What Is A Photography Light Box & How To Use One

Heather Clouse
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What Is A Photography Light Box?

A light box 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 light box 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 light box is portable.

If you are just starting out and want to take professional and well-defined photographs, I recommend getting a light box.

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

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

A lot of photographers use them to take product, food, or a wide variety of photographs. Because you can work with natural light, you can take shoot without the use of 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 set up. You can see the difference in the quality of the photos by simply working with a soft box.

How To Take Professional Photos With a Light Box

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

A light box 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.

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

It really is amazing what one can accomplish with a light box.

Setting Up Your Camera

When you buy a light box, it will typically come with some basic instructions on how to set it up correctly.

But the general idea is to place some cardboard or foam board on the back and sides of the box to prevent light leakage.

Depending on the size of your photo light box, you will then need to figure out how to prop it up and position it. Some have adjustable stands.

If yours doesn’t, you will need to figure out how to prop it up.

The easiest way to do that will be to lean it against something high like a dresser or table.

You can place a tall book next to the back of the light box to prop up that side and make sure it is even.

You can then balance it on top of the book.

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 attractive 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. A lot of times 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 way from the mid-tones. The Simple Click on Image opens the Levels Control Window.

After you’re done adjusting the levels, make sure the black and white clipping settings are set to zero.

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 Gradient

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 gray 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.

In order 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 also remove light from other areas of the photo.

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.

The white balance setting can be generalized into two settings, manual and automatic. The manual setting allows the photographer to make choices on setting 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 on your DSLR. It will show you the exposure of your image without even having to look at the final exposure on the LCD screen. It is represented by a mountain 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 also move to the left. If you want the bright areas to be darker, the mountain will move to the left and the valley will also 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 personally use it for all my photos in order 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 on your first image. I always take at least a couple of pictures until I am satisfied with the exposure of the photo.