Lightbox Love

by Holly on December 8, 2010

in photography,rambling,vegan

One of the main reasons I haven’t been blogging much food as of late is because of light.

Specifically, lack thereof.

You see, I have this little thing called a full-time job. I leave somewhere around 8am and arrive home sometime around 5:30 or 6pm. I do this approximately five days a week, and then once a month, I get a hefty ol’ check that pays for my life. Blogging unfortunately doesn’t do that and probably never will. All blogging affords me the luxury of is the occasional free food product and enough money for a raucous night of drinking (hangover included).

In other words, I only blog because I love it…not because I love hangovers.

But I digress.

Because bossy Mother Nature decided we had to set our clocks back an hour in October, there is not one eentsy weensy bit of natural light when I arrive home to make and inevitably photograph my dinner. That’s a BIG problem when you want pictures that are (a) not blurry, (b) not grainy and (c) not ugly.

Fortunately, there is a solution.

Lately, I’ve been reading up on photography to sharpen my skillz, and with the help of Ashley + Stephen, the duo behind Never Homemaker, I found the answer to my workin’ gal dilemma.

It’s called the lightbox.

Using a cardboard box, scissors, duct tape, tissue paper, light clamps, daylight bulbs, fun fabric and push pins, I created an environment that simulates daylight in order to take sharp, clear and aesthetically-pleasing photographs at night. The materials cost me $30 (I went a little fabric crazy), and I am really glad I made that small investment.

At 8:17pm tonight, I took this picture of the lovely blogger bake exchange gift Heather sent me…

That would be carob roasted almonds + a lovely message from Heather herself.

Clear. Not grainy. Good color. Love it.

Then, I whipped out what looks to be the most delicious treat of my package, the Orange Espresso Chocolate Chip Biscotti, and snapped some more shots.

Don’t you worry. I already ate one. It was fabulous (obvs).

Finally, I got a beauty shot of the peanut brittle.

Without a doubt, these are the BEST pictures I’ve ever taken at night.

Needless to say, I had to continue the photography fun with the vegan treat I am bringing to the office potluck tomorrow: Mama Pea’s Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls.

Yes, they are just as mothereffin’ good as they look.

Yes, I ate about half the dough and am currently nursing a ball baby (TWSS?) as well as mild diabetic sugar shock. No worries, I think I’ll live.

Yes, you should go make a lightbox now. Really, it’s easy. I promise. I have mild ADD, and I was even able to make it. But you should definitely read the instructions and buy THREE lamps (not two), so that you have light coming from the top (which I don’t).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s 11:12pm, and I have to be at work in nine hours.

These lightboxes don’t just pay for themselves, ya know.


Don’t forget to donate and help Brandi + I raise money for Jovenes en Camino, an orphanage in Honduras for abused, homeless and orphaned children. We are already at $600 – only $400 away from our goal! Donate here.


janetha December 8, 2010 at 11:25 pm

i saw this light box thing on ashley @ edible perspective.. but i know she is really high tech with her photography. but now that i see that you can do it, i know i can too! hahahaha.. that was not a total knock to your skillz, although it sounded like one, but you know how i am with my poking fun ;) i may have to call you for help, though. i don’t get the clampy thing and also i want to see what settings you use. ima make a light box soon! MWAH. oh and GOOD JOB!

glidingcalm December 8, 2010 at 11:46 pm

oooh a light box!! soo neattttttt! i need one!

Michelle (The Runner's Plate) December 9, 2010 at 12:09 am

Nice job with the light box!

Mama Pea December 9, 2010 at 12:52 am

I like the way my balls look in your box.

I am sorry.

Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) December 9, 2010 at 5:10 am

I really need to make a light box one of these days. It just looks so intimidating, but I’ll take your word for it and try it. :D

(p.s. I love your “joy” mug!)

Matt December 9, 2010 at 5:30 am

Where can I get the instructions for making one of these?

