a whole new level! 

What kinds of photos will you take with your new light box?

DIY Simple Photography Light Box-  

DIY Simple Photography Light Box-


DIY Simple Photography Light Box-

9 thoughts on “Tips for a Simple DIY Photography Light Box

  1. Great pictures and great tips! It is funny I am a professional photograph, specialize in families and newborns, but I am one of the worst product photographers. I just don’t have the patience to set it up… have the patience to deal with a screaming two-year-old but not set up non-moving objects šŸ˜‰
    Emmy recently posted…Perfect Mother’s Day Gifts From the Heart

    • That is funny! I’m pretty impatient with setting up, too, especially since we are so limited on space. I’m hoping one day I can set up a little studio in my basement so I don’t have to drag everything out over and over.

  2. Daffny, this is exactly what I need! I am having issues with catching the light with reflecting it, I need to buckle down and do this, perfect timing, I am pinning this so I can work on it soon! Thanks. xo
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton recently posted…Pinterest Recipe Review-3 Ingredient Crock Pot Dessert

    • I’m glad you found this so helpful! I had several issues trying to get this post up, and I almost put it off. I’m happy I didn’t, now. šŸ™‚ I took these photos with the one overhead light, so I’m sure it will be much better and easier once I set up all three.

  3. Thank you for linking up with us at the Best of the Blogosphere! I’m featuring your post as my favorite last week! I love that you shared simple diy tips on how to build a light box and improve blog photography! We’d love to see you back again this week!
    Amber recently posted…Beauty Box 5 March & April

    • I’m glad this post was so helpful to you. A bonus tip: If you have an iPhone, you can actually take really great photos and edit them right there. Saves some time if you’re in a pinch!
      Thank you for featuring me as your favorite!

  4. This is something I haven’t tried yet. Great tutorial and tips! Thanks for stopping by my blog, too. šŸ™‚
    Heaven recently posted…Sacred Sabbath: The Power of a Righteous Mentor

    • Thank you! I hope it can be helpful to you. I know I’ve used it for several projects this week and it’s been a lot of fun.

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