Light Box for Photographing Jewelry

by Pamela Lo Piccolo.
(Bella Piazza Hand Crafted Jewelry)

Light box for photographing jewelry, made by Pamela Lo Piccolo

When I first starting taking pictures of my jewelry, I was taking the picture too far away and couldn’t quite get the right light.

It was time to learn something about all those features on my camera like the Macro feature and White Balance.

If your camera has these features, use them! They make a world of difference.

Taking photographs at night and getting a good picture was impossible before my light box.

But now with my homemade light box, I don’t have to wait for the sun to come up.

How to
Make a Homemade Light Box

I made my light box from foam board and tissue paper.

The tissue paper is taped on both sides where I cut out the foam board.

Desk lights were placed on each side and one on top.

This inexpensive light box costs about $6.00 (plus lamps) and I made it in 2 hours.

Depending on the time of day and shadows, I might turn on just one light or all three.

Taking pictures against a white background requires a White Balance test on your camera.

For more color in some pictures, I often use a piece of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper as a background.

Pamela Lo Piccolo

Bella Piazza Designs


DIY Light Box for Photography
by: Rena

Pamela, thanks so much for posting this great do-it-yourself project!

Being able to photograph jewelry at night or on really cloudy days is a huge help to many of us.

Thank you for sharing such an affordable, do-able way to create a light box.

This is what we need!
by: Maria Hansford

Thank you for sharing this great idea!
It is economical and functional.
I often ask friends or pay for professional pictures of my jewelry…..but now I am going to build a light box and give it a try!!
Great article!!!

Maria Hansford
The Treasure Chest

thanks for the idea
by: nupur arora

wow! what a great idea! will surely implement it and let you know!

Light Bulbs
by: Walter

Nice instructions for building the Light Box.
I have a question about lighting, several really

What kinds of bulbs do you use?

What is the wattage?

What is the color balance of your lighting?

I am having difficulty a true color for gemstones

Does anybody have types?

Thank you everyone for your feedback!
by: Pamela

I hope I have helped at least one person with photographing their craft. For jewelry photography, I have found that moving my lights around and directing them through the tissue at different angles will affect the sparkle of certain pieces (especially the Swarovski cyrstals). As for light bulbs, I had read somewhere on the web to use full spectrum lightbulbs. I bought these at $4.00 a piece and found they do not make any difference. I now use regular 40-60 watt light bulbs. I would like to add that once I take my photo I do touch them up with the “auto-correct” feature in my computer software program when I view all my photo shots. I take about 10 shots at different angles and depths and then I use the best 5 for my online Etsy shop.

by: Anonymous

Thanks Pamela for sharing.

Great light box!
by: Tricia – Bead Booty

I love your idea of using foam board to construct your box. It looks much stronger than cardboard. I bought a “professional” light box with backgrounds and lights and stuff but have packed it up to be resold. I hate it! It didn’t work half as well as the cardboard box and tissue paper I originally used.

Your foam board lightbox has sparked a fire in me to follow suit. Thanks for sharing Pamela!

P.S. Your jewelry is beautiful and your photos are great!

Thank you for such a great guide
by: Minh

i am currently helping my family to run the jewelry store, Thanks to your guide now i can save some money!

fantastic idea
by: salma

this is a brilliant idea specially when i am in the UK and the weather is so horrid, i love taking pictures and this will work great for me.

thank you for sharing

Light Box
by: Designs by Love

Thank-you so much, sounds and looks great, I’m about to try it, I’ll write back..

light box
by: Anonymous

I do not see actual instructions for the light box…are they hiding somewhere?

Light Box
by: Designs by Love

I tried it, your idea works beautifully! Thanks for Gimp 2 also, its great..

This is the nicest DIY Lightbox
by: Jeane

I found a few others and decided to make one. It called for a cardboard box that you covered in white tape and white material. It works but was messy looking. Yours looks professional and clean and I love it. I will be making this one this week. Thanks!

This would be perfect for me
by: Joyce

This looks great, I’d like to make one, where are the instructions?

Lightbox instructions
by: Pamela

Thank you all for your feedback on the lightbox. I seem to have failed to include exact instructions.

