Parchment Paper Light Box for Natural Light

Yes, you read the title correctly! Did you know you can use parchment paper for more than baking? You can! I use it for all sorts of things but, the most unique is for my photography. Let’s face it, you can have the most beautiful cookies in the world and they can look bad because of poor photos. I will never be a professional photographer but, I am always looking for an inexpensive way to take better pictures. I came up with a Parchment Paper Light Box to see if I could use it in natural light. It is not pretty but MAN it works for me! I might invest in “real” photography equipment someday but, for now, this is what I use.

I have been reading “Plate to Pixel Digital Food Photography & Styling” by Helene Dujardin. Her blog is full of amazing photos and I get lost in the beauty ever time I visit it. Anyway, in her book, she says natural light is her favorite to shoot photos in. I agree with her but, since I will never be a pro I don’t need to invest a fortune in photo equipment. I also work a full time job so taking pictures at the perfect time of day, when the light is right, isn’t always an option for me. Sometimes I take pictures at 3 am or when I run home for lunch so I need to be creative to get the best shot I can.

Do you remember Sunshine my first light box? She is what inspired me to make my Parchment Paper Light Box.

Here is an example of why I wanted a light box for outside or with full sun by the window. I took the first picture in the light box with only the sun shining. This picture has good light and no shadows unlike the second picture. The second picture is OK but, the shadows are really bad and the color is washed out.

If you want to make a light box with parchment paper for natural light photos, then follow the tutorial for Sunshine. Then, come back here for the final steps.

Once you have your box, you need a sharp knife to cut a window in the back, top and each side. It doesn’t have to be neat because no one will see it. Don’t cut the bottom board. It is the support that holds this baby together.
Then, using masking tape, apply parchment paper to the outside of each window you cut. The parchment paper will act like a thin curtain to filter the light. You will have natural light pictures but no shadows. I know this is not as good as the real filters you can buy but, this is a very inexpensive way to filter the sun.

Note: Learn from my mistake! See the bend in the top edge of the box? I have a habit of grabbing the box by the top when I move it and I bent the top edge. The cut windows are not very strong. If you pick it up by the bottom you wont have this problem.

Here are some other photography tips that helped me from Sweet Sugar BelleThe Pioneer Woman and RecipeGirl:

Sweet Sugar Belle- Cookie Photography For Dummies
The Pioneer Woman- What the Heck is Shutter Speed?
The Pioneer Woman- What the Heck is Aperture? Part One 
The Pioneer Woman- ISO Setting 
RecipeGirl- if you’re into food photography and styling…

Happy Creating,