The 7 Best Photo Light Boxes of 2021

Get ideal lighting for your product photography

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The Rundown
Even though the box is very large, it easily breaks down into a carrying case. It can be a project to reassemble though, so keep that in mind.
If you're just starting out in the field of photography, or you're on a tight budget, the LimoStudio Table top studio might be a good pick for you.
Best for Colored Backdrops:
JHS-TECH Portable Lightbox at Amazon
If you're shooting smaller items, and looking for variety in your backdrop, you'll struggle to do better than this box.
It includes everything you need except the camera.
Best for Portability and Extras:
ORANGEMONKIE Foldio3 at Amazon
The large 25 inch enclosure has a unique magnetic design that simplifies setup and take down.
As long as your items are not large, this is a great cheap option that will get you great shots.
Best for Pro Results:
MyStudio MS20PRO-LED at Amazon
If your budget allows, MyStudio is a top brand for achieving impressive product shots.

When it comes to photography, one of the most important and overlooked elements is proper lighting. The background is also important, which is why a lightbox is a great addition to your photo studio. Lightboxes not only allow you to control the lighting and the background in your product photography. A softbox diffuses the light around your subject and puts it on a white or colored background so you can get just the shot you want. 

Product photography is crucial for an online store, like Etsy or your own e-commerce website. Lightboxes will help you showcase your product with a nice clean look and a bright backdrop, making your product stand out and look great. Some lightboxes also come with different colored backdrops, so you can customize your look even further.

The main things to look for in a photo lightbox include interior space, built-in lights, backdrops, and in some cases portability. If you have a smaller space, the ability to break down the box might also come into play. Our experts have looked at dozens of lightboxes, and these are our picks.

Best overall: Fositan Photo Box

What we like
  • Carrying case included

  • Stepless dimmable lighting

  • Four background colors

What we don't like
  • Takes a while to assemble

  • Too large for some projects

Our favorite lightbox overall comes from Fositan. This is a large lightbox measuring 35 inches or 90 cm per side. You can put a small dog inside the lightbox if you want to. Being so large, the lightbox is capable of a ton of different product photography but it might be too large for some projects. If you're a jewelry maker, you'll want something smaller. 

If you have a permanent studio location and your craft relies on product photography, this is the set to get. You need to have a permanent location because this photobox does not break down, nor collapse like the others. This is rigid and not designed to be transported. The background itself is plastic creating a seamless curved background without wrinkles, creases, or seams. You can shoot products from any angle in this softbox and the result looks like it's right out of the pages of a magazine. 

Best Budget: LimoStudio 16" x 16" Table Top Photo Photography Studio

What We Like
  • Great price

  • Easy to carry

  • Has everything you need

What We Don't Like
  • Wrinkly background fabric

  • Included lights not bright

If you're just starting out in the field of photography, or you're on a tight budget, the LimoStudio Tabletop studio might be a good pick for you. It has everything you need to get started in tabletop photography including the lightbox, portable lights, gels for the lights, different backgrounds, and even a smartphone tripod and phone holder. It all wraps up in a neat little package that you can carry like a briefcase. Considering how small it breaks down, the 16-inch cube is a good size as well.

There are some reports of the background fabric being a bit wrinkle-prone, so you may need to iron it before you can use it. The two spotlights included are not the brightest either, so you may need to supplement your lighting depending on where you're located. The spotlights could easily be used for emphasis or filling in gaps.  Overall, this is a nice deal on a highly portable set for beginners and professionals alike.

Dimensions: 17.5 x 3.7 x 17.75 inches | Weight: 4.09 pounds | Color Temperature: Not specified | Wattage: 75W

Best for Colored Backdrops: JHS-TECH Mini Photo Studio Box

Mini Photo Studio Box
What We Like
  • USB-powered lighting

  • Highly portable

What We Don't Like
  • Fairly small

Many photographers will shoot their product against a white background, but it's nice to mix it up every once in a while. The right background can really help your product stand out, and when you're looking for variety, there are few that have the variety of the JHS-TECH Portable lightbox. This lightbox has six different backgrounds to choose from. You can use white, red, blue, green, lime green, or black.

The box is very light and portable, but it's only 9 x 9 x 9 inches, which is not a ton of room to shoot in. You might be able to swing a potted plant if you pick a small one. You can also shoot from the front or from the top down, which is a nice addition. There are two strips of LED lights, powered by USB and adjustable in brightness. If you're shooting smaller items and looking for variety in your backdrop, you'll struggle to do better than this box.

Dimensions: 22 x 23 x 24 inches | Weight: 350 grams | Color Temperature: 6000 to 6500K | Wattage: 7.5W

Best All-in-One Kit: StudioPRO Fovitec Photography Portable Studio Table Top Lighting Tent

Fovitech Light Box
What We Like
  • Even, soft light

  • Includes a table stand

What We Don't Like
  • Light stands easily tipped

A great all-in-one solution to product photography is the StudioPro Fovitech Lightbox kit. As the name implies, this is a complete kit. It comes with two light stands, two 45W bulbs, two small tables for holding products, the lightbox itself, and four colored backdrops. As our reviewer says, "it includes everything you need except the camera."

Users report the light produced is soft and even from the lamps through the sides. The kit comes with two tabletops; there's a white table top and black tabletop and the legs can attach to whichever one is in use. We'd like to see a carrying case included with this set, especially at this price point. There are a lot of components to keep together, so a carrying case would help with that. Also, the light stands themselves can be easily tipped, so it's not a bad idea to carry some gaffer tape to secure the stands.

