How To Make A Light box

190 comments

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Last week, we built a light box!

Ok, I’ll be honest. Eric built the light box and I took the step by step pictures…

Light boxes have been all over the food blog world and while I loved the idea of them, I could never see myself building and storing one in the house. I get really intimidated by ‘do-it-yourself’ projects that involve anything outside of my domain (the kitchen).

This is where my DIY husband comes into play.

Eric and I started talking about light boxes one night, after looking at Ashley’s tutorial, and Eric convinced me that he could make one for me in under 2 hours. It was almost a dare. To himself.

I think he was secretly looking for a project that did not involve installing new door handles, but that is another story. I’m not a girl to pass up an offer, so off we were to Home Depot to gather a few supplies!

However, I feared that bad, bad things were looming ahead. [Never admit this out loud to your DIY husband.]

What You’ll Need:

  • A large cardboard box (medium might work too if you need it smaller!)
  • Duct Tape
  • White tissue paper or white fabric (we used a tablecloth cut up)
  • X-Acto knife (I laughed SO hard when I found out how to spell this word!!)
  • 3 Daylight bulbs — 100 watt
  • 3 utility lamps w/ clamp bottoms (we used 10 inch)
  • Fabric or paper for backdrop
  • 3-outlet extension cord
  • SKETCHIE! (for your entertainment)
  • Possibly other things I’m forgetting

 

Using this awesome how-to from Ashley, we gathered our supplies and were on our way!

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Grab a large box.

Buy a large box if all your boxes are beat up from a recent move.

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Wheeeee. Now I know why Sketchie loves these things…

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Secure bottom with duct tape.

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Tempt kitty cat with box until he cannot take it any longer.

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Sketchie STAY.

Sketchie SIT.

Add a ruler to the mix and watch kitty cat swat ruler.

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BAD KITTY.

When kitty cat can no longer resist, watch him enter the box and sniff corner when you aren’t ‘looking’.

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What is he smelling? Or is he spying on Eric through the hole?

Now, is the least fun part of the entire process (to watch). Eric tells me it is also the least fun part to do…

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You must measure and cut the edges of 3 sides of the box to create 3 rectangles. (Sorry that just made no sense at all). Cut 3 rectangles (better?).

Eric left a 2 inch border.

Allow kitty cat to inspect your work to assure quality control.

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Keep going…(Sketchie is getting BORED…we’re losing him! Is he asleep standing up?)

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Sketchie says, ‘Unfortunately this does not look level. #fail’

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You now have 3 rectangles cut out- right side, top, and left side. Taped bottom remains intact (this is your background).

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Sketchie does not enjoy boxes with holes. Can you see the heartbreak in his face?

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We win.

Cut off the box ‘flaps’…

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Grab something white to drape over the 3 rectangles. We used a white tablecloth, but I hear you can use tissue paper too. Whatever you use, make sure it will diffuse the light entering the box. This will prevent harsh shadows and direct light.

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When the tablecloth came out, Sketchie started to have fun again!

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He loves to hide under things and jump out at us. (I’m not sure he knew that I could see him through the hole.)

Tape edges to secure.

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Oops, I cut off his head.

Eric is doing a great job!! Cheers, applause, make him a tea, massage his back.

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Almost there…

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You can do it!

Eric cut a bit of fabric off the top rear of the box…if that makes any sense. Didn’t think so.

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Then he cut a SLIT into the rear (are we still talking about a light box?) with the idea that we could ‘drop down’ different backgrounds into the slit.

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I really have no idea what I’m talking about at this point. Just go with it.

I dropped down some pink Bristol board through the slit to test it out. It worked pretty well.

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Eric attached 10 inch work lights to chairs…one for the right, one for the left, and one above. You need a total of 3 work lights with clamps. We bought ours at Home Depot for $20, but I assume you can find them cheaper elsewhere. I’m pretty sure we got ripped off! Impulse buy.

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Thanks for the great tutorial Ashley!

Here are some of the first shots I took with the box…

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The pink background is a bit much, but this illustrates that light boxes are great for ‘product photography’; in other words, shots of single items that you want to stand out.

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The next day, guess who I found sleeping in his warming hut? He tried to tell me he was on a tropical beach.

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It actually worked out, because Sketchie got his very first ‘professional’ headshots!

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The heat from the lamps made him veeeeery sleepy.

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I’m a model, ya know what I mean. And I do my little turn on the cat walk…

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So, what do I think of the light box?

Well, first of all, I think Eric did a fantastic job! It is very professional and sturdy. He made the entire thing in about 1 hour and 45 minutes too.

Swoon.

As for the pictures, I find that my pictures are definitely better than normal night time shots.

Here is a comparison of two non-edited photographs:

A) Normal nighttime ‘yellow’ lighting on the stove top:

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B) Light Box shot:

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The difference is huge!

The light box shot looks more like natural light, whereas the first shot is very yellow and not pleasing to the eye.

I shoot in RAW format and I use Adobe Lightroom to edit my photos, so I wanted to show you what I can do to help improve the look of a bad photo with basic photo editing.

A) Night time yellow photograph, EDITED = I increased the exposure, brightness, clarity, and decreased the temperature (less yellow) to produce this:

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[I also usually white balance my photos, but I did not do this for these two.]

Side by side:

Before                                                                                   After

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B) Light Box Shot = EDITED. I had to increase the temperature (yellow tone) because the light box creates a very blue, washed out tone.

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Side by side:

Before                                                                                 After

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Which one is better- when edited?

In my opinion, you can barely tell the difference when looking at a night time edited photo versus a light box edited photo. Is this normal or am I not maximizing the light box’s potential? What photo do you guys prefer?

All in all, I am glad that I have the light box to play around with. I think it is great for product photography (or cats!) and it is really fun to experiment with different backgrounds and props. The cost was not as cheap as we thought it would be- it was around $70 CAD for everything we purchased, but it was still not crazy expensive for such a professional result.

