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Homemade Light Box for Product Photography

The object of product photography is to show details of an object clearly. Lighting an object well brings out details and provides pleasing highlights. One method for uniformly lighting small objects is to surround the object in a light box. The following article describes the process for making your own lightbox for small object photography. From start to finish this project should take no longer than 30 minutes.

Materials

Materials Needed

Foam Board

You'll need 5 sheets of foam board, also called foam core or foam poster board. If you go to the local craft / art store you should be able to pick up large sheets for just a few dollars a piece. I have a huge box in my basement and the pieces were $4.99 a piece. The board used in this tutorial was $1.99 a piece (each piece is 30" x 20").

White Tape

The tape I'm using is between 1" and 2" wide white masking tape. Stay away from duct tape, as the heat from the lamps makes the glue really messy. This masking tape is nice and lightweight and if you need to, you can take the tape off to re-adjust.

Lamp / Light Bulbs

I'm using shop lights from Home Depot / Lowe's. You can pick these up for just a few dollars a piece. Of course you can always use a flash and bounce it off the top of the box. I find that sometimes this is too much light and I get by pretty well with just the shop lights.
I've tried all sorts of light bulbs. With your eye they may all look the same, the camera picks up different colors from different lights. The lights I'm using in this tutorial are Sylvania 100 watt Daylight Bulbs. It was $1.98 for 4 bulbs, not too shabby. Sometimes I like to experiment with a little hand held florescent light. It gives off a cool color which can be nice. That's about the extent of my knowledge on lighting so you'll have to experiment and find what works for you.

Other

You'll need a razor knife and a straight edge.

1. Attach the Top and Bottom

Here is a quick sample of how I apply the tape. I know it's overkill to show this but I'd rather err on the side of being thorough.

Apply The Tape

Apply Top and Bottom

2. Attach the Left and Right

It may be hard to see how it will come together, but I just applied the left side (which is at the top of the photo below). Do the same for the right side.

Apply Left and Right

3. Cut Off Overhang on the Sides

Left: Shows the box with the overhang on left and right side.
Middle: Shows using a straight edge to cut the excess.
Right: Shows the box with the sides trimmed down.

Cut Off Sides

4. Cut Notches in Sides

This is something I just recently started doing. I found that I wasn't able to set the lights deep enough so cutting a notch in the side helps. You may have to skip this step and see the final deal, then you'll get the idea. The notches I cut were only a few inches deep, you could do more or less. Make it work for you.

Cut Notches in Sides

5. Lights

You can see I added a few more lights. The more the better in my opinion.

Lights

Showing the outside of the box.

Outside of Box

Use this light box with a Flash. Here would be a sample illustration of how to use the flash with this setup. This works like a charm.

Use your Flash

Optional Step

You can apply a strip of tape to the back seam on the bottom. Apply it so the tape forms an even transition between the two pieces of foam core. Here is a quick and dirty illustration to show what I mean:

Tape Back Seam

 

See What it Produces

After literally 2 minutes with the light box and a few snaps later here is a shot I took of one of my lenses. Obvious improvements could be made here but this is just a quick image to show you how simple using this box can be.

Sample from Lightbox

But Wait, There's More

Here is another trick I started doing. Sometimes I like to shoot the object from a top view. If you cut a hole in the top of the box, this is possible. Be careful not to cut too much, you'll want to score the part you don't cut, that makes it bend with ease.

Cut a Hole in the Top

Sample Photo

Here is a sample of shooting a necklace through the hole I just cut in the top of the box.

Sample Photo



67 Responses to “Homemade Light Box for Product Photography”

  1. Brett Says:

    A couple of ideas that might be helpful; they make trifold foamcore boards (think: science fair project) that might reduce the amount of taping needed.

    Additionally, if you get a few different sheets of inexpensive colored or white poster board (thick oaktag paper used for making, well, posters…) you can create seamless backgrounds in a variety of colors by arcing the board from the bottom front to the top back.

  2. jyoseph Says:

    That is a great idea with the trifold boards.

