DIY Lighting Hack For Product Photography

If you are just getting started with an ecommerce business or perhaps just starting out with product photography then keeping costs to a minimum is a must.
In this How To Guide we show you exactly how you can setup fantastic portrait lights with items already lying around the home.
The portrait light is extremely popular with fashion and product photographers due to its unique lighting effects.
Usually these types of light are pretty expensive. Most basic sets retail around $100 or more. So we decided to create a ‘slightly’ cheaper version.

What You’ll Need:

  • A spare box – It needs to be roughly the same size and shape as the one in the image below.

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  • Christmas lights – White only, no multi-coloured for obvious reasons!
  • Double Sided Tape & Single Sided Tape
  • A ruler or straight edge – For marking and cutting
  • Craft knife
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Tracing paper
  • Kitchen foil

Step 1: Mark and cut out the box

Take your box and mark out a window using the pen and ruler. A few centimetres from the edge will do for your lines. Try and keep them all roughly the same distance from the edge.

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Carefully cut along the straight edge with your craft knife. You are looking to make a window in the box where the light will illuminate from.

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Don’t throw away the cut out piece of card.

Step 2: Cut Out The Tracing Paper To Fit

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We can use it as a template to mark out the tracing paper.

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Cut out the tracing paper so it is large enough to cover the window in the box.

Step 3: Create A Hole For Your Lights

Next we need to make a hole in the side of the box using a screwdriver if you have one available. The hole is so we can thread through the lead for the Christmas lights.

Step 4: Attach Your Foil To The Box

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We need to use the tin foil as a backer, to increase the volume of light. Place the foil over the open box. Push the foil down so it fits snuggly into the corners of the inside. Once the foil has been ‘marked’, remove it from the box.

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We need to place strips of double sided tape inside the box to fix the foil in place.

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Place the foil back on top, pushing it down onto the tape so it fixes in place.

Step 6: Attach Your Tracing Paper

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Place the sheet of tracing paper we cut out previously on the inside of the box lid.

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Tape the tracing paper to the lid. Make sure its single sided tape you use!

Step 7: Add Your Lights

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Place the Christmas lights inside the box. Spread them evenly around so you will get an even amount of light displaying through. Push the light lead through the hole and connect it up to your plug.

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Test out the lights to see if the lights are spread evenly. Move them around until you are happy.

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Close the lid and there you have your completed lightbox.

Step 8: (Optional) Attach Your Light Box To A Stand


To create height you can add an adjustable stand, simply fix it with tape on the back of the box.

Lets’ see the results:


There is no reason why this low cost setup cannot match even some of the most expensive lighting sets. It’s quick and easy to setup. Even if you don’t have a set of white Christmas lights you can pick them up from your local dollar store or Ebay. Simple right?

Want to see this portrait light in action? You can watch the full tutorial of Gorky M {GMax Studios} below:

There you go! What’s your experience in making this lighting setup? We’re excited to know! Let us know in the comments section below.

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