After shooting with the light box over the past week, I do not think that the light box can compare to natural daylight. In my opinion, nothing beats natural light and I will always chose natural light over the light box if I have the choice! With that being said, it is a good option for night time photography.

The biggest drawback of the light box is how much space it takes up. Right now we are housing it in our unused dining room, but I really am not sure how long I will keep it there.

CLEAR. AS. MUD. ?

So there you have it, my initial review of the homemade light box. I’m sure my thoughts will change as I play around with it more and learn some news tricks. I’m not sure if I am using it correctly or maximizing its potential, so feel free to chime in.

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{ 190 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jessica @ How Sweet It Is January 26, 2011

I’m pretty sure this is how it would go in my house… he builds, I… watch. And drink wine.

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2 Amber K January 26, 2011

Same here!

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3 AGS January 26, 2011

In my house: he builds, I watch. . . he begs me to take photos. . . my photos aren’t so good. . . he has to stop, have me hold whatever it is, then *he* takes the photos. And so on!!

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4 Mary (How To Not Be...) January 26, 2011

Okay, I know nothing about photography but I am truly in awe! Your little background slit is ingenious! And of course Sketchie looks oh so pretty…

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5 Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons January 26, 2011

I watched my husband build 4 of these things (we kept going bigger!) No participation necessary =)

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6 Sabine @ thefruitpursuit January 26, 2011

hahahahah. respect.

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7 liane January 26, 2011

If I made a light box, would Sketchie magically appear in mine? Because he’s super cute!

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8 Devon January 26, 2011

I love the pink!

The photos look great! Looking forward to seeing more of your work from the box!!

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9 Katie January 26, 2011

I made one of these a coupe weeks ago, and I agree 100%. I still don’t like shooting photos in it, and I actually prefer my old “shoot all nighttime shots under the stovetop light” method. I get really blue photos in the lightbox, but I thought it was just me. Glad I’m not alone. Daytime photos are the way to go for sure!

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10 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

Im glad it is not just me too…my photos are super blue in the light box, no matter what time of day. I always have to increase the temperature of the photo.

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11 Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker January 26, 2011

I think the best way to combat that is to shoot in Raw . . . and just process the photo with warm filters, etc. I have the same issue. But if the light is there, the rest of the stuff can be fixed :)

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12 The Greek Smorgasbord January 26, 2011

This was so helpful and informative. I have seriously been debating on whether to put money into a light box, but I think I will wait while we are still living overseas (it would cost at least double). I agree with you that natural light works well, although that only leaves me a few hours each day in which I have to actually take photos!

Thanks again so much, you guys did a great job!

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13 Mary (A Merry Life) January 26, 2011

I really like the pink. :)

I saw Ashley’s tutorial and now that I’ve seen yours I think I could actually make one myself. Thanks for sharing the process!

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14 Becki @ Hike, Bike, Eat January 26, 2011

I’m lazy, so I’ll stick with regular nighttime shots, or just shoot in the natural lighting during day.

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15 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 26, 2011

I love the light box shots! It’s unbelievable what a big difference it makes, in the unedited especially.

Sketchie is the most handsome cat! I’m going to look for a kitten at the local shelters this weekend – couldn’t be more excited to have a cat again. :)

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16 Erika @ Health and Happiness in LA January 26, 2011

Hahaha I looove all the pictures of Sketchie.

I wonder, could you put something over the lights to change the color and make it less blue? I see the lighting guys do that on set, but I don’t understand all that technical stuff very well!

I think the edited photo with the light box is still a little better than the edited stovetop photo. And I think you are very lucky to have such a helpful husband :)

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17 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

I was thinking about that too. I’m sure there are some photography tools to help these things…!

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18 Nichole January 26, 2011

Nice! My cats would do the exact same thing. I was trying to put fresh sheets on the bed this evening and they were having the time of their life.

Are you by any chance going to attend Vida VeganCon (http://vidavegancon.com/)?

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19 Allie (Live Laugh Eat) January 26, 2011

Your lightbox is beautiful! I’ve been noticing some photos recently that look lightbox-ish and I must say they look great.

I made my first box in about 30 min. and it was a piece of crap. I remade one last week (a smaller one) using a white t-shirt. It’s not the best box but it’s not as big of an eyesore, so my mom doesn’t constantly want to throw it away—ha!

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20 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

bahah that is awesome. Do you find the smller one still works the way you want it to? We debated using a medium sized box but weren’t sure of the outcome.

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21 Allie (Live Laugh Eat) January 26, 2011

It’s not as glowy and sometimes you can see the sides of the box. That might just be because I haven’t gotten poster board for the inside and I’m using parchment paper…oh boy. I loved Eric’s slit idea. So smart!!

My mom called my old box a doghouse since I put it on the floor and piled my placemats and napkins inside :)

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22 Karen January 26, 2011

LOVE the lightbox. I’m totally going to make one for myself! Thanks for sharing:)

You have a dSLR, right? Have you tried messing with the White Balance? There are usually a few settings, including one for “incandescent” to help with the yellow tinge of your normal night shots. For the lightbox, you could maybe try “cloudy” or “shade” and see how that works. I love Photoshop for post-processing, but it’s always better (and a time saver) to get it right in-camera! I think if you play with the white balance a bit, you’ll definitely have more success with the lightbox overall.

And, I agree, natural light is always best if it’s available:)

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23 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

Oh yes I forgot to mention that I aso use white balance too :) In Light room, that is! I only know how to do the basic white balance, but I’ll have to see if lightroom has other options too.

