With the increasing competitive e-commerce landscape, needless to say, it has become critical to have good quality product photographs for selling online. Infact many of the marketplaces like Amazon demand giving them good high resolution pictures. Good product images not only make your products appealing to the customers, they also make you stand out from the crowd.
So ever wondered how your competitors are getting such nicely shot picture for their products? You must think that it would be very expensive, right? Well, not really. Even you can get professional looking product shots with what is called a Photography White Box or Light Box. And you can make one right at home!
What is a Photography White Box?
A photo whitebox (also know as a Light Box), is a device that helps you shoot good quality product photographs. All the internal walls of a whitebox are white so that more light is reflected off the walls and onto the product. This creates equal amount of light falling on all areas of a product. Good lighting makes the product well it and its features clearly visible. A whitebox also allows for diffused lighting that prevents from having light reflections and glares on the product. Here we show you how to build an inexpensive and quick photo light box right at home or in your home-office.
How to build a Photography White Box?
Here are some very simple steps to make your own photo whitebox. But before we get to the building part, let’s take a look at what ingredients are required to make one.
Things required to build a light box:
- 5 x Thermocol Sheets (1.5′ x 2.5′ x 20mm) (also known as foamboard, polystyrene)
- 1 x White Masking Tape (better known as Arbo Tape in India, White Duct Tape)
- 2 x White Chart paper sheets
- 2 x table lamps
- 2 x Bright White / Cool Daylight 23W+ CFL bulbs
- 1 x Paper Cutter
- 1 x Camera (any digital camera will do, one with a zoom will be better)
You will find most things in a stationary shop and others in an electronics store. Arbo tape can also be found in furniture shops. We bought our lamps from Snapdeal. The biggest cost component of them all were the lamps which came in at Rs 650 each, and the total expenditure was under Rs 2,000.
Some points to note:
- Bulb Intensity: We used a Philips 23W+ Spiral CFL lamp which is equivalent to a 125W bulb. LED bulbs have a higher intensity of light at lower wattage. So anything with 11W and above will be good. Higher the better, but they keep getting more expensive as well. Ours costed Rs 200 each from the local electronics shop.
- Bulb Colour: CFL and LED bulbs come in two main varieties – Bright White / Cool Daylight AND Warm White. The bright white and cool daylight bulbs give out white light whereas the warm white bulbs give out orange/yellow light. To get good colours of your products and to make them clearly visible, you should use cool white bulbs. In more technical terms, their light temperature / intensity / lumens is 5000K – 6500K.
- Bulb Holder Type: Lamp’s bulb holder can be of two types – B (hook type) and E (screw type). And these also come in different thicknesses like E14 and E22. Make sure that your lamps and bulbs have the same holder type.
- Camera: There is slight interference between the iPhone camera and LED due to the slow frame rate in iPhone, which creates distortion in the images. Would recommend using a point-and-shoot digital camera or a DSLR. A camera with a zoom allows you to take closeups of the product without needing to stick your head into the white box.
Steps for making a product photography light box
Now that you have all the ingredients, it isn’t rocket science to put together the light box. Just make it look something like the white box picture below. We used a 1.5′ x 1.5′ square sheet for the back panel and original sheet (1.5′ x 2.5′) for the bottom panel, and slightly shorter sheets (1.5′ x 2′) for top and side panels so that it creates some extra runway at the bottom of the box. This lets you keep the products near the front edge of the box without the edge showing tin the pictures. You can actually use wider sheets if your products are slightly larger.
The thing to note is the white chart paper sheet that needs to go at the back of the box. One chart paper sheet hangs from the top edge of the back panel and another sheet overlaps it a bit at the bottom and convers the runway. The purpose of these sheets is to hide the corner edge at the back of the box and make the photographs look like they have “no background”.
Here are some samples photographs taken using our own photo light box setup
The last one here was clicked using an iPhone without the lamps on. All the above pictures were brightened using Google Picasa to add some more light and brightness to them.
So here you go, now even you can do professional product photography by building your very own home photography studio.