To learn more than you'll ever need to know about taking great photos, search the World Wide Web and choose from thousands of articles on the subject. 

My post is short and sweet, specifically offered for crafters and bloggers who wish their cards, scrapbook pages and 3-D projects looked as good on camera as they do in real life.

First things first... Great pictures can be taken with a simple point-and-shoot camera. Equally true, poor photos can be shot with expensive SLR (single lens reflex) cameras. It's the photographer that takes good photos, not the camera.  Fancy equipment with powerful features, interchangeable lenses and other bells and whistles won't assure a good photograph. Here's a picture of the simple camera I use: SONY Digital Cyber-shot 14.1 Mega Pixels.

SONY Cybershot

OBVIOUS TIPS FOR TAKING BETTER PHOTOS: Spend a little time getting to know your camera. Read the manual and don't skip over the sections that explain how to control the flash and macro modes. Consider using a tripod and pay close attention to the focus directions. Always edit to improve your image.  Finally, (I saved the best for last)... IT'S ALL ABOUT THE LIGHT! 



There are dozens of tutorials on the internet about purchasing and/or making photo light boxes. After many requests, I decided to make my own and took pictures step-by-step, to share HOW.

Any cardboard box will do. I chose an 18"x18"x18" white corregated box. It's the perfect size for cards, large scrapbook pages, and a variety of 3-D projects - with room to spare.


I'm using the white side as the inside of my photo box to reflect more light, with the kraft color on the outside.


Measure carefully, drawing lines for layout and cutting. The size of this box worked well to leave 2" borders on the top, sides and front - with a little extra off the bottom front for better access.  Write notes and "map" directions on the box as you go, because it's easy to get things upside-down-and-backwards.  Easy for me, anyway.


If available, use a metal straight edge along with your box cutter.  Take your time to assure both accuracy and safety. 


To cover my box, I purchased white bleached muslin from a local fabric store. The cost was about $4 for 2 yards. I drew pencil lines on the fabric and cut it approximately 1" narrower than the width of the box.  Ironing is only necessary if you're a detail freak like me.



Box is cut.  Fabric is ready.  Now the fun part.  I used heavy-duty clear packaging tape for assembly. The cardboard folds were a little stubborn, because I was turning the box inside out, so I scored the pesky seams to achieve sharper edges.  Fold and tape... Fold and tape... Fold and tape.


Next, I used a standard piece of white poster board to finish the inside. I cut the width 1/4" smaller than my box width, but added several inches to the length to make a rounded, seamless backdrop. 


I covered my box with one continuous piece of fabric, working from the top down and around to the bottom.  Inch by inch, little by little, stretching and smoothing as I went along. I used short pieces of tape, and as desired placement was achieved, reinforced it with long pieces.


This is the completed box. Now for lights...


I purchased 2 metal desk lamps and a clamp-on light for $10 each.


Several other online tutorials recommended 100W, Compact Fluorescent, Soft White Bulbs, 2700K, so that's what I bought.  But they were not bright and made the background look yellow!  So I got some advice from a friend, and bought the right ones... 100W, Compact Fluorescent, Bright White, 5300K, Natural Light.  Cost of each bulb was $3.69. 



  (I borrowed that term from the HGTV Network.)


Well now!  It's time to give it a try!


This was taken with the new bulbs...


just for you


Linda Aarhus, Stampin' Up! Demonstrator, Vancouver, WA



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This is a diamond in the rough. Will be able to get some great photos of our products now. Great post - thanks.

Ah, you're genius! I have been trying to figure out how to build an inexpensive photo box for when I do photo shoots of my fiancé's model car builds. This would work perfectly. I know this is an old post, but thank you so much for the idea! I can't wait to build it :)

I Love it! Gonna make one tomorrow. Thanks!

Linda thank you do much for sharing this important info!!! Where did you get your box? It looks like a office box that you buy in packages of 3 or 4. BUt I'm used to those boxes being more long than square. I've already got the lights, and foam board, just need to finish the project off with the perfect box. Thanks in advance for any help!

Thanks for these tips. They will enhance my portfolio if somehow I can get the right camera, lenses and light manipulation.

WOW Linda...you are AMAZING! Thanks for this info! Appreciate it! Dont know that i'll ever get to makingn one but hey, ya never know right? GREAT PICS! HAPPY WEEKEND! Julie :)

great post!

Impressive. You are very creative. Good luck with your shooting :-)

Thanks for posting this on Stampin' Connection. Now I not only want to make one of these boxes, I want to make that beautiful quilt card too! TFS!

Thanks, I'm going to have nightmares tonight.

Oh Linda, TFS! You always have such great posts! Glad I can always check in!!!! Can't wait to meet you at convention!

gorgeous card! too

Looks fabulous! Thanks for the link from SCS. It's amazing the things we can learn from our SCS friends!

Wow! This is just what I needed!!! Sometimes it's hard to follow written instructions, but with your images, this post have been very helpful! Kudos to you!

LOVE THIS POST!! Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Awesome.

Linda, this is a wonderful idea. I was in the photography business before the digital area (ha) and just now getting use to my camera.

Wow! That's amazing. Your picture looks fabulous with the new lightbox.

Linda this is such a fantastic tutorial and information share. You are wonderful. I will build a light box similar to this because as one of your commenters has already said finding a sufficient light source is very difficult, especially if you want to take pictures in the wee hours like me (latenitestamper for sure! Thanks again!

Thanks so much for this!
I often wondered how to get this effect and my photos to look better!!
Your an absolute crafting wonder gem!!

Mel from DownUnder!

Thanks for the info. and the great step by step tutorial. I will re-read this post several time because there is a ton of useful info in it. WOW! This is so helpful.

THANK YOU!! I have book marked your site to check for more tips.
I have my first digital camera and the manual is dog-eared already LOL
It took me and my daughter several hours to get "one" decent picture of a card to post in the gallery ! I am determinded to learn to take decent photos . I didn't edit it as I don't yet know how to do that .

wow this is amazing!

Linda, you're brilliant! This will be a good project for my husband, he loves making things. TFS! I also absolutely love your quilt card - stunning!

Thanks so much for sharing this information! It's easy to follow.

Wow! What a GREAT tutorial! Thanks sooooooo much! This is my biggest peti-peeve. Not being able to take a good photo.
If it's nice weather I can go outside, but in the winter..... yipes!
This is Just Great... Love it!

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  • Linda Aarhus

    Vancouver, WA • USA



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