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24 stephanie a. January 26, 2011

hi there : ) this comment is not about your light box (which is very cool and I think I may implement) but about your thumbprint cookies. I made them with fig jam and gave them to my friend’s husband who is recovering from lung surgery (he had cancer removed for the second time this year). his wife made one request to me, and that is when he starts chemo treatment can i please bring them some of those fig thumbprint cookies. i just wanted to drop you and line and let you know so that you know how much your blog is impacting the world…bringing happiness to at least one happy cancer patient. he even called me to thank me for them (a 70 year old man, can you imagine?)!
-steph

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25 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

Wow that is so nice! Thanks so much for sharing. I wish your friend’s husband a speedy recovery. :)

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26 Tess January 26, 2011

I actually notice a significant difference between the edited lightbox shot and the edited stovetop shot: sharpness. There is much more depth in the lightbox shot because you have light coming form multiple sources and angles. (Perhaps you can play with the white balance setting in the camera so you wouldn’t need to do as much editing?) The stovetop shot looks sort of grey and flat to me.

If you’re concerned about space you could update your box to be collapsible like this one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dpup/3457693064/

I really recommend trying off-camera flash at the stovetop. The automatic flashes (and cables/triggers) can be expensive but they are really simple to use (manual ones are cheaper but trickier). Here is a post on Smitten Kitchen about it: http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/11/our-approach-to-food-photos/ And here’s a how-to on Strobist: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

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27 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

Thanks so much for the info!

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28 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

I just went back and looked at the stove top vs lightbox and I would have to agree with you that the light box has more depth!

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29 Bethany @ More Fruit Please January 26, 2011

Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been eagerly awaiting it ever since you first hinted at a light box. I definitely like the edited light box photo better I think for the reason that you have a lighter background than the stove top. As for the actual food subject, I agree that there’s not a huge difference between the two edited versions. I would love to have a light box here in gloomy Seattle… but I could see how storage space would be the biggest issue with it!

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30 Ellie@fitforthesoul January 26, 2011

the photos are beautiful! especially Sketchie~~!! ahhhhhh he’s so cute!!!! he sure could come out in a WHISKERS commercial

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31 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

hehehe tks

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32 Sabine @ thefruitpursuit January 26, 2011

The light box is still on my to -do list. my mom and I already planned it out like this: we sit and sip tea and chat while my 15year old brother makes it single handedly ;).

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33 Diandra January 26, 2011

Forwarded this to the BF. who loves to take pictures and is constantly looking for new ways to enhance his playing. I guess I know what he will be doing next weekend… (and he will have a picture buddy over on Saturday – OH MY GOODNESS, WHAT HAVE I DONE???)

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34 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

you’ve created a monster!

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35 JL goes Vegan January 26, 2011

Yep, it takes up a lot of space! I have to keep mine up high so that cats don’t break through the parchment paper on the sides! LOL Unfortunately, most of my food photography is after work in the evening so I need an alternative to natural light. It’s working well for me.

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36 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

parchment paper is a great idea too! Stronger than tissue…

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37 Marit January 26, 2011

fantastic!
I have no space for such a contraption but i would love to have one.
I’d probably build it myself tho…
firstly i would like to reccomend that you adjust your whitebalance in your camera. most modern cameras have a setting for it and it works like magic…
second, i’d get colour-filters for the lights. these are relatively cheap and you can get different ones and play a bit with combining them to jazz up the box a bit.
also…although for light diffusion the white is perfect, a white background is very unforgiving and you might find the pictures more comfortable with a different background. your pink was spicy enough but as you’re dealing with foods there are no reasons why you can’t compliment the dishes with different textures and colours …

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38 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

Thanks for your suggestions!

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39 Jen January 26, 2011

I’m not a blogger or a photographer but that was still a really fun post!

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40 Dani @ Body By Nature January 26, 2011

Wow this is awesome! I especially love the photos of Sketchie, such a cutie!

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41 Lindsay @ The Reluctant Runner January 26, 2011

I am also intrigued by the light box, but have nowhere to store it. I really like the pictures that come out of it, they’re nice! Maybe someday when I have more space :)

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42 denise January 26, 2011

Sketchie is SO cute :) Great post. Thanks!

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43 wendy (healthy girl's kitchen) January 26, 2011

It was your post a few days ago about your lightbox that got me interested in one. I live in Cleveland OH and I work all day, so my food photography has been less than ideal for months now–very yellow–I didn’t think to edit my photos (duh!). Natural light rocks! And so does a Canon Rebel camera! Anyway, I purchased a lightbox and lights over e-bay for $60 USD and it’s on it’s way to me. Thanks for sharing your story and experiences and great advice! I especially enjoyed the kitty parts.

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44 nicole @ Making Good Choices January 26, 2011

I want to make one of these, but I have no room to store it in my NYC apartment. When I have a house I’ll get my husband to make me one! THanks for the step by step though!

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45 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 26, 2011

I shoot RAW as well, and I’ve been getting so frustrated with my photos lately. I edit them, but maybe I need to take some more time to do it!

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46 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

I know what you mean, it can be hard to get used to! Raw format really washes them out. It basically strips away a lot of the ‘good stuff’ and then you have to pump life back into the photos when editing. The bonus is that you can do this (and fix errors with lighting/exposure) and not diminish the quality of the actual photo. :)

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47 Elizabeth Holli January 26, 2011

My boyfriend built one of these for me for Christmas using Ashley’s guide! I had seen it and written it off as an impossibility (I don’t know why–I just assumed it would be too much for me LOL) but I guess he bookmarked it because it was a total surprise. I love it and use mine all the time :)

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48 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

that is so nice!!

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49 Danielle January 26, 2011

That is pretty cool! I like the the lightbox photos the best! I also like the unedited one a bit more because the tones seem more earthy, i like it!

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50 Lauren at KeepItSweet January 26, 2011

This is terrific! If I had the space, I’d definitely set up a lightbox to have as an option.

