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How to create a cheap photography lightbox for better pictures - The Photography Express

How to create a cheap photography lightbox for better pictures

how to create a cheap photography lightbox for better pictures FINALLet me guess you probably are searching on Amazon or Ebay trying to find a photography lightbox (or light tent as some may called). Somehow you bumped into my blog while doing your research online for the best brand to buy. However, soon after your initiate research you realized that the good lightbox brands aren’t cheap. If you are in this situation now you are walking my exact path just a few weeks earlier. To help people just like yourself I have sum up what I’ve learn in this post on how to create a cheap photography lightbox. So why cheap? Because we all like to do things on budget right! This is also perfect for anyone who is looking for some DIY photography projects.

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The whole process should take less than half hour to build (I did it for about 45 minutes because I was taking pictures and writing my steps). The total cost should be less than $20 US dollars but the stunning photos you are about to make will be priceless.

Equipments needed:

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One 16in x 16in x 15in box (Around $1 in Walmart)

Two bulbs 120 volt. 19 watt. 2700K (make sure you buy the daylight bulb. I made a mistake at the beginning buying the fluorescent bulbs. 4 in a box cost about $5 dollars)

Two clip on lamp ($5 each)

One white shower curtain liner ($1 from Dollar Tree)

White Poster board (About $2)

One cutter

One packaging tape

One sharpie

One ruler

One scissors

Step 1

If the box is flat to begin with, fold to make it a box. Then use packaging tape to tape the edges and corners of the box.


Step 2

Use a sharpie, draw a border about 1 -2 inch away from the edges of the box. Do it on 3 sides.


Step 3

Follow the lines and cut the box on the 3 sides. The holes should be located at the top and two on the side.


Step 4

Cut the poster board to the appropriate size that is going to fit inside the box. Tape the top end only to the back of the box (you can use white or black color).


Step 5

Put the shower curtain around the box and tape it up.



Step 6

Use the clip on lamp and point the light to both sides of the box.


Once you are done with this step you are basically done with the lightbox. For those of you who have more than 3 external flashes, I highly recommend you use those as the light source instead of the clip lamps. In that case, you don’t need to buy the clip on lamps and bulbs (you save almost $15 that way!)

Using the lightbox to take better pictures

Now we have built our lightbox we are ready to get some professional pictures.

The biggest tip I want to give you is that when you place the lamp (or flashes) near the box, make sure you place them in front of your product. You want more light going in front of the product and not the back.

The second tip I want to give you is that when you photo is still underexposed, add another light source on top of the box that point down onto the product. I haven’t told you to use a third lamp or flash in the steps above but I highly recommend doing this.

To show you some of my examples, below are some of the pictures I took using 3 flashes:

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I hope by now you have a much better idea to get started with product photography, create a cheap photography lightbox as well as getting great images for your portfolio. If you have questions feel free to contact me anytime.

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About Gary

A passionate photographer with goals to fulfill your photography passion and motivate you to take pictures even when life is busy!


  1. great tutorial, looks easy enough!

  2. These are great tips, thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Gary. Love this tutorial. Will make this a holiday project for sure!

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