    I do have the colored posterboard which is also a great idea. You can see the results here:
    http://www.jyoseph.com/photoblog/archives/2005/12/hotsy_holiday.php

  3. Ron Says:

    Just finished my trial run with the standard white light box. I bought some 500 watt halogen lights on sale at Lowe's this President's Day weekend and they worked O.K. - but HOT! (daaaa). Pretty happy with the results though.

  4. Gylon Jackson Says:

    what kind of camera are you using and would a 2.2 mega pixel be good enough to use to take the pictures?

  5. Ben Says:

    Any working camera will be good enough to take pictures :P

    The question is, do you need a new camera?
    Megapixels dont make a camera good or bad, It depends on alot of things, what kind of sensor/processor they're using in it, what kind of lens etc.

    If your planning on printing larger than 4×6 photos, you might need a higher megapixel camera.

    Im sure theres some good 2.2 MP cameras out there, and iM definetly sure theres alot of bad ones.

    But 2.2 is a little outdated, unless its a great camera it might be worthwhile to upgrade :)

  6. Mark Says:

    Having difficulty finding the lights in the UK - any one got ideas?

  7. Steve Reynolds Says:

    I bought some portaflash lights on web they work great in this Box (thanks m8) oh lights available from Jessops and hiltons in uk Steve

  8. Joseph Hoetzl Says:

    You may also think about using a collapsable "laundry" hamper as a cocoon of sorts. $5 at a Bed, Bath and Beyond type store. And check out the copy of the other lighting solution for small product photography in the site…

  9. Heather Says:

    I am a graphic designer and thought I'd attempt to take shots of my package designs. I love this homemade lightbox idea, and will be making it soon, but I was wondering about the flash reflecting off the top of the box….without it, can you still get decent shots? If not, what can you suggest for a flash?

  10. Joe Says:

    I'm setting up a lightbox in this fashion - thanks for the advice, Joseph - and I am going to use "Flourex Technology" compact flourescent bulbs. They are available at Walmart for around $8.50 US, are 135W replacement (uses only 30W each) and are the "Lights of America" brand "Sunlight Bulb" lights that are trumpet shaped. I saw a few reviews that measured the light at 6500K color temp, and that the light has few holes in comparison to other daylight bulbs against actual daylight. If your camera has white balance it can be set or left on automatic.

  11. Mark Gilvey Says:

    Try this, get yourself a 53\" roll or smaller of white seamless paper (about $20 USD)

    Buy it here - http://www.studiolighting.net/info.php?p=SA531250 - White Seamless Paper

    Then point your lights at the ceiling or if you can point a flash at the ceiling. You will have much more room to work and when you wear out a section of the seamless, rip it off and give it to the nearest 13-year-old or younger to draw pictures on.

    Here are some photos I did of my wife\'s jewelry. Go to http://www.corsecrafts.com/jewelry.htm and click on an image. you can zoom into the photos. I did this with one flash pointed at the ceiling and a little diffusion on the flash. The jewelry is sitting on a piece of white seamless.

  12. Donna Allman Says:

    thank you for the light box ideas. I just built one into the top half of my armoire. I will have to decide about cutting into the top of it to shoot from above, but it would be possible

  13. Frederick Crisologo Says:

    can this be used for events photography like a formal 21st birthday party?

  14. Vivian Says:

    Thanks for a great idea and easy building instructions. I will deffinitely be making one of these to photograph my handmade jewelry and bonsai plants. There is still a couple things I\'m confused about. With all these extra lights should I still use the flash that\'s on the camera? Also, what material is used for \"flash diffusion\" and where is it placed in relationship to the lights, camera, and the item being photographed?

  15. MIke S. Says:

    Vivian, I use only an external flash as shown in the illustration
    at the top of the page (no extra lights). There's no diffusion material used, bouncing is like diffusing and works grear.

  16. jen Says:

    hello. thank you for such wonderful step by step explanation. i am thinking of buying 2x 5000k daylight bulbs (those that won't get hot) but not those commercial light tents as its either too big or too small for me. i am donig prop scenes creation with furniture and teddy bears (12 inches) and was wondering if you would know the lights i am thinking of buying …would it be overkill with your set up ? as i really like your light box! thank you in advance..

  17. Matt Says:

    Ok, so I made the light box according to your instructions. My pictures turn out yellow. Am I using the wrong type of lights?

