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How To Use A Photo Light Box Or Photo Tent

Updated on August 11, 2012

Photo Gadgets: How To Use a Photo Light Box or Photo Light Box Tent

It seems there are a million photo gadgets for the professional or the recreational photographer these days.  Having just picked up the shutter 'bug' a year ago and having become addicted to taking my own digital images, I've browsed for quite a few things to enhance my photography skills.

One particular aspect of digital photography that I noticed was that many images are crystal clear in terms of background distractions and the light seems to be perfect.  I was curious enough to start investigating how to achieve these effects for my own digital pictures.

On researching a bit, I discovered in the vast sea of photo gadgets one that would forever change my photography technique.  This will not apply for every kind of photography of course, but it does suit for stills.

Let's explore how to use a photo light box or a photo light box tent and how having one of these photo gadgets can really enhance your photography skills, whether digital or regular!

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public domain image | Source

Photo Gadgets - Using a Photo Light Box or Photo Light Box Tent

I didn't really know that these tools existed until I started doing a little research. I found numerous kinds on-line and really lucked out when I saw a professional set of 2 light boxes that came with a carrying case, a heavy duty tripod, and 2 professional lights for one-third of the original price. It was too good a deal to pass up.


Since my purchase, I've been experimenting with the light boxes and the different backgrounds. I am still just a novice but I think with more practice, these light boxes will be a great photo gadget to have in my tool kit when it comes to digital photography.

What Does a Photo Light Box or Photo Light Box Tent Do?

  • Assures even lighting so not too dark and not too bright
  • Harsh direct light most often does not make for great photos - digital or regular
  • A photo light box or photo light box tent allows you to photograph small objects like jewelry
  • Minimizes or eliminates glare because it is in a contained area with no reflections
  • Photo light boxes and photo light box tents are portable
  • They can be expanded and then stored flat for later use
  • Using a photo light box or a photo light box tent eliminates outside objects from photo
  • Lighting is changeable - you can add light or take it away or you can move it wherever it is more appropriate
  • You can change background colors and textures using a photo light box or photo light box tent using whatever background and color most enhances the object you are shooting

Making Your Own Photo Light Box

There are several websites explaining about photo light boxes and how to use a photo light box or a photo light box tent.

Making your own photo light box is also very easy and there are several great resources to use to make your own. Most light boxes can be made for under $10!

All You Need To Make Your Own Photo Light Box

  • Cardboard box
  • Craft knife
  • Masking tape or packing tape
  • White fabric or paper
  • Different fabrics or different color papers for other backgrounds if desired
  • Poster board in white or other colors
  • Tissue paper if desired
  • Lighting source (optional)


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all photos by Audrey Kirchner
all photos by Audrey Kirchner
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in light box
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in light box
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different colored liners
different colored liners
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large tent
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Things to Photograph in a Photo Light Box or Photo Light Box Tent

There are many things you can shoot using your photo light box or photo light box tent.  Here are some of my ideas:

  • Food shots for recipes
  • Stuffed animals or toys
  • Flowers
  • Figurines
  • Jewelry
  • Ingredients for recipes
  • Components or objects you want to highlight
  • Books
  • CD's
  • Computers
  • Wine glasses or other tableware
  • Place settings
  • Anything that will fit inside the photo light box or photo light box tent!

By making your own photo light box, you can leave one side completely open so that you can just set the box over an object rather than placing the object inside.  You will still have the benefit of the background and lighting, filtering of glare, outside distracting objects, etc., but you have the option then of fitting the box over the object if it is unmovable - or you just want a different shot.

Photo Gadgets - How to Use a Photo Light Box or a Photo Light Box Tent

If you're a budding photographer or you know someone who loves to take pictures, a photo light box or a photo light box tent is a great investment, whether you buy it already made (which is easier of course) or you make it yourself (still very doable and easily constructed).

There are all different sizes and textures of photo light boxes and tents and many different backgrounds and fabrics as well.

The set that I bought came with 4 inserts plus a 'sleeve' type of covering in white for each of the 2 photo light boxes, 1 large and 1 small.

Each background fabric piece for the photo light box (red, blue, white and black) has a smooth surface and each has a velvet surface. Depending on what you want your look to be in the photo, you can select the appropriate background surface and color.