Basically, YOU decide how big you want your lightbox based on how much room you have. Then cut your foamboard into 4 pieces (3 sides: left, right and back and 1 bottom) Then cut out a large piece out of the left and right sides leaving about 2″ around the outside for stability on the side pieces. This is where you will tape your tissue paper so the lights will shine thru. Then glue the sides on to the back piece then glue them all to the bottom. Then tape your tissue paper to the outside of both the left and right. Your light box doesn’t need a top. Then place small desk lights on each side (the lights that can flex and move are best so you can adjust where the light shine. Your lightbox can be as high or as deep as you want. My suggestion is don’t make it too small. It makes it harder to get your arms in to take the pictures. Mine is about 24″ wide and 24″ tall.

Sorry to take so long in getting back to everyone! We recently moved and I’m just now getting to the emails!

Let me know how your lightbox came out or if you need more help.

You’re a generous person, Pamela!
by: Anonymous

I made your light box with one adjustment: I cut out the bottom and used tissue and a pane of glass for under lighting. With all the money I saved in construction (photo tents run $140 – $600) I invested in some halogen bulbs (12.00 ea) and a light sensor that pops the lights when I take a picture so the lights aren’t constantly on … oh, and a cheapie $6 tripod at Albertson’s for my camera to reduce shake when shooting macro lens. Now I’m taking a ton of pics of my jewelry line to post on my new etsy store and hope to have it ready by October to catch the holiday sales! Thanks so much for the wonderful and cheap idea, Pamela.

Bridge & Buckle

Thank You!
by: Jersey Girl 50

Thank you so much, not only for the great instructions, ideas and tips, but for the fantastic WEB site it’s presented on.

Great Job! I can tell that like me, you’re a multi-faceted jewel of person!

Best Wishes,

Jersey Girl 50

Thank you so much.
by: Johanna

Thank you so much for sharing this great idea. I was having so much trouble taking photos at night as well. This will just make things so much easier because it was just getting so frustrating. Thanks again. ^_^

Thank you!
by: Anonymous

This is an awesome idea, and I appreciate you sharing it with others!


Bringing in the New Year
by: Anonymous

i am so glad I was able to help so many of you get started with your handmade light boxes! I now have a brand new online shop and I plan to post new ideas and share what I’ve learned on my blog as I take my journey through the jewelry design world with you. Please follow me on my blog in 2011 for more tips and experiences at and GOOD LUCK in 2011 and HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you…. Pamela

Life saver!!!!
by: Chrysta

I gave up on trying to sell my jewelry online a while ago. I would snap over 40 pictures of the same piece of jewelry and it never looked like it did in real life. I remember crying in frustration because I couldn’t figure out why I had such a retarded camera (turns out the camera’s not the culprit!) I found this article earlier today, went to Michaels, grabbed the supplies, and can’t believe how wonderful it is! My pictures look so good and my pieces are now as pretty on picture as they are in real life!
Thank you so much for posting this, I’ll be sure to cut you in on my first million!!!!!!!!!

White Balance
by: Pamela

Chrysta… Thanks for your reply. How wonderful that you have found some new inspiration. I hope you are using the White balance feature on your camera. Without it, your backgrounds may come out tinged pink (especially if your taking a picture of a blue item).

To all who are using their new lightbox, I just want to say that my best pictures are still the ones I take outside in the shade on a sunny day. The colors in my jewelry are truer than true when taken outside. Unfortunately, the sun does not always cooperate here in sunny California. Especially lately!

Happy New Year to all!

Balance Colors
by: Anonymous

To get rid of the unwanted tinge of pink you can always add a black item in the photo and then crop it out afterwards. Once you touch up your photos the black will balance the colors no matter what you are using!

by: Anonymous

When u say tissue, does it mean kitchen paper towel or kleenex. Please advice. Thanks.

Tissue ?
by: Pamela

In response to the question re. tissue, I built my lightbox using white tissue paper. It allows the light to shine through somewhat difused. Hope this helps.

White Balance…
by: ChattyCat

Thanks so much for this simple way to build a light box…I even have the same light you’re using!

I have always taken my jewelry pics in natural light, but like you, I’d like to change the “being held hostage by the daylight” thing!