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51 Heather (Heather's Dish) January 26, 2011

i have been meaning to do this since i saw that tutorial on Ashley’s blog and just haven’t made the time…i bet if i involved the hubby we could get it done pretty quickly though ;)

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52 Marisa @ Loser for Life January 26, 2011

I made one this past weekend, too! My pics still need work because I have no idea what I am doing! LOL! Plus, point and shoot camera can only go so far, ya know?!

Your pics are always gorgeous, Angela! Light box or not!

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53 Debbie January 26, 2011

I think this was my favorite post you’ve done! It’s my favorite, not for the content, although it was interesting, but for the tone. It was fun (and funny) and I loved reading it!

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54 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

Thanks Debbie :)

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55 Erin January 26, 2011

Love the pic of Sketchie in the warming hut! Totally made me laugh!

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56 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 26, 2011

OMG Ange thank you so much for posting this!! I think I might have to embark on a little arts and crafts/DIY project soon because I could totally use one of these. And for the record, I too had NO idea that X-Acto knife was spelled like that!!

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57 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

Eric and I cracked up when we read X-Acto…I don’t think either of us had ever seen it spelled out before.

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58 Elizabeth@The Sweet Life January 26, 2011

Thanks this is so helpful–thank goodness for helpful husbands!

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59 Jessica January 26, 2011

Thanks for the tips, very handy!

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60 Liz @ Tip Top Shape January 26, 2011

I kinda agree that the edited photos look the same, but I imagine as you learn to use the lightbox better the pictures will improve? Not that they really need to improve-your pictures are always pretty good :D

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61 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

Yes that is what I’m hoping too! I also want to experiment with dif. backgrounds.

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62 Kathleen @ Kat's Health Corner January 26, 2011

I want to make one of those boxes, but I don’t know where I would put it. I love Sketchie’s model walk. :)

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63 Katy @ A Healthy Shot January 26, 2011

I know absolutely nothing about light boxes…. but I love the pictures of Sketchie :)

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64 jen @ taste life January 26, 2011

I have no idea if you’re maximzing its potential, but tell us more as you learn, please! I built a light box a month or two ago and don’t use it much because I don’t have a place to keep it set up all the time. Plus I’m still a newbie with learning camera settings and such, but it’s fun to play.

LOVE the pics of Sketchie!

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65 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

I will try to do an update :)

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66 Holly @ couchpotatoathlete January 26, 2011

Angela, this is awesome and I definitely need one! I agree that natural light is best (especially with my basic point and shoot camera) but this light box would definitely help since it gets dark before 5pm!

Sketchie is such a little ham! What a sweetie.

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67 Baking 'n' Books January 26, 2011

Great tutorial. Personally, I like all the photos. Do me even that first “yellow-ish” one is nice – it’s still “real” and “natural” because it’s where you were at the time and shot it…the whole idea of taking out food and setting it up perfectly or what not kind of freaks me out! ;)

Love Sketchie! I didn’t know that was his name. His photos are stunning.

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68 Green Dog Wine January 26, 2011

I actually laughed out loud at the “sketchie chillin” in the finished box picture. :) Pets are so dang funny – I just love it! :)

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69 Ashley January 26, 2011

Thats so cool! But it is kind of bulky, I don’t think I could fit it in my tiny room, I’ll stick with the window sill for now.

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70 Camille January 26, 2011

Oh my gosh, thank you so so so much for this!
As soon as I get my man to finish drawing my new header, I am recruiting him for this :)

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71 Stacie @ Imperfectly Healthy January 26, 2011

Ha, so funny that you blogged this today because my husband is thinking up plans to build me a lightbox too! We actually went to Lowe’s yesterday so he could price everything! I’ll have to show him this post!

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72 JenATX January 26, 2011

sketchie is gorgeous, although you already knew that!
and the lightbox definitely does make a huge difference, in the first picture I thought I was looking at corn! Then I realized its supposed to be chickpeas haha

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73 Meredith January 26, 2011

lol you’re hilarious. $70 isn’t so bad when you consider it does double-duty as a lightbox AND a kitty dream house!

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74 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

I love the way you think!

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75 Quisha January 26, 2011

Wow, he is quite the handy guy. I used to read his blog too. Is it still up?
Sketchie looks amazing. Aww :)

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76 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

haha nope he decided not to pursue it for lack of time

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77 Beth @ DiningAndDishing January 26, 2011

Thanks for this post Angela! I was wondering how to build one of these as well as what sort of difference it makes. I totally agree though – nothing can beat natural light when it comes to good photography!

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78 Sruthi @ Exercise, Food & Beyond January 26, 2011

Thanks for this post, I have been thinking of making a light box for a while, this post is very informative and I guess I can make one now. I would also prefer natural light, but the problem is I do all my cooking in the evening after work and by the time I finish cooking it gets dark and my pictures look terrible.

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79 Carrie S. January 26, 2011

Looks like Sketchie made an awesome foreman for this project! You should get him a little hard hat to make it official (just picture it. Hilarious!). Most of my home projects are supervised/assisted by cats as well. They’d be much more helpful if they had opposable thumbs though, hehe :-D. Great tutorial.

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80 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

haha very true indeed

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81 Alex @ Healing Beauty January 26, 2011

Wow! It’s amazing how much the light box changes the quality of the picture! I want one! :D

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82 Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker January 26, 2011

Great job, you two!!! :) Loved seeing your pics of the process. And glad you’re liking it. It’s definitely a life-saver in the winter — right?!

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83 noelle January 26, 2011

That cat is a mess! SO fun and a great post.

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84 Allison @ Food For Healing January 26, 2011

i love lightboxes, its a must when doing sweet food photog when you have limited natural light, like me in a small apartment and living in canada with long winters.
i need to beef up my light box though, i only have one lamp. i think ill do that sometime in february.

my cat is strangely attracted to the light box too! she likes to try sneak her way in

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85 Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes January 26, 2011

Those pics look amazing…I need me a light box!

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86 Shanna January 26, 2011

Tell Eric he can build one for me ;)

Sketchie makes a lovely model!

