Making Your Own At-Home Lightbox

Q: Whenever I take pictures, I can never get the lighting quite right. Is there a way I can create better lighting for my photos without having a professional studio?

A: If you don't have access to a studio and you want to improve the lighting of your pictures, you can create a mini-studio by building a lightbox. A lightbox softens lighting and gives your object a dark neutral background, removing glare and making pictures look sharper. It will look something like this:

GIJoeEDIT.jpg

To create a lightbox, you only need a square cardboard box, white tissue paper, a dark poster board (preferably black, though we used blue up top), scissors, and a stapler.

First, cut rectangular windows out of three adjacent box sides. The windows should occupy about two thirds of the original side.

Lightbox1EDIT.jpg

Once each side has a rectangular hole, place one layer of the tissue paper so that it fully covers each window. Secure the tissue paper using a stapler or tape.

Lightbox2EDIT.jpg

After securing the tissue paper, you're ready for the final step. To complete your mini studio, cut your poster board to fit the width of the box and slide it inside. Place the lightbox near a good light source and stick whatever you'd like to photograph inside. Perhaps, another lightbox. Or, some G.I. Joes.

Lightbox3EDIT.jpg

More questions? View the complete Toolkit archive.

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Rebecca Greenfield is a former staff writer at The Wire.

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