How $2.31 Can Get You a Super Cheap Photography Lightbox


You know the famous expression “necessity is the mother of invention”? Well it tends to ring true when it comes on to design. Every time I’m hired for a graphic design project, I always make sure to under-promise and over-deliver, because some projects are just harder than others. I’d like to point out that I’m a Graphic Designer who just happens to like and appreciate the art and science behind photography.

My latest project involves aviator sunglasses and not just any aviator sunglasses, flag-themed ones in time for the World Cup. This presented an obvious challenge for me as there was no way I could find these particular design online to download some images. The focal point of the design is the sunglasses so I had to find a way to get quality images, ergo reading about shooting product.

In one of the articles I read, I came across lightbox (hyperlinked) and clicked that link to see a short tutorial on making your own. This led me to reading as much material as I could find and equally as many videos via YouTube with really detailed tutorials. For a grand total of US$2.31, I created my very own, fully functional photography lightbox. All it took was an hour’s worth of effort.

If you want to make your own, here’s what you’ll need:

  • a cardboard box at least 12″l x 12″w x 12″h — (I endorse reuse and upcycle)
  • a box cutter (or scissors or knife)
  • a metal or wooden ruler
  • one sheet of tissue paper (the gift wrapping kind!)
  • white cartridge paper (for the background)
  • a roll of masking tape
  • pencil or pen or marker (I like Sharpie)

That’s pretty much it and all you need now are some lamps to get started. Fluorescent light works well, but if you have LED lamps then more “power” to you (saw what I did there?)! In actuality I can’t see this costing you more than US$10.00 and makes for a really fun project and a fantastic tool to take better and brighter photographs of small to medium objects. If you sell products on eBay or Amazon or Etsy, using your own photography lightbox will definitely help improve your odds of scoring some sales. Heck, go nuts!

Right now, I’m just excited to get these photographs into Photoshop for editing!!

Fun tip: Play around with the positioning of the lamps!

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