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87 Lauren January 26, 2011

The cat commentary was worth it, I adore Sketchie! If you have a basement you can keep it there for when u need it?

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88 schmei January 26, 2011

Sketchie did an excellent job of illustrating the adage that “if anything is worth doing, it’s worth supervising!” All that, and THEN he modeled the light box for you? I mean, no wonder he’s tired. :-)

The comparison here doesn’t show a stark difference, but I think some of the other light box pictures you’ve posted turned out really nicely. It’s not natural light but it’s very nice for a “studio” look, I think.

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89 Moni'sMeals January 26, 2011

great info… Thanks!
It was so entertaining too. Sketchie is so hilarious!!

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90 Leah @ Why Deprive? January 26, 2011

I’ve been wanting to make a light box for awhile, but have no idea where I would put it. I live in a VERY small basement suite, and just dont get that much natural light. I think something like this would definitely help.

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91 Jessica January 26, 2011

I never realized before how beautiful sketchie is! I’ve never seen a cat with that patterning before, it’s gorgeous! I agree, I don’t really see a difference in the edited pictures, but the light box is still pretty cool :)

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92 Leanne (For Health's Sake) January 26, 2011

If you have any guests over, they might wonder what the heck it is! Lol!

As always, I love the Sketchie pictures!

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93 Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day January 26, 2011

Natural light is the best thing ever… I have a light box, but I rarely use it. I find it too restrictive.. but it comes in handy sometimes since I have hardly any light in my apartment.

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94 Jess@atasteofconfidence January 26, 2011

Thanks for the step by step photos! I actually like the lightbox photo better myself, although I agree with you that once you edited it- the difference is minimal.

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95 Sonia January 26, 2011

I think a lot of husbands or significant others around the country are going to be busy building light boxes this weekend.

A project for my hubby. Yay! This would probably work well for me since my kitchen is so small and doesn’t get enough natural light from the windows. Get’s pretty dark in my house, even in the morning. That and my stovetop light is broken. Lol.

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96 LauraJayne January 26, 2011

I love the lightbox, but I think your photos were always really good – maybe this will just require less editing on the backend?

Either way, I’m craving garbanzo beans for dinner again! They looked delish!

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97 Ashley January 26, 2011

Sketchie is a star!! Too cute.

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98 Bronwyn Coyne January 26, 2011

Super Clear. That totally makes sense. I want a light box!

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99 Beach Bum Beauty January 26, 2011

I’m really glad I’ve read this post as I’d seen you mention the light box a few times but wasn’t sure why you had it. Now all is clear! Sketchy is adorable, he definitely thinks the light box is his new home. :-D

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100 Roz January 26, 2011

This is so great, thanks for posting!!! I’ve bookmarked and will be sending the link to my husband so we can build it together. I will of course have to substitute my Neva for your Sketchie, but hopefully the results are just as successful. Have a great day!!!

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101 Alina @ Duty Free Foodie January 26, 2011

I love this tutorial and your idea of using white tablecloths. I feel like tissue paper would be just way too tempting for Frankie not to scratch his way through, you know?

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102 Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans January 26, 2011

Sketchie is the cutest!!

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103 Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit January 26, 2011

I agree with you, for all that effort, I’m not seeing the benefit. Natural light will always be king. Your natural light pictures are always so gorgeous!

I was tempted to make a light box too… but then Kevin [my boyfriend] and I starting to think about it… I would feel so confined with no space to play around with. So, we came up with something a bit different and called it a “mini-studio”

We took 3 boards of MDF (a form of wood that comes in large pieces) and secured them together in an L shape [with brackets and screws]. We painted it white, and then draped a sheet over it. It’s sitting on our old kitchen table in our dinning room [a much better use of the space if you ask me!] We set up a soft box right in front of the structure and its FANTASTIC.

I’m writing a post about it tomorrow if you’re interested in seeing what it looks like. If you don’t have a soft box, you could use the lights you purchased with a sheet tented over the light and pointed at the structure. That or, soft boxes are ridiculous cheap on ebay and there’s a couple of great Canadian sellers [we got ours out of BC].

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104 Alicia January 26, 2011

I don’t really need a light box but this is really cool… I may some day and now I know where to look… BUT I do want/need a kitty like yours! So cute!! I just want to cuddle with him.

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105 Lily's Health Pad January 26, 2011

Sketchie looks so cute in these pics. My favorite is when his eyes are all dialated. When the eyes get big, that’s when you know it’s play time!

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106 Lisa January 26, 2011

Thanks for the step by step! I’ve been wanting to make on and have just been lazy. :)

Sketchie is ADORABLE!

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107 Alyssa @ fashionfitnessfoodie January 26, 2011

Hmm I need a husband to make me one! My little cousin offered but I’m pretty sure he would get bored…He’s 11!

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108 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 26, 2011

Amazing recap, Angela!

Both in terms of the
How to Build It
That it doubles as a Kitty Dream House
That it’s big to store
That you always prefer natural light
That “I shoot in RAW format and I use Adobe Lightroom to edit my photos” -thanks for that!

And I loved the final comparisons
Non-lightbox shot, both unedited and edited
Lightbox shot, both unedited and edited

Seeing the final edited versions of both, one can hardly tell the difference. You’re right. I think if one is willing to always edit their photos, you can fix almost anything. Or fix it “good enough” for a blog. This is not a wedding photo you are blowing up to 8 x 11 and putting on top the fireplace :) It’s a blog/web picture.

Anyone who uses a lightbox probably already would be using photo editing software. If you wanna skip the step of editing it and have lots of night shots…i can see where a lightbox would be helpful, i.e. me. I hate to edit AND i shoot at night.

Sorry to ramble but i just LOVE this whole post!!!!!