The background pieces attach by Velcro and the photo light boxes or light box tents can be turned many different ways.  They can be lit from the side or from behind or above with any number of light sources.

See the videos for more ideas on how to use a photo light box or a photo light box tent.

Check one out and see if you don't think that a photo light box or a photo light box tent is a great photo gadget!

How to Fold a Photo Light Box

How to Use 2 Side Lights with a Round Photo Light Box Tent

Using Photo Light Boxes or Photo Light Box Tents

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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      5 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Anjo and TopTen - enjoy~!

    • toptenluxury profile image

      Adrian Cloute 

      5 years ago from Cedartown, GA

      I have a Canon T3i. I'm going to have to try this. Thanks for the great information! Voted up!

    • Anjo Bacarisas II profile image

      Anjo Bacarisas II 

      6 years ago from Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

      Very useful kind of hub. I got practicable solution for my interests. Thank you! :)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks for stopping by HH and for the read!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      I have learned a lot although I will never use it but it was very interesting.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Nell - Now if I could just figure out how to get my DOGS into one! I need a very big box and I guess I could make one....but I have a feeling it might need more than tissue paper on it!!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Hi, Audrey, such a simple idea, but what a brilliant one! not only for the light, but to cut out the background, I gotta get me one of these! great hub, rated up! cheers nell

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Crewman6 for adding your comment as well - it really does give your photos a nice professional and 'isolated' appearance. I probably would have made my own too but I was impatient to try one out!

    • Crewman6 profile image

      Crewman6 

      8 years ago

      Monique and I use one to shoot our Hallmark ornaments for ebay. Wonderful idea, and a great way to improve the quality of our photos. I love your suggestions for do-it-yourself; that never occurred to me, we just went for a store-bought model.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks for stopping by, Chris and yes, it really does help - now if I could just figure out how to get my malamutes inside the box! Wouldn't that be cool?

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Wow... I can see the value of one of those ... closeup photography becomes so much easier, with better results. Cool!!!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks for stopping by, Micky - glad to be of help - they really are a slick little tool and I had no idea!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      I had a friend decades ago who made a beautiful, but bigger "box" for wedding pictures with blue cloth from a fabric shop. Excellent post! I'll be using this info. Thank you Ma'am.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      BJ - I hear you - what the heck did we do before we had all these blasted gadgets? I spend half my time trying to figure out what would work best for what....but truth be told, I actually had a heart attack when I unwrapped my photo light box.

      It was much like the spoon that you put to the biscuit package....I twisted it and it basically exploded on me. I screamed, the dogs jumped out of their malamute socks and my husband doubled over in laughter. If only he had a video of it, we'd be rich. I thought I was shot through the heart with an exploding camera tent. So much for technology!

      Pamela - Hope you try it - I'm still learning but it is kinda fun!!

      Lakeerieartists - Thanks so much for stopping in. You are exactly right - it is all about learning to use it. I actually had to email the company on how to open it - see above! What a total moron!! However, then I started looking at the youtube things and messing around with it - that's all it takes and I have no DOUBT you will do fabulously. Glad we can share our 'learn as you go'....kinda like life!

    • lakeerieartists profile image

      Paula Atwell 

      8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Thank you for this wonderful and thorough explanation. I actually have one of these light boxes for taking pictures for my gallery, but have never learned to use it right. So I am going to really study this hub. Bookmarked for lots of referencing. :)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Audry, I have never done this before so I bookmarked the page for future reference as I would like to try. Great instruction. Rated up.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Speaking of cellphones, I'm so busy taking photos as you suggested, searching for and installing new apps, checking my email, and text messaging, I don't have any time for phone calls any more. I have even forgotten how to make calls - evidence of my ever-growing CRS - Can't Remember S%@t.

      But when the need to fashion a photo light box surfaces, I fervently promise to remember to refer to this magnificent hub of explanatory exposition regarding same.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Darlene - you can even use your cell phone if you have one!

      Samsons1 - Thanks so much!

    • samsons1 profile image

      Sam 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      voted up & beautiful! Well written, informative and concise...

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Thank you for your most informative hub, great information and I sure wish I had a camara...your fan and friend, darski

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