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Table of Contents
Intro Who is this for? What you'll need Preparation
Things to Hate My Verdict Alternatives


DIY Light Box

Introduction to DIY a light box

Well, I think of is as a box that emits light, so when you place something on top of it, your object is light from the bottom and therefore giving you a clean white background on your photos as well as eliminating the hard/unwanted shadows. This photo was taken with my light box.




DIY Light Box

Who is this for

The frugal photographer willing to put in some elbow grease. Or the budding photographer wanting to test things out before spending the big bucks. Those of you who like to repurpose things. Like fish tanks and small lamps.



What you'll need

DIY Light Box

1 stiff container with lid (any solid container with one clear side will do)

aluminum foil

glue (or tape)

pen knife

permanent marker

white sheet of paper (can use tracing paper)

I used a plastic "to go" container with a clear lid for my square light box.

I've seen people use styrofoam boxes with glass or clear plexiglass (plastic) for the top. That is most convenient since you can just put your flash (radio triggered) inside the box or even the whole socket and bulb.


DIY Light Box

You need to cut out a hole in the box to fit in your light source. Make sure it's nice and snug so you won't have a hard time plugging up the light leak later. I use my flash so I traced the outline of the stofen diffuser cap on the box and used the pen knife to cut out the hole. So now my flash with diffuser cap on fits snugly into the whole. I chose to use the cap as it helps soften the light and spread it all around the inside of the box.

Then take off the cover and line the inside of the box with aluminum foil, I glued the dull side to the box). Now line the lid (if the lid is the clear side) with white paper (or tracing paper). I chose to line the inside of the lid as I don't want to have to change it when it gets dirty. Also tracing paper yellows over time so you might not want to glue it.

If the lid is not the clear side you need to line that with foil and pick a clear side on your box to line with paper.

That's it! Try it out, have fun. I like mine so much a made another one, long and rectangular. Have a look at the pics in the slideshow.

Whats to hate

DIY Light Box

As you can see in the photo on the left, my lid has a pattern that's raised. Those patterns will show up if I get them in the frame. The only way to remove them is to increase the speedlights output but the resulting light haze on the base of your object may be an issue. So do yourself a favor and get a lid that's totally smooth.


DIY Light Box

My Verdict

The light box is great for lighting underneath an object to get a solid background or to remove / reduce shadows. You must balance it out with additional (top) lighting or your object may look a bit "off" either the "scary lighting" from too much light from the bottom or uneven top lighting as seen in this photo to the right.