Light Box 101

I get a lot of compliments on Instagram and such for my product shots and “photography skills”.

That’s unfair because I simply don’t have any. I don’t have any money or equipment either. This one goes out to all the poor kids like me. (;

When I first opened shop I was disheartened by all the beautiful product shots I saw, even more so when I found out that a lot of those sellers have “studios” and hire professional photographers. If you can afford that and it sits well on your conscience, then by all means!

But if hypothetical you can’t or won’t there’s always this poorly written tutorial.

My photos are far from perfect. I’m pretty particular about them but the whole process takes only a few minutes now that I’ve got my system down.


The Setup

The Hub made the original “light box” for me. He is a professional but due to cats, kids and our crazy life I’ve had to remake it a few times and it’s easy.


See? Not mystical at all.

Cardboard box- I’m terrible at lights and shadows they absolutely baffle me. But I’m guessing the bigger the box is, the more light can get in. This one is the perfect size for the lil jewelry and toys that I make. You can do some hand modeling in there as well.

We cut three big rectangles; one on each side and one on the top. The side panels are covered with white paper which filters the light so that you always have that bright, clean look. The top panel is uncovered to help reduce shadow.

We used paper from a backdrop that Hub used when he had the studio. It’s still just white paper, though. You can just as easily use card stock or one of those big drawing pads for kids that they sell at walmart. Poster board works too as long as it’s not too thick.


Ideally, the paper you use as backdrop should be one continuous piece from the “floor” of your box to the back wall. Again, this has something technical to do with the light. Hub has explained and I have forgotten. I do know that having a seamless background for the photos makes the whole thing easier and more visually appealing.

Lights-For me this consists of a sliding glass door and a thing called the “Happy Light”.


The Happy Light was originally a very sweet gift from Hub a few years ago. It’s a gimmick thing though and I’m positive just about any light will do. Take the shade off of a lamp and it’s pretty much the same thing.


The whiter the better. If the light is yellow you’ll have to fight with editing. Portable is nice as well so that you can move your lil “studio” to get the best natural light you can find. I chase windows and sunlight all day long.

Natural sunlight is a must especially if you don’t have a great camera.

I’m going to go over my “equipment” in another post just because this is getting longish. Feel free to comment/email as usual.




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