Seller Handbook

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Seller Handbook

How to Build a DIY Photography Light Box

In Chapter 4 of our Ultimate Guide to Product Photography, learn to create your own DIY light box for product photo shoots.

By Etsy Staff May 29, 2017
Light box DIY

On a budget? This step-by-step guide illustrates how to make a handy, low-cost light box for photographing your products.

You will need:

  • 1 large sheet of foam board (10 inches by 25 inches). (Modify this if you need a bigger light box.)
  • 1 large sheet of paper (16 inches by 11 inches)
  • a roll of gaffer tape
  • a roll of aluminum foil
  • 2 desk lamps with clips
  • a craft knife
  • a ruler
  • a pencil
Light box DIY

Step 1: Measure 6 inches from each edge of your foam board. With your pencil, draw a line along which to cut your sides. Use the craft knife to score the foam board along the line, being careful not to cut through the whole thickness of the board. A sheet of foam board is made of a layer of foam between the cardboard layers and you only need to cut enough to allow it to fold easily.

Lightbox DIY

Step 2: Using a straight edge, such as the edge of a desk or table, fold your foam board. Then, tape along the fold to make it more rigid.

Light box DIY

Step 3: Make a fold in the paper, about an inch or two from the edge. Hook the paper over the foam board to create a seamless backdrop.

Light box DIY

Step 4: Use a bit of gaffer tape to stick the foam board to the table.

Light box DIY

Step 5: Cut a piece of aluminum foil to use for the top.

Light box DIY

Step 6: Attach the lamps to the table and point them at the top (towards the aluminum foil). This diffuses the light and gives softer shadows than pointing the lamp directly at your products.

Step 7: Start photographing. Keep tweaking the position of the lights and angle of your camera until you’re happy with the results.

A light box for natural light

Do you prefer shooting with natural light? You can also make your own light box for sunlight. To make one, construct a three-sided box with backgrounds that suit your product. (Clipping a white sheet of paper or foam board on one or more sides of the box will help bounce more natural light onto your product.) Position your light box by the window, with bright light filtered through a sheer curtain, or take it outside and photograph on a cloudy day.

Vintage Handmade light box
To shoot her vintage craft supplies for Vintage Handmade, Julie Collings uses a handmade two-sided box with lightly textured backdrops, such as vintage papers, paired with natural light.

Continue reading > Chapter 5: Getting to Know Your Camera

Go back > The Ultimate Guide to Product Photography

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