Let’s face it, lighting equipment can be so expensive but it doesn’t have to be! This post will show you how to DIY a photography lightbox for around $30 step by step!

how to make a photography lightbox. great for food photography

Lighting is one of the most important elements when it comes to food photography. There are two types of lighting:


  • Pros:
    • Makes photos look beautiful
    • It’s FREE
    • Food can look more natural
  • Cons:
    • Have to take photos at a certain time of day
    • Can be challenging during winter when there’s less light


  • Pros:
    • Easy to control
  • Cons:
    • Can be a big investment (not in this case though!)

My favorite is… a combination of both! I like to shoot in the daylight in addition to using this lightbox.

I’m sure you hear photographers and bloggers stress the importance of natural lighting, but lightboxes can work wonders for your food photos!

What is a photography lightbox?

A photography lightbox is exactly what it sounds like, a box of light! The light source is placed near your food subject to produce some stunning photos. When the weather isn’t great, or the daylight isn’t optimal, a lightbox is your friend!

light bulbs that are used for food photography

What light bulbs are used for a photography lightbox?

When making a lightbox, it’s important to use daylight light bulbs. The standard lightbulbs used in a house are incandescent and they give a warm, yellow color to the room. This is not great for photography as it adds a yellow-ish hue to your photos!

Daylight light bulbs produce a cooler, but also harsher light. That’s why we use a diffuser to soften the light.

How to make a photography lightbox:


TOTAL COST: $31.50


 1. Cut 1 piece of foam board in half. Cut a 22”x12” piece off the second foam board. You should now have (2) 22”x14” pieces and (1) 22”x12” piece. (fig. 1)

2. On the smaller piece, trace a circle the size of the lamp. Cut out using the Xacto knife.

3. Tape the three pieces of foam board together, have the smallest one in the center. (fig. 2)

4. Insert hanging light bulb cord through the hole. Secure the back with packing tape.

5. Screw in light bulb splitter and light bulbs. (fig. 3)

6. Cut a large square out of the t-shirt.

7. Using binder clips, clip t-shirt on front. (fig. 4)

infographic on how to make a photography lightbox. great for food photography

If making your own lightbox isn’t your thing (which I believe it is if I still have your attention!) you can purchase one from Amazon like this.

Check out the video of how to make the photography lightbox!

What do you think of this DIY photography lightbox? Let me know in the comments below!

Please note this post may contain affiliate links which do not impact the cost to you but gives me a small commission. Thank you for your support!

Want more food photography help?

Get access to my food photography toolkit!

How to Make a Photography Lightbox -- This DIY lightbox is PERFECT for food photography! What\'s even better is it\'s a fraction of the cost of a professional photography lightbox #foodphotography #foodphotographytips #photography #photographylighting #diy | mindfulavocado
Become a Better Food Photographer with a FREE5 Day Video Course

Become a Better
Food Photographer
in 5 days

Enhance your photography education and take better food photos with this FREE video training!

Success! Check your email for the first lesson!