Great Pet Pics: Lightbox

by Jim Chesters

Check out gorgeous gal Mandy from the Amanda Foundation looking like a million bucks in a professional photo studio.


Well, she could be under a pro studio setup or she could be in a lightbox, which is an easy to construct box you can build yourself to create a setting that gets you that same studio quality lighting for your shots.

Lightboxes,or light tents, are constructed settings that diffuse light to create an evenly lit subject. They’re used all the time in product photography and are really handy when shooting small objects. You can buy one onlline for anywhere from $40 to a couple hundred, but the best thing is a lighbox are super easy to make for next to nothing.

To build one you just need a sufficiently sized cardboard box, some solid white fabric or muslin, tape or pins and two or three desk lamps or clip lamps with daylight bulbs.

Begin by cutting the flaps off the open side of the box. The opening of the box will be the front, so with that in mind you should then cut two windows on the left and right side of the box. These should be quite large, leaving almost just a frame of box on these sides so it keeps it’s stability. Optionally, you can also cut a third window on the top of the box.

Next, tightly pull your fabric over these windows and tape or pin it down. The fabric is what will diffuse the light. You can set a backdrop, such as another piece of white fabric or white posterboard, to finish off the inside of your box. Aim your desk lamps close to the fabric from the outside of your box and you’re ready to go.

Poops A lightbox is great for photographing small pets like Poops the turtle from the Toronto Humane Society seen here. With a large enough lightbox, or some creative tinkering with the design, you could create a setting large enough for small dogs and cats.

You can find many more tutorials featuring different methods and ways to build a lightbox all over the web, including many videos on YouTube.

Since they’re so easy and cheap to make, and the benefits they can give your photos so great, it’s easy and worth it to experiment and make one that works for you.