Lauren December 9, 2010 at 5:43 am

I love your lightbox! Okay but I have to ask, how can you possibly manage a full time job, a full time life, a full time blogger status and create a light box in your spare time? You have it all girl and ps- I ALWAYS think your pics looks fantastic, even in the dark. ;)

Kailey (SnackFace) December 9, 2010 at 6:13 am

Oh. My. Gawd. How funny that we both wrote about photography today/last night! WE ARE MEANT TO BE.

I need a damn lightbox now. I will make DM make it. You said ADD-addled people can handle it, so I think this will be OK for him.

Love you. Miss you.

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 9, 2010 at 6:15 am

I was going to make my own comment, but I have to comment on Mama Pea’s “balls in my box” comment – oh. my.


Liz @ Blog is the New Black December 9, 2010 at 6:32 am

Gorgeous pics! I, too, want my own lightbox! HAHAHA, @Mamapea… I die!

Erica December 9, 2010 at 7:13 am

I so WANT one of these. This whole getting dark early thing got old…quick. Look at your goodies! Those look amazing! You totally made out like a rock star

Andrea@WellnessNotes December 9, 2010 at 7:27 am

Okay, a lightbox is going on my “must make very soon” list!!! Gorgeous photos. And now I REALLY want a cookie…

Hope you have fun making some money today! :)

Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather December 9, 2010 at 7:29 am

I was planning on making a lightbox this weekend… or at least I have the intentions to do so, but we’ll see what happens. I can see myself going a bit fabric crazy too. Your pictures look so good!

Glad the treats made it to you :) I’ve never shipped baked goods before.

Evan Thomas December 9, 2010 at 7:41 am

Oh my God, that’s awesome! I’ve seen so many people make these lately. I’m just REALLY lazy, and busy. Is it weird that I thought of putting this on my Christmas list so that my dad would make it for me? Because I did.

Nelly@CrazySexyFit December 9, 2010 at 7:50 am

That is just COOL! You clever thing, you!

And I don’t even like PB in sweet things but those cookies look perfect.

Brooke December 9, 2010 at 7:58 am


Katie December 9, 2010 at 7:59 am

I love this! I need to make one asap! I leave for work when it’s dark, and I return when it’s dark – luckily my classroom has stellar lighting, so at least my lunch pictures look good. But it would be nice to have ALL my pictures look good. :-) I think this may be my weekend project!

Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) December 9, 2010 at 9:00 am

the cookie dough balls look mother F en good. as you said :)

and yes “You see, I have this little thing called a full-time job.”– me too! and i have to do the mommy and wife thing. Right now Im on vacay but seriously was burning the candle at both ends, about 19-20 hrs a day, daily for about 6 mos. Never quite blogged about it and that will resume come Dec 29 but til then, I can read blogs, blog on my own blog, and not stress :)

emily (a nutritionist eats) December 9, 2010 at 10:08 am

I really did think about making one for a while, then I thought I would have my Dad make it for me and then I ended up ordering one on amazon. I’m technically challenged. (oh, and maybe lazy?!)

Jessica December 9, 2010 at 10:12 am

Both a lightbox and cookie dough balls are on my mile long to-do list. I’m considering checking them off since I read this post. I’ll just live vicariously through you.

kate December 9, 2010 at 10:42 am

i need a light box ASAP! i bought a lamp for my kitchen but it doesn’t cut it. but longer days are just around the corner :)

Megan (Braise the Roof) December 9, 2010 at 12:06 pm

I was sad when we had to set the clocks back, too…stupid winter. I love the fabric you chose for the back drop!

Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker December 9, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I love it! Great job!!!

Susan December 9, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I agree, natural lighting is the bomb, but that lightbox is a great fix!

Had to let you know I made the channa masala from the ThinkScience cookbook again.
It. Is. Bananas. B. A. N. A. N. A. S.

Lynn @ The Actors Diet December 9, 2010 at 8:09 pm

good job with the lightbox! someone should make them on etsy. yes i’m that lazy!

Low December 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm

That is genius! I hate the lighting this time of year, drives me nuts.

Susan December 13, 2010 at 6:38 pm

I am SO making a light box! My roommates think my food photography habits are weird enough as is though :P

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