  18. Nathan Says:

    Hey, great idea! Making mine now….

    Matt– if your pics are yellow, it is probably because you are using regular household bulbs that have a very "warm" color cast. Most cameras have an adjustment function by lightsource- set yours to indoor/ artificial light, and it should help the color balane. If that doesn't work, you can allways correct the color balance in photoshop!

  19. Katey Says:

    Hey mine are turning out yellow too! I'm using Incandescent bulbs that came with a pair of photo lamps I bought. Is this not the right type of bulb? I'm confused.

  20. StudioLighting.net Says:

    The bulb type is not a problem, but you must match your color balance, or film type to the light source. So, if you shoot with incandescent bulbs, make sure your white balance is set to indoor (as Nathan said). If you shoot film, you have to buy indoor film.

    Another good practice is to use a white balance card. The card helps you determine the proper white balance using a program like Adobe photoshop. Check the manual for your camera to learn more about setting the white balance.

  21. Aj Says:

    I just set up my box and took several pictures with my digital camara. The back ground doesn't come out white?? It comes out yellowish in color. What am I doing wrong.

  22. Carl Weaver Says:

    For the yellow color, you can set your white balance to incandescent on your camera or you can go buy daylight balanced bulbs. I sometimes use the cheap daylight bulbs. They have a bluish glass that filters out the amber light. They aren't as good as the precise, high quality lamps but they get me about 95% of the way there and I do just a little tweaking with Photoshop to get it just right.

    Someone asked about using a flash. I would say no, if your flash and the lamps you are using are balanced differently. Then what you get is two colorrs of light. So you balance to get rid of the amber glow and you end up with a blue tint. If you want to use flash, use a daylight balanced bulb. And be sure all the other lights in the room are off.

  23. Ken Says:

    Okay, here is the answer on the light color issues. If your camera allows you to set a custom white balance then that is your best bet. Never mix light sources unless you have no choice. In this case you have a choice. Turn your camera flash off and put your camera on a tripod.

  24. Sean Says:

    I built one of these tonight. Couldn't find white masking tape, used clear packing tape..worked fine. Box works great. One addition I made was to buy a cheap power strip for the lights. Also, instead of using tape inside to hide the bottom back seam, I used a sheet of glossy white poster board..found some rather thin stuff that bends very easy and fits nice..just used some tape to fasten it to the very front of bottom edge. Also picked up a black piece. Whole thing cost me $35 to build. As for lightbulbs, couldn't find the Daylight ones, so used 4 Reveal 75watt ones. With proper WB, they worked great. Thanks for the tip on this.

  25. Anthony Clemente Says:

    This is a great home idea. I put mine together last night and I shot 150 "stock" photos. If you set a custom white balance you should get nice bright white backrounds. also photoshop helps greatly!

  26. Anne Middlemas Says:

    Very Clear instructions and great graphics. Thank You for sharing your expertise.
    RE: Flash
    What exactly do you use and how is it timed to photo?

    I have a Canon Powershot and no experience with anything but point and shoot. The flash doens't seem to have direction option.

  27. Justin Says:

    Hey there built this box this weekend for a product shoot I did. It worked great, highly recommend it!

    I thought I would pass along my findings while taking these shots. I also was getting yellow lighting with my first shots. But I had may camera set to control the ISO itself. Once I set things to ISO 60 on a tripod I got the pics I wanted. I would suggest playing with the ISO control on your camera and would bet with a little luck you too will get rid of the yellow. Just my 2 cents worth.

    -justin

  28. Tammy Says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I think it will be a lifesaver for me. or a job saver any way:-) I have a question though, I will be using it to photograph a product that is a small black plastic bottle with a very shiny black lable with red and white font. The images are for my clients website. To date all the pics are showing the reflections coming off of the bottle. Is there any way around this. They want the image to appear like a floating image with no background which I was able to edit out the background but the image came out looking distorted so this box is my next option just don't know what to do about the glare. Will the daylight lighting solve this issue?

  29. Paul Says:

    To reduce glare, you can get a special spray — not sure what it's called. Another choice is to use a polarizing filter on your lens.

    For use with flash, there is a great diffuser that attaches to your camera — called the Lightsphere — garyfong.com — There are two models — Cloud and Clear. Get the Cloud for products photography.