And so does Sketchie :)

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109 Stacie January 26, 2011

Ha! This post made me laugh so hard. You are too funny. As far as the light box goes, I’m not a good person to ask as I have no experience. However, I will say yours looks fab and super kudos to you and Eric for making one. Glad to see we aren’t the only crazy ones who talk for our pets and think for them too :) :)

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110 Jessica January 26, 2011

Very cool! I’m sure you get this all the time but Sketchie is gorgeous! Is Sketch a Bengal kitty?

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111 Clare @ Fitting It All In January 26, 2011

Your beautiful lightbox really makes me want to remake my wonky one that is held up by rulers. Add that to the list.

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112 Tracy @ Commit To Fit January 26, 2011

Great post! I am always looking for ways to improve my pictures. Thanks for sharing :)

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113 Julie (A Case of the Runs) January 26, 2011

I loved looking at the pictures in this post. I think it really makes a big difference. Glad your husband is so handy. I think he secretly enjoys showing off his skills.

Maybe someone will invent a collapsing light box and make millions, j/k!!

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114 Katy (The Singing Runner) January 26, 2011

I made a light box a few weeks ago but have yet to use it. I need to fix it a little and get the light to diffuse better. Perhaps I need to put another layer of tissue paper?

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115 Sabrina January 26, 2011

Umm okay I should probably mind my own buisness but sketchie looks a bit over weight. i realize its a bit ironic considering what your blog is about and I wonder do you feed your cat a barf diet? (bones and raw food). Given that your blog is about putting the right things into your body I wonder if you have ever considered what your putting in his body. I mean im sure you have considered it Its obvious that you and eric love him alot but I just wondered what your thoughs are on this one as you are vegan.
Sabrina.

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116 Melissa January 26, 2011

You never cease to amaze me! This is great! I’ve already emailed it to my husband so we can make one for my blog pix. I prefer natural daylight too, but this is a great second choice. Thanks again for sharing.

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117 coffeeaddict January 26, 2011

I am continually amazed by cats. Such mysterious and fascinating creatures, with a few things in common: constant curiosity: whatcha makin’ there?! let me see, let me see; their love for cardboard boxes or paper bags, the bigger the better, although my cat has been known to try and squeeze into the tiniest bags and then he gets all frustrated when he fails. We console him with his favourite treat and a brand new big paper bag; last but not least: their love for all things hot and cuddly: my cat sleeps under my desk light, knocking everything off the table as he twists and turns and last week he hogged my water bottle, I kid you not. so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if your husband is forced to make another light box on account of this one being permanently occupied.

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118 Mary @ Bites and Bliss January 26, 2011

Thank you, thank you!!! I actually plan on making on this weekend!

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119 Hannah January 26, 2011

Og all the light box tutorials I’ve seen in the blog world, yours is actually the only one that makes sense to me. The photos are so clear! I’m still a bit too scared to try myself, as I’m a complete nincompoop with tools… but maybe one day!

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120 Natalie January 26, 2011

Is it sad that I kind of want to build one specifically and only so I can get such a good photo of my dog? Haha. I’ve found your blog a couple of times recently in google searches for food and fitness stuff. I just read your about and before and after, etc. posts and noticed that you’re from New Brunswick. I am too and living here currently! I’ve added you to my reader and since I’ve just started a new blog devoted to living a healthy lifestyle and “conditioning myself” I’ll be happy to have some inspiration!! Cheers!

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121 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2011

Hi Natalie, thanks for your kind words!

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122 Sara January 26, 2011

FANTASTIC!! Thanks for posting such a great tutorial – especially for the step by step photos! After I buy a good camera I’ll try this out :)

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123 Kath January 26, 2011

I used to live in a box!! I had a refrigerator box in my bedroom for about 6 months when I was little :)

I actually think the edited lightbox one looks the best. But for the effort of putting your hot skillet under there and having to move it from the stove, I’d just go with the stove :)

And that last photo of Sketchie is PRICELESS!

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124 Kat @ Cupcake Kat January 26, 2011

I love this post because Sketchie makes it awesome!

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125 mary (what's cookin' with mary) January 26, 2011

Thank you for this post. Lots of great info. Made a shorcut to it ;)

Those pics of Sketchie in the light box look so cool !!

Your recipe page looks so amazing these days. It inspired me to spruce mine up a bit and make things a bit easier to find… :)

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126 Cranberry Pills January 26, 2011

I never gave any thought to how people get such great looking professional pictures even for simple eBay items. Had no idea we could use some lights,cardboard,cloth and tape. A $5 DIY compared to a hundred dollar setup with the same quality…nice.

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127 Anne P January 26, 2011

What a cool post! I love the shots of Sketchie looking fab ;) I think I would probably stick with the regular stovetop photos, but I do like the lightbox for Sketchie :)

The other thing about lightboxes is that sometimes having a background blurred out or with something pretty in it can add interest… and the lightbox eliminates that, you know? But it does create very professional looking photos!

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128 allison January 26, 2011

I love your natural light shots. By your window, outside etc.. Sketchie is the most BEAUTIFUL CAT I have EVER SEEN!!

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129 Monique January 26, 2011

Oh Sketchie…. cats are so silly :) I loved seeing those teaser pictures of him in there on Twitter a while back haha :)

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130 Rochel @ barefootandcooking January 27, 2011

Love the idea and the tutorial. I’ve been thinking about building one for a while now and wasn’t sure what exactly it entailed. As always, you’re an inspiration.
By the way, I totally think Sketchie could be a cat model.

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131 Eco-Vegan Gal January 27, 2011

Love this post! I actually bought a light box (it was really inexpensive) but this is a great eco idea (wish I had thought of it!). I agree, the lighting helps make food look even better! Thanks for more great info – love this site!

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132 Kelly January 27, 2011

Great idea on the light box!!

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133 Beth January 28, 2011

I showed this post to my husband – mostly to show him the adorable kitty you have.
Then he said “Can you bookmark this page? I want to make a light box.” Sweet!

