DIY Photo Light Box

I love our little studio, but one gripe that I have is the terrible amount of sunlight that we get in here. This is such a shame because we live in one of the sunniest places in the US! Anyway, poor lighting has translated to many poorly lit photos, which again translates to many hours spent color-correcting and adjusting lighting in Photoshop.

I’ve gone so far as to open my front door and plop down my food on my doormat to get a decent picture (I like to take pictures of my food before I eat it). So far, nobody’s seen me (I think). Whenever I do this, I feel like a little kid doing something I’m not supposed to do, and I’m afraid that at any second, our neighbor will open their door and step foot right into my bowl of wontons. :

To save myself some time, frustration, and above all, embarrassment from the neighbors, I finally decided to build myself a light box. Just in case anybody else out there has resorted to taking pictures on their doormats, here’s a tutorial for you!

Cardboard box (mine was about 18″ x 12″ x 12″)
Box cutters
White fabric
White posterboard

1. On 1 of the long sides and 2 of the short sides of the cardboard box, measure out a rectangle with sides about 2″ from the edge. These will be your cutting guides.
2. Cut out all the rectangles from the 3 sides.
3. Cut out your white fabric to extend a little farther from the edge of each rectangular cutout. Tape the fabric to the outside of the box. Make sure to pull the fabric taut. You should have a box with three fabric-covered sides when done with this step.

4. Trim your posterboard slightly smaller than the width of your box. Slip it in to cover the back face. Gently curve it down to create your base. Be careful not to crease or fold the posterboard.

5. Shine a lamp through the top “window,” and you’re ready to go! You can use a compact fluorescent “daylight” bulb or any full spectrum lightbulb. Alternatively, you can just play around with the white balance settings on your camera too.

Some pictures from the light box:

Not perfect, but sure beats my doormat pics!

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6 thoughts on “DIY Photo Light Box

  1. I just made this earlier this morning and I love how it came out! But my photographs still come out very yellow. Any suggestions?

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