  30. Bob Says:

    you can also make a diffuser for your flash by taking those clear report covers with the hard plastic binder strip. You know the ones you had to get in school. take the hard plastic binder strip and cut it to the length of your flash. double sided tape it to the sides of the flash. then using different plastic bottles of various opaicy cut and slip into the binders that you have taped to the side of your flash. I have done this for 30 years and they work great.

    also for small jobs you can take a styrofoam minnow bucket, cut a hole in the bottom, put a ring light on your lens so that the lens goes thru the bottom of the bucket and use that as a light box.

  31. Jonathon Says:

    Two questions:
    1. I'm using 2 of the same larger lamps, as in the photo above. How do I eliminate shadows on the back wall of the box? More lights?

    2. I was told that to get really good photos, you need to use a large lens. Therefore, a typical point-and-shoot camera won't do as good a job. True?

  32. LordHat Says:

    For Glare and Shine you can pick up a can of Matte Coat in a spraycan at Wal-Mart, or most Hobby Shops (think model trains). It comes in a spray can and is usually in the Spray Paint section.

  33. David Says:

    i need to shoot groups of garments laying flat sometimes taking up 4ft x 4ft space on the floor, what modifications can you recommend to your process? would i still cut a hole in the top as you did for the necklace or would it be better to just tip the whole thing back so the back of the box is now on the floor? any change to direction of the lighting if i went this latter route?? thank you.

  34. Stacy Says:

    I made your box - very pleased with it. I am struggling with my pictures. I have a new camera, Lumix DMC-FZ7 - many. many options for a good picture. I finally have rid my pics of yellow..I think the ISO feature helped. My problem is getting close enough for detail pics of my jewelry without the it being fuzzy. Would a tripod help at all? Any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance - Stacy

  35. Con Says:

    Hi guys, this site is a wealth of information. I have been really struggling to get decent stock shots. Going out to get the materials to build my box tomorrow along with 100% confidence of great results. Thanks for all your tips :)

  36. Megs Says:

    Hi, I used this lightbox to take photos for my website: moonwillowstudio.com and I found that it worked great for the smaller ceramic items but my taller works needed a bigger box due to the shadowing on the top of the box! so now I am on the hunt for larger sheets of foam core. I could build it out of different material of course but the light weight nature of the box is a huge advantage. I also used grey foam core as opposed to white with good results though I have had to do some colour balancing in photoshop to manage the yellow cast even with daylight bulbs. Thanks for the detailed instructions

  37. Susanne Says:

    Will this type of lightbox work with wine bottles - glare is always a big issue. My husband bought me a filter for my camera to help with this issue, but I wondered if the light tents that they sell where light is diffused through the fabric works better for this type of photography.

  38. Yashieka Says:

    How do you adjust the white balance in photoshop?

  39. Yashieka Says:

    I built the box last night and took a couple of test shots. My pictures came out GREAT! I'm still a novice with using Photoshop, however, I was able to figure out how to balance the colors…Thank so much!!!!

  40. brent Says:

    I set up the box, but just can't get the results. Im using a 3.2 mp older cam.. im using 2 500w bulbs. my shots are coming out with a non white back ground.. fiddling with levels in photoshop takes out some nice details… any suggestions?

  41. Puri Says:

    I was trying to figure out how to make my own lightbox, and I'm definitely convinced by this tutorial that it is going to be my best shot. However, I'm gonna repeated what Jonathan asked, "I'm using 2 of the same larger lamps, as in the photo above. How do I eliminate shadows on the back wall of the box? More lights?" I really don't want to have this problem. I'll be shooting some still life things and I definitely can't have a shadow.

    Hopefully I'll build the box soon, but I should really stop procrastinating about buying the supplies. One last thing, that I guess has to do with Jonathan's question above, how many lights do I need? As for the lightbulbs I'm a little confused, but maybe I'll pick up a variety. I'm using a Rebel too, so I'm sure I can play around with whatever yellow-tints I get.

  42. Trinton Says:

    Great tips. Thanks for sharing, I am in the process of building a light box and this is so much easier then building one out of wood and painting it. I think I will try your steps for having my students build light boxes for their class project.

