If you’re a small, independent business on a shoestring budget, here is a simple lightbox setup that will help improve your product photos.

What is a light box?

A light box is simply a box with translucent sides and top that allows light to be softened/diffused before it hits your product. Unlike you’re camera’s flash, softer light reduces harsh shadows or unwanted reflections – it’s a soft, even lighting that will highlight your product beautifully. Add in a simple white background and that’s all most tabletop products need to be photographed.

What you need to make one?

The simplest light box to make consists of a cardboard box, something to diffuse the light (2-3 sheets of white diffuser paper works best), a couple of lamps, and a piece of white poster board for the background. If you already have the clip lamps, all you’re really need to buy is the poster board and paper. Simple, affordable, and effective!

Making a DIY lightbox

How to make it?

Cut off a large square on the two sides and the top of the cardboard box and stick the translucent paper to it as shown in the image above. Then attach the background and turn on the lights. You are ready to shoot!

Diffusion options

There is specific paper or fabric that you can buy for photography but any similar paper like baking/parchment sheets will work too.

Lighting

For product photography, we recommend white lights like these that you can find on Amazon or any hardware store. Fix them on to any lamp stand and it’s ready to use. Depending on what you’re photographing, if you need more light, you can add a third lamp up on top (as shown below). Just make sure that all of your light bulbs match (ideally they should be 5000K).

Easy DIY lightbox

Background

As you can see, the background is simply a piece of white poster board clipped to the top of the back of the box. It should fall freely into a gentle curve at the back and then across the bottom of the box (make sure you don’t bend or fold it in any way to avoid creases)

Now that you have the box and lighting, with a little practice, your images will improve significantly.

If you don’t want to DIY it, there are also many affordable light boxes available to buy as well.

Have you used light boxes? Do you like the results? What are some of the challenges you face when using them?