I’m working with a few business owners and aside from taking their portraits – I’ve also been hired to shoot photos of their products. Of course there are a few different ways to shoot products, but one way that I hadn’t tried yet was a lightbox set up. Basically put the product in a white box and shoot light into it, or through it (depending on the material) so that it glows and you end up with a very clean photo. There is nearly an unlimited number of ways to make light boxes – and they don’t even have to be boxes at all. Sometimes all you need is a curved white background and then lights all around, adjusted for the desired effect.

One of the key things is to soften the light enough that it wraps around the product, rather than giving it harsh light – and of course that’s just a rule that should be broken every other time.

(Photo courtesy of renwest on Flickr)

However, I didn’t really feel like ‘building’ a light box, so I went to Ikea on my lunch break and looked for materials. What I found was a big opaque storage bin for $12.


It had a bit of gloss on it so that I could get a slight reflection if I wanted to – not only that, but if I put it up right, I can flash a light through the bottom of the bin and light upwards. (You can find the ‘real’ studio light tents online for around $50 or more…)


I’m still working on how to lessen the shine, but I was so happy that it was working that I was just trying to find a good spot between washing everything out and then getting the right reflection while not too much shadow… and it was exactly stream of consciousness like that sentence.


Lots of work this weekend – I will definitely have some great photos on Monday morning. See you then.


I’ll get the whole reflection of the elephant next time.

6 Replies to “Light Box

  1. Cool. I have an Ikea box just like that. That's much easier than setting up the foam boards (what I usually do). I'll have to give it a try next time.

    • Yeah. I tried a foam board setup and it was just taking a lot more work for me to soften the light enough – shooting through the white plastic material is a quick shortcut and helps alot. 🙂

  2. Mark,
    Very ingenious….the most expensive way to do something isn't always the best way. I can't wait for you to put our Pilaf in there and take some shots.

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