    Great tips thanks

  43. Juli_777 Says:

    Am going out hot-foot tomorrow to buy the supplies to build this. Have been trying to find out most of the info already discussed here - for the last 2 years! Trust you lot over the pond to have all the answers - thanks a million.
    JC - Wilds of Wilts, England

  44. Marcelo Says:

    Just finished making my box, took less that an hour to build. Real nifty idea, my only problem is I couldn't find daylight bulbs. I am using Reveal 60 watt lamps. Took my first shot of a trophy but unfortunatley I have a 35mm slr and wont be able to gauge the results till they come back from the developers. Another problem I can see is that I can see some of the rear seams of the box. I was thinking of running a bead of white silicon along the inside seams and smoothing in out. I think that will help out a bunch.

  45. Marcelo Says:

    Just use my new light box to do a project for my photography class. Film will be going in the morning. I'll let you know how it comes out.

  46. jester Says:

    hi guys. im from Ireland and i cant find those lamps like on picture above,maybe sombody now where i can get them.or maybe somebody can tel me name or company who makes those lamps. please

  47. Surabhi Says:

    I have a homemade light box but with tracing paper on 3 sides of the cardborad box. All pictures turned out good but while taking the picture of oil bottle or water bottle, the reflexion of the light of the lamp ruins the photo…any idea how to get rid of the reflexion of the light………..am i not placing the lamp in proper palce?i tried different palcement,but still didn't work……….Please help!!

  48. geraint Says:

    im a stained glass artist,and need to take a photo of one of the mirrors i made,any idear how i can take a side shot,save me from being in the photo?

  49. Snowey Says:

    I rarely post to forums, but this is such a great idea that I have to share my experience.

    I typically pay $86+ per product per product for photography in professional studio (15 to 30 pics, the best 5 cutout in photoshop). This idea has saved me money and TONS of time. It has allowed us to take pictures on the fly without releasing our prototype products externally (and made me look like a rockstar).

    These wonderful pics are now used in all of our catalogs, brochures and website. I would like to share my tools and experiences for this project.

    *********************************************
    CAMERA: Standard Point and Shoot Casio Exilim 10.1 MP camera: $242.52 @ Frys Electronics

    FOAM CORE: 40" x' 30": qty 6 @ $40.22 from Staples

    WHITE DUCT TAPE: qty 1 @ $2.35 from Walmart

    MEDIUM CLAMP LIGHTS: (8.5 inch): qty 6 @ $53.54 from Lowes

    GE DAYLIGHT ENERGY SMART HALLOGENS: 6500 Kelvin - 26 watt producing 100 watt equivelent light @ 1600 Lumens each: qty 6 @ $20.21 from Walmart

    THATS 9600 TOTAL LUMENS OF CRISP BLUE LIGHT FOR $20.00 - WOW

    (This was the tricky part. I tested and returned several lights and even though these were hallogen lights, not standard daylight spot lights, they work AWESOME)

    PROGRAMS: CS3 Master Collection :-)

    In Total I spent $116.32 for the booth, the cost of one professional studio visit. The benefits: we now have an amazing photo booth set up in one of our extral cubicles, we can take great 10Mp pics at any time. One click of the mouse and photshop CS3 cuts out the whole background. AMAZING: Thanks for the GREAT TIP.

  50. Mastaphin Says:

    Very nice instructions.. I built mine today and within a short period was taking the photos of my lifetime. It took a lot of work, though.. Ended up with:

    Foam Core from Office Depot. Turned out to be Mat Finish

    Exterior tape : Blue for painting
    Interior tape : Bought form the neighborhood butcher shop. $3 bucks. This is waterbased tape. Wet it and use it to fill in the corners. It blends perfectly.

    Lights. Same lights as recommended, however a shout to SNOWEY. The lights recommended threw me for a loop. They ended up being Fluorescent lights, not Halogens. I must say though that if you have a decent digital camera, these lights will blow you away. In fact, this is what set my pics apart from yesterdays junk. I needed to put aluminum foil on my lights to deflect the light upwards or away from my subject in some instances, but there are plenty where it doesn't really matter if you just bounce the light off the top or sides.

