5 Steps to Making Your Own Light Box

Photographers love to have control over their light, and light boxes are one of their favorite tools. Light boxes or soft boxes are comprised of four parts: right, poles, box and diffusion. They allow you to diffusion your light while still having some control over the direction. Different lights require different sized soft boxes, and it could get expensive to rent or buy one.

Here are some simple steps that will let you make your own homemade version of one if you can't get one.

Step 1: Gather the Materials you Need

  • A few Sheets of Black and White Foamcore (Thick Poster board): This is your box. The white side will be for bouncing light in the box. The black side is so your box does not end up bouncing light on the outside.
  • 2" Black Paper Tape: These are your "poles" to hold everything in place. Again, it's black so it won't bounce light.
  • A Light Stand: This will hold it in place. It will be to heavy to securely directly attach otherwise to the light. Maybe sure they is some way for it to securely hold the box. You may need some hardware.
  • Diffusion Material: This could be anything from silk, a roll of white diffusion from a camera shop, cloth, or even a shower curtain. If you can shine a light through it and get soft light at the color you want then you could use it.
  • Black Wrap: This is black aluminum foil that can be very helpful in situations where you have to shape light and improvise. 

Step 2: Assemble the Box

Cut the foamcore into four equal pieces. This is your box. Take two piece and join them at a ninety degree angle with the white on the inside. Secure the two pieces together with the tape.

Do the same thing on the other two pieces. Then, take two pieces and join them into a box. Connect with tape.

Step 3: Add the Diffusion

You can make this your last step if you're not sure on what diffusion you're going to use. Otherwise, tape the diffusion to one of the open sides.

Step 4: Place the Box on the Light

Attach your light to the stand and place it in front of the light.

Step 5: Kill the Spill

Your box will not fit on the light completely, so you want to cover any gaps between the diffusion and light source with black wrap.

You now have a simple soft box for your shoot that will work almost as good as the expensive ones.


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