I would like to know more about the white balance you mentioned. I have the macro down, but was never sure about the white balance thing. Could you elaborate a little on that? Thanks so much for any help…

Chatty Cat’s

White Balance Feature
by: Bella Piazza

Hi Chatty Cats,
Check your camera manual and see if your camera has a white balance feature. With my camera (Powershot A630) it’s under the function settings. Once in that mode, I press the menu key while pointing at the entire white background with the lighting conditions I’m shooting in. (in my case I use the background of my lightbox with my lights on).
When you set the white balance, you are telling the camera what kind of lighting/conditions you are shooting in and it will correct the colors for you. Take a picture with and without the white balance on. You’ll see the dramatic difference it makes. I know nothing about photography but this I do know makes a big difference. Look forward to a followup from you.

by: Anonymous

Does the white backround of the light box work with all Jewelry? As far as contrast?

Gypsy Girl Jewelry

by: Roxy Lentz

I just got a Canon Powershot sx30 is, and can’t wait to take pictures of my jewelry for the web. look for me at in the future, once I get this down pat.

Once someone came to my house to take photos of my jewelry, and he had to make a lightbox there, since he usually took photos of people. he used wax paper for background, he hung the necklace on fish line, and put wax paper in the background, because it comes on a roll,so it wouldn’t have creases, etc. it looked great.

Light box instructions
by: Sarah

Thank you Pamela for the instruction to make a light box and a list of materials to buy. You are a kind person to share such precious information. I greatly appreciate your kindness and assistances.

Thank You
by: Augustine Fernandes

This is a great suggestion, saves a lot of money and time, makes life easier.

by: LEE

Hi there,

Where do you buy the foam board and tissue paper?

Where to get the supplies
by: Anonymous

Foam board and tissue paper are always available and most arts and crafts stores (i.e., Michaels). My local grocery store also carrys these items in the card section.

Pamela’s Blog
by: Pamela

Hello world!

Hope you’re enjoying your new light boxes. I see I have directed some of you to the incorrect address for my blog.

My lightbox article can be found on my blog as well as other tips including craft shows. I will post new articles to my blog occasionally as I learn new tips and would love new followers. Here’s the correct address:

Good luck to all of you in your jewelry making ventures!


Thanks for your new link, Pamela!
by: Rena

Thank you for posting your updated blog link, Pamela! I’ve just added it above, in your signature at the end of your article.

You’ve helped so many people with this great light box project – thanks so much for sharing it with us here. 🙂

Light BOx,
by: Anonymous

thank you so much. We try to find something.

great DIY
by: tiana

Thank you for this wonderful idea. I will make it this weekend.
nice DIY light box
by: nyoman musdina

thank you very much for sharing. the idea looks perfect and very simple.

Light box
by: Linda

Thank you so much for sharing. I have a small light box I purchased a couple years back, but my pictures still aren’t very good. But it has a top on it and the back is blue. I am going to take the top off and use it for the back because its the same material as sides. Then i can shine a light over head. Hopefully that will help. And I just learned about the macro setting but didn’t know about the white balance so I am going to try that too. If I could learn to take great pics maybe I wouldn’t dread this part of my jewelry business so much. Thank you for the tips.

Outdoor pictures
by: Nanasboyz

When you make your pictures outside what do you put your jewelry pieces on and what do you use for a background? Further referencing what you put your jewelry on – do you use a small table, a card table or something else? Do you use a white board as a background and do you place the pieces on display stands of just lay them on a contrasting cloth or bead mat?

Thank you so much for the light box instructions. Like another post said I went straight to Michaels and got the foamboard – even on sale – half price!

Outdoor Pictures
by: Pamela

Dear Nanasboyz,

I have used many items as backgrounds depending on the color of the design and the item I’m photographing (i.e., is it a long necklace or just a set of earrings. I’ve used rocks, paper, plantstands, leaves, even a glass table top. I have even used scrapbooking paper that has a real photo image of the ocean to photograph a double strand necklace of fresh water pearls which you can see in my online Etsy shop accessible from my blog. I took the photograph of this necklace both outside on top of a table, in the shade and the sunlight. The key is to make your jewelry stand out against the backdrop or background, Textured cloth is a great idea and you can even add interesting items along side the item if that’s what you prefer. Sometimes, the items may simple serve a purpose (i.e., hanging a pair of earrings from a plantstand or a twig on a branch!). Don’t be afraid of just experimenting with shade, sun, and different backdrops. Digital cameras are so forgiving! Just delete and retake as needed : )

Good luck and I hope I’ve given you some ideas that stir the creative mind. Have fun with it!

by: Anonymous

Do you have some examples of the photos you’ve taken with your light box?

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