Monday, April 18, 2011

Doll Photography: Make a Lightbox

Melvin sitting in my lightbox, un-photoshopped
Lightboxes mimic natural daylight and allow dolls to stand against a backdrop of your choice. They eliminate bad lighting and distracting scenery, bringing out the best in your subject. Lightbox pictures look crisp and professional, making them ideal for selling products... and even better for posting beautiful doll pictures online!

You can buy a lightbox online for over $100, or make your own "Free Lightbox" with DollyCare's tutorial...

You Will Need:
  • Large cardboard box (for your doll to stand in)
  • Scissors
  • White Fabric (i.e. old white t-shirts or bedsheets)
  • Stapler/Glue
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • 2 non-fluorescent desk lamps (third lamp optional)
  • Photo Editing Program (optional)

1. Prepare the box. Open the box and lay it on the ground. Cut away the flaps. A lightbox has three windows: one at the top, one at its left and right sides. It does not have a window at the back (i.e. the bottom of the box.)

2. Create Cut Marks. Line your ruler up to the sides of the box, using the pencil to draw a frame on each panel (top of box, left, right.)

3. Cut Windows. Cut along the pencil lines, creating rectangular holes on the top, left, and right panels. You should end up with three holes.

4. Paste Fabric. Cut the white fabric into squares large enough to cover the windows. Paste or staple it to the outside of the box. Make sure you use the same type of white fabric for each "window."

5. Position desk lamps along the sides: left, right, and one shining over the top (the top light is optional.) Cut a white paper to fit inside your lightbox... drape it gently, do not crease or fold it. Place colored or photographic backdrops on top of this.

6. Edit Photos. Lightbox photos look good, but photo-editing can make them even better. Photoshop is great, but two equally great free programs are Gimp and Paint.NET.


  1. Your illustrated tutorials are marvelous. Thanks. :)

  2. Thank you! I'll have to find a box and scrounge up some lamps now :-)

  3. Hey Roxy, Thanks for the tutorial. I can't wait to try it out! ~shirahime (from BORS)

  4. Thank you very much for this! I've been searching about doll photography and have found some, though they're not really that spot on. This is just what I'm looking for *.*