Make Your Own Light Box

by Rena Klingenberg.

make your own lightbox

You can make your own light box or photo tent to use with lamps for photographing your jewelry.

The light box or tent filters the light, preventing glare and reflections on your jewels.

You can buy commercially-made boxes and tents for photographing jewelry, but they can be expensive.

A Roundup of Ideas for
Making a Light Box / Photo Tent

Here are some clever ideas for making your own – using everyday items, for free or cheap:

In Light Box for Photographing Jewelry, Pamela Lo Piccolo shows how she created one from foam board and tissue paper:

And in Cheap and Easy Jewelry Photography Studio Cheryl Coccaro demonstrates how she uses a translucent plastic file box as a photo tent:

Here are some other household items you can use to filter the light for your jewelry photos:

White translucent plastic containers

Like Cheryl’s file box, nearly any white frosted or semi-transparent plastic container can be used to filter your lights. Be on the lookout for:

    • organizer / storage tubs and bins
    • large food storage containers
    • Rubbermaid-type boxes
    • Plastic product packaging, like an empty gallon-size plastic jug (such as milk, juice, or vinegar come in), that can be cut to form a mini-photo tent for photographing small items.

Check your own kitchen, closets, garage, and basement for plastic items like these.

Also scout out thrift stores, yard sales, or your local dollar store, home improvement store, or Walmart / Target type of store.

White translucent fabric

You can also make your own light box without actually using any sort of box setup.

Simply devise a way to hang some translucent white fabric between your lights and your jewelry.

White fabrics to consider:

        • a bed sheet
        • a T-shirt
        • muslin
        • thin nylon
        • gauze
        • a thin white lampshade.

Or use a collapsible white nylon clothes hamper. These are often found in the laundry supply area of stores.

White translucent paper

You also filter your lights with a thin white paper, such as:

        • tracing paper
        • tissue paper
        • vellum.

About Your
Light Bulbs and Lamps

Caution:

Depending on the light bulbs you use, they may get extremely hot – hotter than regular lamp lights. Please be very careful not to burn yourself on your lamps or bulbs.

And when filtering your light, don’t place your fabrics, papers, or other flammable items too close to your lights.

When using artificial light for your jewelry photos, you’ll get the best results with some sort of natural daylight bulbs.

See Light Bulbs for Photographing Jewelry for bulb and lamp recommendations.

Comments:

Making your own light box
by: Katie

Great! So much cheaper than purchasing a professional photography light box. It’d be nice to have the real deal, but I’d rather save my money and do it cheaper by making my own. Will be making my light box this week!

Framework for the lightbox
by: Alexis

Shopping one afternoon I was looking at shadow boxes when I came upon a display box that met my needs. It was sold as a glass enclosed framework for displaying a trophy basketball! I took it apart removing all the glass (12″x12″x12″)and found that not only the size but the original frame allowed me to tape tracing paper, drape fabric or place a floor and or background where I needed it. Another advantage was the ability to hang and or stabilize the jewelry in mid-air using fishing line to give it the floating effect. Minimal effort is required to delete or touch up the line from your photograph using you photo software. Good luck!

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Comments

  1. The info in this article is great…but what I really want to know about is THAT BRACELET in the top photo! It is stunning!

  2. Hi Shelley – thanks for your lovely feedback! The bracelet at the top is a stock photo that I loved so much I purchased it to use in this post as an example of stunning jewelry photography! The off-center composition of the image is very artistic. I agree, it’s a fabulous piece of jewelry and a striking photo – and unfortunately the photo didn’t come with any indication of who made the bracelet.

  3. I LOVE these tips. We usually photograph outside but this is great when we just want to feature the item. Thank you!

  4. You’re very welcome, Lynn! I’m so glad to hear you’re finding them helpful! I try to do things inexpensively and with items I have on hand whenever possible (that’s often a fun creative challenge in itself)! :)

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