What Is A Photography Light Box & How To Use One?

Heather Clouse
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What Is A Photography Light Box?

A lightbox is a portable, enclosed space with enough room to move your camera around and work with the subject in front of your backdrop.

Using a lightbox allows you to create an even, well-defined lighting environment for your subject that eliminates shadows and blown-out areas. You can also control the natural light source since the lightbox is portable.

If you are just starting and want to take professional and well-defined photographs for any product, I recommend getting a lightbox.

They are convenient and easy to use and can be set up in minutes.

I prefer the softbox light boxes because they work with any light source.

A lot of photographers use them to take photographs of products, food, etc. Because you can work with natural light, you can take a shot without flash to get natural results.

Even if you have a small, entry-level point-and-shoot camera, you can still get good photos with this simple setup. You can see the difference in the quality of the photos by simply working with a softbox.

How To Take Professional Photos With a Light Box?

A photography light box allows you to take professional quality photos that look great.

A lightbox is not a dark room or a tedious Photoshop trick. It’s an actual device that will help you eliminate hot spots and other problems.

You can use it to take photos with desirable white-balanced lighting.

Lightboxes give you more control, consistency, and quality in the final images you take with your DSLRs, smartphones, or point and shoot cameras.

It is amazing what one can accomplish with a lightbox.

Setting Up Your Lightbox

When you buy a lightbox, it will typically come with some basic instructions on setting it up correctly.

The standard set-up for lightbox product photography is to place the lightbox on some kind of table, with the light sources directly opposite each other on each side and the tripod centered in front. Placing the lightbox on a table makes it easier to see and maneuver and easier to use your tripod for shooting.

Next, place your subject carefully inside the lightbox, and start with it in the exact center. Moving your subject forward or backward relative to the light can change the lighting and shadows. Experiment to get the look you want. You can also experiment with pointing the lights slightly at an angle rather than straight at the lightbox.

Be sure to leave space between your subject and the walls so that you can zoom in or position your camera to see only the backdrop and not any edges.

Setting Up Your Camera

Set your camera securely on the tripod and use either the 2-second timer or a remote shutter release to ensure that your tripod remains steady. The tripod will allow you to use longer shutter speeds with crisp results.

Begin by shooting in aperture priority mode with an ISO of 100. Choose your aperture based on the look that you want to achieve in the image. Food photographs often utilize wide apertures and selective blur to make food look more appealing.

In contrast, product shots of crafts and handmade goods look best with a narrow aperture to keep the entire item in focus.

Product Photography Post-Processing Tips

When it comes to product photography, there are a lot of techniques that you can use in post-processing to get more stunning results. The following are some of the more often used post-processing techniques:

Using the Levels Control

If the photo of your product needs a little color correction, this is the first thing to adjust in post-processing. Often, there is a color cast, or there is a color that’s over-exposed or under-exposed. The Levels Control is the most important thing to adjust right after snapping a photo.

Correcting the Greyscale

If there’s still an issue with your photo, chances are there’s an issue with how far some of the colors are away from the mid-tones. After you’re done adjusting the levels, make sure to correct the greyscale.

Adjusting the Opacity

The Opacity control is something that you can use to change the “weight” of a certain color. It’s used to darken or lighten a color in post-processing.

Adjusting The Image White Balance

If you’ve ever taken a photo on your digital camera or phone and noticed that the colors don’t look quite right, it could be important to use the “white balance” setting on both. This is often done with a gray or white balance card or some other neutral grey card.

This will balance the colors with the light from different sources. When you take a picture, there is light bouncing off everything in the room. The camera is taking all of that light and compressing it into one photo.

When there is no white balance set, what you are seeing is the natural color of the scene. If you want the colors to appear different, you need to adjust the color temperature.

To take natural-looking photos, add light in a controlled way. This allows you to choose the area you want to add the light to and remove the light from other photo areas.

The white balance can be set by a gray card or by a white balance setting. By setting the white balance, one can get the colors to display as they should appear during viewing.

You can generalize the white balance setting into two settings, manual and automatic. The manual setting allows the photographer to choose the white balance, while the automatic setting allows the camera to choose the setting.

Using The DSLR Histogram

The Histogram is one of the most important and helpful features of your DSLR. It will show you the exposure of your image without even having to look at the final exposure on the LCD screen. A mountain represents it with a valley, the “mountain” will represent the dark parts of your photo, and the “valley” will represent the bright areas of your photo. The mountain will be on the left and the valley on the right. If you want the dark areas to be brighter, the mountain will move to the right, and the valley will move to the left. The goal is to make the valley no bigger than the mountain. That will give you the correct exposure or a well-balanced photo.

The Histogram is very important and helpful. I use it for all my photos to get that perfect exposure. There is a chance that you will not be able to get it right to the point that the valley is no bigger than the mountain in your first image. I always take at least a couple of pictures until I am satisfied with the photo’s exposure.