Sunday, June 24, 2007

Make a Light Box in 5 Minutes, and Easily Store It

Make your light box in 5 minutes, or as long as it takes your boyfriend to cook you scrambled eggs. Seriously. I just did it and wasn't even able to finish my morning coffee. Inspired by my trip to the Etsy Labs,  I put one together in a jiffy. Here's how:

Materials for Making Your Light Box for Product Pictures with White Backgrounds

  • 4 pieces of foam core. The size is up to you on how big you want your light box. Get a plastic bag to carry it home in if you can.
  • Strong tape. Could be clear packing tape or masking tape. Just as long as it will stick. White or clear is best in case it affects light creeping through the cracks of the foam core.
  • Scissors, in case you need to cut the tape.

How to Make Your Light Box

  • Put two pieces of foam core together in an "L" shape, or 90 degree angle. Tape the back of it. This is so that when you fold it up to store it, you will fold it backwards. Repeat with the third piece of foam core to the other side of the now center board.
tape sides light box
  • Do not tape the base down to the three boards. By leaving the base of the light box empty, this will make your light box portable or easy to store.
light box no base
  • Place the 4th piece of foam core into the center of the three pieces. Viola! You have a light box! The convenient aspect about my light box is that it is front of windows, so it gets natural light. See below for the difference between different light sources (natural and light bulb).
light box base

How to Store This Light Box

  • Remove the base by sliding or lifting it out.
  • Fold the foam core backwards on top of each other.
  • Put the base on the pile of foam core.
  • Slip into a plastic bag (ideal to use what they gave you at the store).
  • Done! Slip it behind the couch and you're done.
light box folded

How to Take a Product Picture in Your 5 Minute Light Box

  • Use a digital camera (or film, your call) that lets you adjust your aperture and focal point. If you are using a digital camera, click the button to open the shutter and watch the screen for what the product will look like, then take the picture. You'll have to hold still if there is not a lot of light and you need to open the shutter very wide for half a second or longer. Below is a picture of a wide shutter with lots natural light coming from the windows behind the light box. See how it has no shadow. You could display the product like this, or use Photoshop to cut around the photo and remove all of the background. The product would look like this.
product shot white background no shadow

Best Digital Camera for Taking Product Pictures

I love my Cannon A610 PowerShot. It's manual, has a long battery life, 5 mega pixel, is true to the light when you shoot on manual, the Auto setting is great, you can direct what to focus it on so that the background is blurry (but I don't know how to do that) the flash is not so bad but you don't need it much thanks to the manual setting, and it shoots great movies. I just don't know how to compress them! Here's a detail picture of embroidered fabric. Scroll down to see the embroidered flower on the dress.

Happy product picting!


paysonjewelry said...

Excellent Info Katie! Thanks!! I do most of my own photography with a Canon Powershot too - and use a tri-pod on the macro setting to get great close-up shots (like the ones on my site at and I'll experiment with the manual settings and with a whitebox for more freedom cutting out the piece.

Thanks for this!

Mista said...

Oh, your jewelry looks nice! Yes, if you wanted to cut it out around the rocks, that would be easier.

paysonjewelry said...

Thanks! Yes, I think it would be easier to cut it out from a plain black background. I'm just learning photo-manipulation - so far have only been using MS Paint to size and crop the pics and do a little touching up - it's worked up until now. :-)

I was so happy when I figured out I could do my own photos at home - I use no overhead lights, the macro setting (has no flash) and take the pics in the afternoon next to a window facing West - if the light is coming in directly I have to lower the blind. My clients seem to like the pics well enough!

Thanks again for this posting!

Reading Glasses Guru said...

Thanks Kate, I have been looking for a good way to take great pictures of my Fashion Reading Glasses for our new website

Its very difficult to get good images without shadows but I will give your idea a try.

Thanks again

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