Make a Lightbox

A lightbox is a photographic tool for shooting photos in evenly diffused light.  Lightboxes are often used in advertising photography to present a clean, crisp image.

I recorded the steps of constructing a lightbox to demonstrate how simple it is to get this photographic effect.

Why would you want to construct a lightbox if you are not going to be an advertising photographer?  A lightbox simply showcases your work in the best light.  Suppose you are a sculptor, jeweler, doll maker, knitter or any other type of creative artist who would like to open an online shop and get in on the action and make some serious coin.  Customers need to see your product unencumbered by distracting visual data that impedes their ability to discern if they want to buy your wonderful creations.  Give them simple, give them direct.  Give them tomatoes.  Or tomatos if your Dan Quale.  Does anyone remember this guy?!

Now that I view the tomatoe photo I’d like to edit out the shadow around the bottom and corners. But that’s a Photoshop story.

My husband, Mike Wilson, recently opened an online store aptly named Stone Cairns, to sell his cairn art.   He also sells his cairn art in Suttons Bay, Michigan at The Painted Bird; at the Santa Fe Trading Company in Saugatauk, Michigan, and at The Ruth Conklin Gallery in Glen Arbor, Michigan.  So check out these groovy shops if you’re ever at the lakeshore.

Incidentally, I told him to change his shop profile picture because it looks like I’m married to a twenty-year-old.  I took this picture way back when when we went hiking on Isle Royale, Michigan.   Which reminds me – *News Flash* – Biologists fear moose and wolf populations will soon go extinct on Isle Royale, because population numbers are very low.  So if you’d like to go hiking and see some moose, now is probably the time to go.

Things You’ll Need for Construction:

1. White Felt

2. Cardboard box

3. Glue

4. Scissors

5. Velcro

6. Measuring tape


Lightbox Steps

1. Find a large, sturdy, approximately 2 ft. X 2 ft. cardboard box.  Keep in mind what you will be taking photos of, because you don’t want the sides to show.  This will ultimately decide the size of the box you need.  You can always add extra pieces of cardboard along the sides if you need to make the box sturdier.

2. Cut out four openings: the front, two sides, and top.  Leave about 2 inches of cardboard around edge for stability purposes on each side.

3. If you feel the need for more stability, glue strips of cardboard to the edges to make the corners sturdier.

4. Cut out poster board pieces to fit over all exposed areas inside the box except the bottom and the back wall.

5. Then cut poster board to size so it lays on bottom on box and curves up along the back.  You don’t want edges to show in the lightbox because you’ll see them in the photo.

6. Cut felt to fit three open sides.

7. Attach the velcro to the felt so it adheres to the box.  When you’re done, your finished product should look something like this:

Voila!  Enjoy your cheap, custom-made lightbox.  You don’t need special photo equipment or cameras to take great lightbox photos.  Play around with lamps and other light sources to get good results.


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