Controlling light is possibly the single most important aspect of photographing the products you offer to prospective buyers in an appealing way. Most likely you are not a professional photographer with all the gear and studio facilities of a professional photographer. However, there are ways that you can achieve those same studio style results with a little bit of ingenuity and easily available supplies.
In this article, it is going to be revealed just how easy the construction of a Do-it-yourself tabletop studio lightbox can be to get you on your way to more impressive photography of your product. A tabletop studio lightbox will allow you to control how the light is directed toward your items in just the right way when the sun or your ambient light just isn’t cooperating.
So what do you need? All that goes into this DIY project are things you may already have, and if not they are easily acquired.
• A square-shaped cardboard box big enough to accommodate the item you plan to photograph. The square shape will make things much easier. Shipping boxes will work fine. It should be fairly sturdy
• A box-cutter to make modifications to your box-cutter
• A ruler, pencil, and scissors
• Tracing paper or gift-wrapping tissue. Either of these can be used to diffuse the light into your box. Tracing paper is sturdier and easier to attach, gift-wrap paper can allow greater diffusion. You can find either cheaply in craft stores
• Tape, glue, or other adhesive
• Construction paper. Large sheets are better because they can be cut to size. Select several different colors to give yourself a lot of flexibility
• Binder clips, clothespins or small vise grips
STEP 1. Once you have selected your box start by first using your box-cutter to remove the flaps from the top of the box. You want to leave the bottom intact. The bottom of the box will form the back of your “studio”.
STEP 2. Using your ruler and pencil draw squares on two sides of the box that are roughly one inch from each edge. These will form the sides of your studio.
STEP 3. Now take your box cutter and cut out the two squares you drew on each side of the box. For the third side that will be the top, cut out the side completely. DO NOT THROW THIS SIDE AWAY. Now you are left with a box that has two “windows” on the left and right side and an open space on the top. Cut a window out of the piece of cardboard you cut from the top.
STEP 4. With your scissors cut three sheets of tracing paper or gift-wrapping tissue to fit the “windows” on the sides of your box and the piece you cut from the top.
STEP 5. Using tape, glue or some other method attach the wrapping paper to the one-inch margin you left around the side cut-outs so that it covers the open space. Do the same for the top “window”.
Hey! You’re nearly done!!
STEP 6. Cut a piece of construction paper to fit the width of your box, and long enough to extend to the edge of the box opening.
STEP 7. Now attach this piece of construction paper to the back of the box using binder clips, clothespins, or vise grips. Do not tape it or you will not be able to change out your background.
STEP 8. Finally place the cut-out “window” you made from the top of your studio in place. You now have three sides to diffuse light through in your studio.
Congratulations! You’ve constructed your DIY lightbox! Now, let’s light it up!
Because you are using the gift-wrapping tissue to diffuse the light that is entering your lightbox you can expect it to be even and pleasing. But what lights to use?
Pretty much anything! A pair of desk lamps or even house lamps with daylight-balanced light bulbs on either side will work very well. If you’d like to be more advanced, LED lights from a hardware store will work as well.
Of course this sort of lightbox is available to purchase, but may not be cost effective. There is also something to be said for crafting one yourself that you likely appreciate.
Now that you’ve constructed your first lightbox you can experiment, improve, and tailor it to your specific needs. Go for it!