    I do not need to perform any work in Photoshop or CS3. The photos come out incredible, as long as you follow procedure in the lightbox. Plastic wrapped subjects need to be forward in the box.

    By the way, I am using 4 lights, not 6. I wonder how awesome they would be with that much light !

    What I would like to see are people's examples using any of these techniques. I think I will put up a couple on Photobucket or something..

    Thanks, awesome tip… Wonderfully simple design.

  51. jerry Says:

    I found all the items needed at the dollar store.except for lights. So I have 6.00 in materials

  52. Kent Says:

    I built this yesterday and it works great.
    I go the form board from Michaels (craft shop) for $1 a piece. The lights were around $5.50 each.

    I only need to get some brighter light globes (I only have 60W) and will find some daylights to get the colour sorted.

    Great idea and easy plans.

  53. Rosy Says:

    You can also use Sure Spray Deodorant to eliminate the glare on shiny products. Works just as good as dulling spray - a little tip from my photography professors.

  54. maria~ Says:

    I just built this today and it's totally awesome! The only problem is the background looks a bit yellow and slightly dingy. Am I just not using enough lights? Or am I using the wrong lights or what? Help! :D

  55. Sharon Says:

    For the problem with the seam in the back of the box, I took a piece of white poster board, had at home for school projects and just taped the top and it formed it's
    own bend–works great to eliminate the seam!

    Still having some trouble with shadows as I am shooting
    pictures, I did best to use the box with no lights and
    flash disabled with a 85-200 lens, a light photoshop
    lightning, and they look great!

    Thanks for the tip, it is great!

  56. DIsco Says:

    For all the "yellowish" people. It is your white balance in most cases. In your camera, you should try to set your white balance first. It is basically a measure to tell the camera what is white in the shot. Most cameras compensate for the extra white in the image and turn it yellow but if you set the white balance it will leave you alone. Another trick is to bump up your exposure just a bit to +1 or +2.

    I use a simple panasonic LUmix camera and get great shots.

    Don't be afraid to learn about the settings in your camera. Try stuff out, it isn't as mystical as I previously though.

    You don't have to use the exact bulbs that are said here. just get any "full spectrum" bulb. They usually have a blue tint to them.

    Anyway, Great tutorial and thank you so much for all your hard work.

  57. Gabriel Betancur Says:

    Hey guys…
    i was wondering if you could please help me out to build my own light box. However, the issue that i have is that the item that i want to take pics off need to be put on a flat surface, in other words i need to take the pics from above. Therefore, my questions are: what are the dimension that i need to use, what sort of light i need in kelving and which one is it better flouro or halogen
    thank you

    Gabriel

  58. Bob Says:

    Building the box was a snap. I even lucked out and the foamcore was on sale 2 for 1 !
    I have been having a problem with blue cast. I have tried AWB, cust. WB using a gray card…. this did help reduce the blue cast but not eliminate it. I am using 4 GE reveal 75w blubs. Many Thanks.

  59. Amanda Says:

    Wow! I have learned so much on this site! Thanks a lot! I have a question. I use a Panasonic Lumix FZ30 with fixed 35-420mm Leica lense. Is it true that my camera will not sync with a strobe flash if I try it for studio photography? Also, the backdrop stand from PVC, will it be sturdy if I make it 2 meters high and 3 meters wide (adjustable to smaller measures off course)? Thanks again!

  60. Amanda Says:

    Wow! I have learned so much on this site! Thanks a lot! I have a question. How can I get my photo's to be a superior quality when viewed on my website and still be small enough in size to load quickly?

  61. Kathleen Murphy Says:

    Great site, and tips from others. I thought I'd add a thought.

    I cut two holes on the top of either side, so that I could run a window suspension rod through the box. Then I drape (ironed) fabrics over the rod and out the front of the box, giving the same back curve as construction paper would. My most common piece is an off-white lace curtain. Works great!

  62. Chris Says:

    I recently purchased a box just like the one in the pictures and i have a canon EOS40D. the thing is I can't figure out a way of taking a good picture of stainless steel jewelry items.. i can't get a picture that looks like the item itself. I have some great stainless steel jewelry but just can't get the pictures to show this.. really need help….

