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Jessica Joy

Knitwear designer, teacher and author

I don’t know about you, but I find it dif­fi­cult to shoot nice bright prod­uct pho­tos in my lit­tle city flat. It’s espe­cially hard in the win­ter when the sun just isn’t around at a con­ve­nient time. Imag­ine if you could cre­ate your own lit­tle pho­tog­ra­phy stu­dio in a box and never have to worry about the time of day, or what the weather’s up to. Well, I had a go at doing just that. This photo is the not so attrac­tive result; please excuse the kitchen paraphernalia.

It was sur­pris­ingly quick to make and works by dif­fus­ing arti­fi­cial light around your items to avoid those harsh shadows.

Card­board box
Trac­ing paper or thin cot­ton mate­r­ial
Sheet of white paper or card
2 x Lamps with day­light bulbs
Props (optional)
Reflec­tive mate­r­ial (optional)

- Cut a 2″ bor­der around the top and two sides of the box.
– Tape trac­ing paper over the holes. You could also use a thin cot­ton or muslin fab­ric and it’ll have the same effect.
– Line the box with a plain paper back­drop. Aim for a larger size of paper so that you can curve it along the floor of the box and up the back. This will avoid any notice­able hori­zon in the back­drop. You could also hang a pretty fab­ric or dec­o­rate the inside of your box with bunting and props.
– Posi­tion the lamps at either side, or from the top of the box if you only have one.

You may need to line the box with white paper first any­way to cut down on the orange-y box glow. You can use a reflec­tive mate­r­ial such as tin­foil, or mir­rors to work the light into awk­ward cor­ners around your item.
The essen­tial part to this set-up is day­light bulbs. Nor­mal bulbs will result in an orangey glow in the final pic­ture. You can coun­ter­act this a lit­tle by set­ting the white bal­ance on your cam­era to tung­sten (arti­fi­cial light­bulb), but it won’t look as good as day­light bulbs.
Have a play with props, styling and back­drops to really bring out the char­ac­ter in your prod­ucts. I hope this is use­ful and let me know if you have any top tips your­self — what do you use to pho­to­graph your own items?

  1. […] treat to play with over the week­end. A while ago I shared with you some tips for mak­ing a DIY light-box at home. I wanted to expand on this a lit­tle and share some ‘post-production’ tips that […]

  2. 20 December 2012, 6:27 am

    Many Thanks for post­ing DIY: Mak­ing a light­box for prod­uct pho­tog­ra­phy, I was
    seek­ing for some­thing sim­i­lar and was happy to find the infor­ma­tion as a
    result of this post.

  3. Rachael 1 November 2013, 4:25 pm

    Thank you so much for this — it’s lovely when peo­ple share qual­ity infor­ma­tion like this. It’s very much appre­ci­ated. I will also be sharing :-)

  4. Blog Love 26 January 2014, 7:30 pm

    […] Jes­sica demon­strates how to cre­ate a DIY light­box for prod­uct pho­tog­ra­phy »> […]

  5. Bruninho 20 April 2014, 5:01 pm

    Man, that looks like a job! I sure wouldn’t want to do that sevarel times a day Love your new site by the way, and it’s great to be able to leave a comment.

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