Photography Tech Tip: DIY Light Box

Posted by Dan Ponjican | 2:27 PM | | 2 comments »

A couple things inspired me as of late to experiment with some Photography equipment and led me to this great little DIY photography trick. It seems to be the rage on all the photography boards so I figured I would give it a shot aswell.

The other inspirer was my latest acquisition; a new Canon Speedite 580EX II flash. This is Canon's latest and greatest model designed to be used with the EOS digital SLR range of camera bodies.

At $400.00 (street price) these are a great value for any hobbyist or professional photographer. I had the opportunity to initially test it at a local charity event and was instantly impressed with the power and versatility of this flash (full review coming soon...).

On to our little experiment. Today we are looking at home-made DIY photography light boxes. These are great tools to have for any photography taking macro shots of single products/object. In my case the need arose from pictures taken of new products for one of my ecommerce sites ( I frequently need to get new pictures of new products being added to the store's website. Anyone who has taken pictures for web store fronts knows that it is a challenging task to keep the lightings and environment consistent between your shots. A light box is your answer.

We built our light box from a medium sized scrap cardboard box. I started out by cutting two 10" X 16" rectangle cutouts from the left and right sides of the box. I taped a sheet of 11" x 17" plain white copy paper over these "windows" on each side of the box.

Next I used white packaging paper to line the insides of the box to create good light diffusing surfaces. Finally, "drape" of white paper was curved to create a gentle, non-creasing background.

I used as much lighting as I could find around the house. Optimally, I would use two of the portable halogen lights like I have on the left side of this box setup. I didn't have a second light like this (I will pick one more up this week and shoot some more shots) so I used a regular lamp with the shade removed.

I shot these in auto mode with my 580EX II set to ETTL mode. Most of the shots were taken with a Canon F1.8 55mm lense. I used a Gary Fong Lightsphere as a difuser on the flash and set the flash at 45 degrees bouncing the light off of the top inside ceiling of the box.

Here are some sample shots.

Edge Industrial Adapter

Microfiber towel


Kit Lens


  1. Cris Melo/Meloearth // April 7, 2008 at 4:02 PM  

    Looks good! I have to make me one of these soon. I'm commenting so I can mark your page for later reference :)

    [Came here from your comment in the Strobist blog]

  2. Mikaela H B // October 18, 2009 at 11:56 AM  

    amazing! I love it.