  63. Karen Says:

    Have been reading all the posts and I have set up a light box like this and it has worked well ….. however I am in the process of taking white lotion bottles against the white and need to cut out - the comment about one click of the mouse removing background in CS3 (which I have) I am curious about how to do this. I have been cutting out images with the magnetic tool BUT with the white against white it is not working. How are you removing the background so easily? Must know :)

  64. SiP Says:

    I bought a large semi-transparent storage box from Staples, lined the bottom, two short sides and one long side with bright white heavy duty paper.

    I then sit the box on its long side with unlined at the top, use a light-box (previously used for viewing slides & negatives and almost became redundant until I thought of using it for this project) upside down facing into the box. I get nice even distribution of light as the semi-transparent side of the storage box acts as a diffuser.

    I also have two old glass shelves that I can use for various effects: one frosted, one with a dark-tint. I put the light-box inside the container, lay the tinted shelf on top and use diffused low power flash from above. Nice effects!

  65. SiP Says:

    Buy a pair of 12-inch WHITE cold-cathode tubes (they're very cheap and used for lighting-up the insides of PC cases) and power them from an old external CD enclosure (or just buy a decent 12v PSU), velcro them to the top of your DIY lightbox and you've got very decent lighting.

    You need to be very careful and use a 12v DC PSU, which powers a little box to which you connect the tubes. The little box apparently increases power output to drive the tubes. Lots of info on case modding websites.

  66. DCRose Says:

    I am a custom cake designer, but a terrible photographer.I was referred to your website because I am having trouble shooting clear pics of my cakes. Do you know if the light box would be too hot to shoot pics of cakes?

  67. anon Says:

    This is a great idea for a cheap light box, but my comment is more focused on the questions asked. I am no expert, but I will try to help.

    Starting with the newest and moving toward the older questions that I think I know the answers to:

    DCRose asked about cakes;

    It looks like there is a total of 4 100W bulbs used in this tutorial. Is that too hot for cakes? This will depend on the color of the cake and the color / size of the background (The Box). If you have a beautiful white cake in a small white box with 400 watts of light, it may be too hot. Just decrease the light and / or increase the box size. You may need to increase the box size anyway because it looks like this one is only 20" tall.

    Karen asked about white lotion bottles;

    I don't want to speak for anyone, but I believe the photoshop comment was made based on a different color (other than white) for the subject. The "one click and the background is gone" approach is using the magic wand. If you would like to use the magic wand to delete your background, you will need to change the color of the box. Just for reference, the magic wand is selecting a color range, based on the tolerance, of connected pixels. If there is a 1 pixel break in a shadow, Photoshop will continue to select the white, or close to white, pixels until your entire image is considered to be the background.

    Amanda Asked about image quality on the internet;

    Image quality directly translates to number of pixels. 320 X 240 or 640 X 480 is not a quality image but, depending on how you're using the image, it will work. If you have a 320 X 240 image and it is resized to 100 px wide for a thumbnail, it will look just as good as it did before. If you have a 640 X 480 image and an auction site displays it at 800 px wide then you will lose quality. The bottom line is that you need to upload your image at the highest resolution possible. Today's internet speeds do not limit our image sizes. I am not trying to tell you to upload a 10 megapixel photo. This can take a few seconds on the fastest connections. Just upload your images at 1024 or 1280 wide and most users will view them quickly.

    Gabriel Betancur asked about top down shots;

    This tutorial is based on the authors needs. Your needs may, and probably will, be different. The dimensions of your box will depend on the product you're putting into it. As far as lighting goes, there are thousands of "pro's" that will tell you what to pick, but in the end, it's up to you. Grab a halogen work light, a flourescent shop light and a simple clamp light like the one in the article. The lights don't cost much and the testing is well worth it to decide your personal preference. A 4' flourescent may not work with the design in this article, but you get the idea. The final choice is yours.

    I guess I could have shortened this comment. If you didn't want to read the whole thing, here's the short version;

    The color and size of your subject will dictate the color and size of your light box

    Photoshop has a magic wand, but it's not really magic

    There is no quality on the internet. My rambling on blogs is the perfect testimony to that

    Tutorials are based on the authors needs. You will need to adjust dimensions, lighting or any number of things to make it work for you.

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