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134 Keeta January 29, 2011

Oh my! Sketchie is gorgeous!!! And the lightbox project is very cool. Thanks for sharing!

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135 Veggiegirl January 29, 2011

What kind of cat is Sketchie?

Also do you have a facebook page?

Thanks :)

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136 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 29, 2011

He is a Bengal. Thank you :) Sorry no FB page!

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137 Vanessa January 30, 2011

i am enlisting my husband to build one of these! thanks for the handy tutorial.

ps – i am new to your blog and really enjoying it! i’ve been embarking on a healthier lifestyle and blogs like yours are great motivators and inspirations.

ps2 – your cat is adorable!! i have 2 cats and they are going to flip over the light box when we make it..

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138 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 30, 2011

haha that’s cute :) Enjoy it!

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139 Daniel January 30, 2011

You’ll need to adjust the white balance properly whether you do it “in-camera” or in Lightroom/Photoshop when adjusting the RAW image. However, the lightbox will allow you to shoot at much lower ISOs and faster shutterspeeds allowing for a much sharper picture with better detail and less image noise.

Overall, great idea and I think I’ve got most of this stuff around the house already! Thanks.

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140 Daniel January 31, 2011

Oh, and you should be able to set up a Lightroom preset to match the bulbs that you’re using so that you don’t have to manually do it every time. Most “daylight” bulbs are stated at 3500K but run a tad cool (3300-3450).

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141 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 31, 2011

Good to know! Any idea how I create this preset?

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142 callie February 2, 2011

haha, I just posted the other day about how I had finally set up my light box as well – however, mine was not homemade and is about 2 times the size of the above – Talk about taking up space (so obnoxious)! It looks like a tent in my living room… However, I have to agree, daylight is MUCH better – this has been OK for shooting at night, but if I can, I still try to shoot before the sun sets (easier said than done). I’ve found that automatic white balance doesn’t work, and you’ll want to preset the camera to the tungsten bulb setting to even things out a bit – still will need to be edited, but much better than the auto.

In reference to your edited shots night vs cube, the cube has more clarity than the nighttime – The shutter works much more efficiently when there is more light, moves faster and creates a ‘crispness’ that nighttime photos sometimes lack.

PS – sketchie looks amazing in that light :)

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143 Lena February 3, 2011

It is definitely possible that someone has already suggested this in the barrage of comments, but have you tried using a more yellow light or even off-white or cream sheets instead of pure white? Might help cut the blue effect…

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144 Melissa February 4, 2011

It’s possible that someone already answered this in the mass list of feedback, but how white balance did you shoot at when you shot with the light box? Tungsten/Incondescent?
looks like that yellow-ish shot was shot on daylight whitebalance under incondescent lighting?

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145 Angela (Oh She Glows) February 4, 2011

im a white balance newbie actually…the only way I know how to white balance in lightroom is by pressing the ‘w’ key and clicking on something white. Can you shed some ‘light’ on the matter? lol

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146 The Restaurant Manager February 11, 2011

The light box is awesome! You got some great pics!!

But the cat stole the show!! What a beautiful cat!!!

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147 Grumpa Joe February 15, 2011

Thanks for the simple steps to make the light box. This is exactly what I need to improve my closeups. Lighting is crucial as you know, and using a flash usually washes the colors out. There is a light box in my very near future.

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148 Ian May 9, 2012

Way cool, really clear instruction pics. Am implementing now.

I’m not sure if anyone suggested it, (and i’m just musing here) – the fabric’s purpose is to diffuse the light. White fabric, high white balance? Maybe a cream colored fabric instead? Or a mix? Cream from the sides white from the top? I’m going to experiment a bit. Totally concur with Karen re: white balance settings and adjusting histogram in PS, or even the simple editing capabilities in iPhoto. Word to the wise – keep a little notebook and jot down useful settings, since there are so many permutations – fabric, light intensity and on and on…

BTW re – Sketchie – Amazing fellow – what breed?

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149 Leah May 25, 2012

Thanks for the tips! Loved the post!

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150 Karen H August 17, 2012

Angela,

Just wanted to thank you for the great tutorial on the light box. Not only were the instructions great, I love your entertaining & funny descriptions. It is quite amazing how much better things look in light box photos – those final photos of Sketchie are gorgeous – so thanks for making it doable.

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151 Angela (Oh She Glows) August 17, 2012

Im glad you enjoyed it Karen! Thank you.

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152 Maureen August 18, 2012

Hi quick question please! In the photos of the cat in the light box is that white posterboard in the background or is it more of the tablecloth? Also when you use posterboard for the background do you just gently place it… What if it’s something heavy? Seems like the board is supposed to curve. Anyway thanks! Nice tutorial.

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153 gigi September 16, 2012

Awesome step-by-step! I finally feel like I can do it!! THANKS SO MUCH!

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154 Cindy Unruh October 3, 2012

Thanks so much for the very-easy-to-follow instructions! Pictures just make it so much easier, kind of like not reading the instructions for sewing, just looking at the photos. And, as a cat (and dog) lover, I have to say Sketchie is one of the most beautiful cats I’ve ever seen!

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155 kitty October 20, 2012

That cat is awesome looking!

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156 oshinn November 19, 2012

thank you so much for this tutorial! i can’t wait to build one of my own!

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157 Paul December 1, 2012

thank you so much! My GF has been bugging me to do this and you made it look easy! Wish me luck!

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158 Chanelle January 7, 2013

I prefer the edited light box photo. Maybe if you swapped out the bulbs to a more yellow (plain old lightbulb), you’d get more natural light in the box. That, or drape another colored cloth over the box for different tones?

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159 Kristi January 23, 2013

Thanks for the tutorial! I’m going to give this a shot for my Etsy items since it’s always dark when I get home (boo winter!) so my photos are bleh. And seriously, I am in love with your cat… he is way too cute!!

