4 DIY Photography Hacks You Can Do With Boxes

4 DIY Photography Hacks You Can Do With Boxes


In this post Udi from DIYPhotography.net shares 4 DIY hacks and mods to convert simple boxes into photography tools.

Boxes are all around us. We get them in mail. we bring them from the store. Heck, we even got one when we bought our digital camera.

Have we ever stopped a minute to think what those boxes can do for us in other aspects then storing?

Below are 4 box photography hacks and mods for your pleasure. Click the title of each to go to the full tutorial on how to do it!


1. The Simple (Boxy) Light Tent

This hack is maybe the most known hack of them all. With a medium sized box and some diffusion material (silk, sketching paper, baking paper…) you get a pro studio for photographing small objects.

Making one can not be easier – cut three sides of a box and glue some sketching paper – about 5 minutes of work.

The idea is simple. The light that enters the box is diffused by the sketching paper. This diffusion eliminates hard shadows and create beautiful specular highlights.


2. Strobist Food Box Thing

Being the Strobist, David Hobby could not let the Light Tent mode stay where it was and made some improvement on it.

In the Strobist version the box is cut in half, creating kind of a crate.

This crate is diffused in a similar manner to the Light Tent, but it allows for the addition of extra 1cent reflectors / paper sheets.


3. The Digital Pinhole Box Camera

This is one of the greatest hacks I know. Combination of old and new.

This mod mimics the original pinhole camera – an image projected through a hole and captured on a screen. Unlike hacks that makes a hole in the lens capand project the image on a sensor, this hack keeps the box spirit of the original pinhole camera.

Pinhole cost: 50 cents. Pinhole with Canon 5D – 2699.50 USD).


4. The Boxed Translucent Floor Hack

This last hack uses a box with triple duty: it acts a case for the flash, it doubles as a bench for holding a glass and triples as a flag for preventing flare.Again, a simple idea, beautifully executed.

With photographs that have uses under-light it is always hard to position the flash. In this mod, the flash sits in a box with the top open. On the open top you place the glass. Inside the box, you place the flash.

The added bonus here is that the box also acts a flag and prevents the light fro hitting the camera and create flare.

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Some Older Comments

  • Adrian May 5, 2013 06:06 pm

    Whats up very nice site!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds also?I am satisfied to search out so many helpful info here within the submit, we need work out more techniques on this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  • Nitin March 7, 2011 05:09 am

    Many thank for the innovative ideas

  • Lee October 12, 2009 05:38 am

    Great ideas! I gave the Strobist suggestion a try, but my setup was even less fancy, as I couldn't find a box large enough. It never ceases to amaze me how the right lighting can make a photo look entirely different from what your eyes see.

    Here's the result:

  • Alina B October 11, 2009 01:00 pm

    What a fun post! I tried number 4 and posted my results here: http://photoclickchick.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-to-photograph-glass-with-homemade.html

  • Kenneth Hyam October 9, 2009 07:33 am

    It is truly amazing how these simple techniques open a whole new world of photography. We all know that
    photography is about how light is captured. But too often we forget about light and simply point the
    cheap or even expensive camera at the subject. This shows how much control we can easily have regarding
    what type of light falls on the lens.

  • Charles October 9, 2009 05:52 am

    Would be nice to see some details, particularly the pinhole box setup. For example where do you place the screen, which I assume is piece of some reflective material (what works best for this? paper, foil, white card?) etc.

    In case you didn't know the word 'camera' literally means 'room'. The term migrated from the original pinhole camera, which was literally a room with a small hole and a screen. You could sit inside and view a panorama of the scene outside in incredible detail. Then, with the advent of photographic film, came the pinhole DIY box camera. And finally the pinhole box lens attachment.

  • sbunting108 October 8, 2009 06:37 am

    Thanks for the links I am going to have a go at making the light tent!

  • Stock Photos October 7, 2009 06:57 am

    The lighting outside the box is as important as the box itself other wise you end up with shadows!

  • Alexander October 7, 2009 02:48 am

    Here's my digital pinhole -- http://www.flickr.com/photos/alxndr/3517964230/

    I got my D200 body before a lens, so I cut a piece of cardboard to fit over the lens mount and poked a tiny hole in it. Ta-daa, digital pinhole camera.