Tag Archives: DIY light box

DIY Light Box for Photography

That TCP… I’m telling you. We don’t call him The Complete Package for nothing. This weekend, he built me a light box so my food photographs would look better. I had mentioned to him that photos taken in our kitchen tend to have a yellow tint. This happens for two reasons:

1. We have yellow-tinted glass shades on our kitchen pendants, and
2. We have only one kitchen window, for a few hours worth of morning sun.

So TCP took it upon himself to research photography light boxes on the internet. Those available for purchase were in the $200 range. But since TCP has a love of PVC pipe and tools that come in plastic carrying cases, he found a DIY version on the web and took it upon himself to build one.

Here’s what he used:
3/4″ diameter PVC pipe in 24″ lengths (10 pieces)
end caps, elbows and connector joints for PVC
clamps for holding backdrop fabrics in place
clip-on lamps with ‘daylight’ compact fluorescents
a power strip for the lamps

In addition, I bought:
4 yards of muslin for the light box cover
various fabrics to use as backdrops

The light box comes apart so you can break it down and store it in a tote bag. For that reason, I made a slip cover with rod pockets for the front two posts, and ribbon ties to hold it into place on the other two corners. I haven’t stitched together the top panel yet, but I was able to drape some fabric over the top so I could snap these photos. Sorry. I just couldn’t wait to show it to you. But first, I’d like to thank Gumby for his part in this show and tell segment.

Excuse my drooping top panel; I didn't clamp it down taut.

Wow. I really should have folded the leftover fabric in the back right corner.

Ladies & Gentlemen... the star of our show, Gumby!

As you can tell, I haven’t hemmed the edges of this background fabric to fit the width of the box yet. I didn’t iron it yet, either. Sorry. I’ll get there. Eventually. When choosing backdrops, I went for textures and colors – basically the types of things I enjoy seeing in other food blogger’s photos.

Okay, Mr. DeMille.... Gumby is ready for his close-up.

Notice the absence of obvious shadows or glare? Nice, huh? For this photo, I used one lamp on each side of the photo box and the overhead light that was behind me. For future photos, I have an additional third lamp that can be mounted to illuminate the back or the top of the box, depending on the situation and how much light is needed. Cool, right? And, as I said, it all breaks down into a medium-size tote bag so I can store it when it’s not in use. Booyah!

Cost of the box itself (including the frame, lights, clamps & power strip) was $60. The muslin to enclose the box was $15. The ribbons to tie the corners in place came from a pile I already had in my sewing room. If you want to make one even cheaper, I’ve seen tutorials for light boxes made from cardboard boxes. But not mine. It was made with love by The Complete Package, and homeboy doesn’t slack when it comes to DIY projects. Which is why we call him The Complete Package in the first place. The end. Cue the closing credits & kill the lights!

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Filed under Craft Projects, Technical Stuff