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160 Emme February 21, 2013

Thanks for this, it’s EXACTLY what I was looking for! My step-by-step pics would look exactly like yours except I have TWO cats. The more the merrier! Now off to buy a Home Depot box and a bottle of wine….

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161 Kasey Potts March 27, 2013

Is that a Bengal kitty?!? I have 2 at home and they are CONSTANTLY jumping in, out and on any box that come in the house! Great tutorial!

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162 Angela (Oh She Glows) March 28, 2013

haha yes he is a Bengal…sounds just like your two!! He LOVES boxes…in fact, we rarely part with them because he gets so much enjoyment from them! hah

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163 Amber April 2, 2013

Phyrra @ Phyrra.net directed me here for a light box tutorial and besides saying thanks for the great instructions I have to say I am DYING over how adorable your cat is!!!!!!

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164 howard April 3, 2013

What kind of cat is that? I like its coat

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165 Julia April 14, 2013

I just love this post! This is the most fun lightbox tutorial I’ve ever seen anywhere. Those kitty pictures made me giggle! Your entire family is beyond adorable. Thanks so much :)

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166 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2013

Thank you Julia!

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167 Ewelina June 5, 2013

Hi Angela! I love this tutorial!! What are some photo editing programs that you would recommend?

Thanks

xx

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168 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 5, 2013

Hi Ewelina, Thank you! I use Lightroom to edit my photos (I honestly don’t do much at all to them) and I use Photoshop to add text if necessary.

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169 Kit June 20, 2013

Thank you so much for this great tutorial! This is the best one I’ve read yet. I think I can do it. And by the way, your cat, Sketchie, is simply beautiful!
Best,
Kit at Mill Bank Farms

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170 lisa June 21, 2013

Hi Angela,

Thanks for this interesting post. I am following your recipes for several months already and would like to thank you for the great food and the amazing pictures. I always find good recipes and mouthwatering pictures. I was wondering which camera do you use to make your food photography? I am not a professional at all, but curious how you make such fine shots.
Lisa

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171 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 23, 2013

Hi Lisa, You can find my camera info on my FAQ page. thanks!

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172 Keri August 31, 2013

I’ve cloth material but I can’t seem to get it to stay smooth enough when I tape it down. Was there a trick to it, like you helping hold it while he taped it?

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173 Angela (Oh She Glows) September 1, 2013

Yes I helped him hold it while he taped. Hope you can find an extra set of hands! :)

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174 Meagan September 2, 2013

This is so helpful! Thank you!! :)

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175 Meagan September 2, 2013

Actually, now many watts are your lamps?

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176 Shellie Roy October 2, 2013

Hi! I am new to your blog. I must say this is the absolute most entertaining tutorial I have EVER read!! I had 4 kitty’s until 3 days ago. We are pretty sure an owl stole our baby right off our front walk way!!! (Teenager really). So sad. I’m in shock. His name was Beans and was the sweetest most loving cat ever. He was also had the most EXTREMELY unbelievably expressive photogenic face on earth. Much like Sketchie, he is beautiful!! I have another baby named Lolly who also loves to jump out and scare me. She is quite the comedian! She is super chunky and looks like she swallowed a balloon!! She especially likes to “hide” behind something like a skinny twig in the yard thinking I can’t see her. Too too funny! Anyway, I really loved what you wrote and your pics. I’m gonna have my handy hubby’s make a box for me!! Ill be thinking of you when we do it! Thanks so much for brightening my day! You should be a writer-for money! (Esp Loved the bored mouse)!!!!!!

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177 Shellie Roy October 2, 2013

Do you get paid to blog?? If so then I guess you do write-for money!! You’re great!

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178 Shellie Roy October 2, 2013

Oh wow- And I only have one hubby!! Crazy typo!! Haha. Who could handle more than one??

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179 melissa October 26, 2013

I totally LOL`d through this whole thing, especially at the ”bored mouse”. oMg
great article, my fav light box tut yet, and your cat is gorgeous

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180 Laura November 3, 2013

Awesome job! I made an attempt to make a box after reading your post. I thought I would try tissue paper…not a good idea with Anna, my curious cat. She quickly occupied the box and then within a minute punched through the tissue paper sides! I’ll try again when I can have a helper keep her occupied!
Now I’m reading your recipes and getting very hungry! Need to do some shopping to make a breakfast parfait! Thanks so much!

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181 Catherin November 14, 2013

Thank you for the lovely instructional with pictures. Sketchie is adorable!

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182 JJ December 15, 2013

Hi, congratulations on the light box. Looks very well made.
OT: What breed of cat is this? I’ve never seen a cat with such a coat before. It looks a bit like an ocelot.
Cheers,
jj

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183 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 15, 2013

He’s a Bengal :)

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184 Bridget January 8, 2014

This is super helpful!! Thanks for the tutorial — I’ve been trying to improve my food photography!

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185 Chrissie of LipstickVillain February 1, 2014

Omg thankyou so much for this! I’ve been searching on how to make a decent product background. That cat is beautiful btw!

xo
Chrissie

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186 Lorraine March 9, 2014

Your cat is beautiful!! Bengal right? :)

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187 Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog April 9, 2014

OMG I JUST came across this and am totally going to try this, thank you for the amazing tutorial!!

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188 Julia April 23, 2014

Awesomest instruction ever. Since I have a cat, too, I can already see her doing the exact same stuff as Sketchy. Thanks for sharing and for making me laugh so much :)

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189 Jay Worling September 24, 2014

Thanks for this awesome tutorial…I am so excited because I have “The Perfect Box” for this project…how weird is it that I am looking forward to cutting up a cardboard box …?

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190 Ava December 28, 2014

Just to make things more safe, I suggest this: When measuring the rectangles for the windows, take a sharpie and draw the lines on, then cut them. I kept worrying about the ruler slipping and someone cutting off a digit.

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