Dimensions: 18 x 12 x 12 inches | Weight: 8 pounds | Color Temperature: 5500 to 5600K | Wattage: 300W

Best for Portability and Extras: ORANGEMONKIE Foldio3 Foldable Photo Studio Box

Foldio3
What We Like
  • Easy to set up magnetic design

  • Included turntable

  • 360-degree photos

What We Don't Like
  • A bit flimsy

  • Short power cord

The Foldio 3 is the third generation of the Foldio family. The large 25-inch enclosure has a unique magnetic design that simplifies setup and take down. The lights are preinstalled into the lightbox and give you an even distribution of light throughout. There's also an extra halo light you can attach to either side magnetically for additional lighting if desired. 

One of the standout extras this lightbox comes with is a Bluetooth-connected turntable and app that shoots an item in 360 degrees and puts it together for you. The Bluetooth connects to your camera to give you precise angles as it turns the turntable. The lightbox itself is made of plastic that's similar to corrugated cardboard, so when you're not using it, be very careful to not damage it. Also, the power cord for the lights is rather short, so you'll need to make sure you're working close to an outlet or extension cord.

Dimensions: 25 x 25 x 22 inches | Weight: 7.28 pounds | Color Temperature: 5700K | Wattage: Not specified

The Foldio3 scores serious points for design innovation, as the magnetic assembly makes it super easy to set up—it’s also one of the few lightboxes to have 360-degree photo capabilities.” — Katie Dundas, Tech Writer

Best Compact: PULUZ Mini Photo Studio Box

What We Like
  • Compact

  • Inexpensive

  • Shoot from multiple angles

What We Don't Like
  • Short power cord

  • Delicate plastic design

If your products are all small, there's no need for an oversized lightbox. The Puluz mini photo studio is perfect for small items. It weighs just seven ounces and is 5 x 5 inches. It collapses down to less than one inch thick, and it even comes with five different background colors. Our favorite part is the price though. You can't beat it for what it does.

The lightbox is flimsy, being made of thin plastic and held together by velcro, but at this price point, that is to be expected. The included light also has a short power cord, so remember to bring an extension cord with you on shoots. But overall, as long as your items are not large, this is a great cheap option that will get you great shots.

Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 7.7 ounces | Color Temperature: Not specified | Wattage: 3.5W

Best for Pro Results: MyStudio MS20PRO-LED Tabletop Lightbox

MyStudio MS20J Tabletop Photo Studio
What We Like
  • Seamless curved background

  • Lots of shooting angles possible

  • Included lights is very bright

What We Don't Like
  • Not collapsible

  • Very expensive

If you have a permanent studio location and your craft relies on product photography, this is the set to get. You need to have a permanent location because this photobox does not break down, nor collapse like the others. This is rigid and not designed to be transported. The background itself is plastic creating a seamless curved background without wrinkles, creases, or seams. You can shoot products from any angle in this softbox and the result looks like it's right out of the pages of a magazine. 

The company, MyStudio sells various sizes of this lightbox. We recommend the MS20PRO-LED for mid-sized items, but the options go up to 53 inches if you need something larger. The included two lights output a maximum of 2,700 lumens of light, so lighting will not be your problem. The set also includes black and white bounce cards for bouncing the light and two acrylic panels for reflections.  Overall, this is the best you can buy and it shows in the price tag. But if your living relies on product photography, get this into your studio as soon as possible.

Dimensions: 30 x 28 x 18 inches | Weight: 7 pounds | Color Temperature: 500K | Wattage: Not specified

Final Verdict

Overall we love the Fositan studio lightbox (view at Amazon). It has great size and lighting built-in, and the price is a great value for its size. It collapses down as well into a convenient carrying case for shooting on the go.

Otherwise, if you want something a little more portable or compact, you can't go wrong with the LimoStudio set (view at Amazon). We especially love the carrying case on that product since it carries everything you need.


About Our Trusted Experts 

Katie Dundas is a freelance writer and journalist who has been covering tech for several years. She’s also an avid photographer and a digital camera expert.

FAQs

How does a lightbox work?

A photo lightbox uses either light-reflective or absorbing surfaces to surround your subject in smooth, even lighting which provides a better sense of depth and dimension. This also helps eliminate unwanted shadows by bouncing the light into areas you can't reach.

Do you need a separate lighting kit to get the most out of your lightbox?

Not necessarily. Having a lighting kit is certainly a plus, but will benefit you the most only when trying to photograph larger objects. A lightbox is really meant to either amplify or adequately diffuse the flash from your phone or DSLR camera. It also contains its own light source, which helps you get even lighting in your photo, free from unwanted shadows.

If you don't have a DSLR camera, should you buy a lightbox?

You'll arguably get more from a photo lightbox if your camera isn't a DSLR camera. The benefit will likely be more noticeable if your camera falls below the professional level. But yes, if you need to take some better photos of individual products without a DSLR camera, a lightbox can help immensely.

"Casual photographers can benefit from using a lightbox by easily creating a clean, portable, and easily controlled lighting environment in any situation. This makes the outcome of product photography more consistent, allowing for less photo editing." — Nathan Berry, Lensrentals Lighting Supervisor

What to Look For in the Best Photo Light Boxes


Size

A lightbox uses a closed environment to effectively diffuse light over your subject. Therefore, a larger subject will necessitate a larger lightbox. If you're shooting jewelry, an 18-inch box should suffice, whereas someone shooting desktop computers might need a 48-inch box.

Accessories

If you need a little more flexibility in your lighting setup, some lightboxes come packaged with a variety of accessories to let you fine-tune your lighting environments, such as different backdrops or supplementary lighting.

"Besides just the included options, a photographer should consider all their creative needs when purchasing and setting up a lightbox. If the goal is to provide consistency, using a tripod for the camera is especially important for video, and can make shooting still photos much more simple. If external lights, such as strobes are being used, having stands will help for perfect light positioning." — Nathan Berry, Lensrentals Lighting Supervisor

Portability

Much of this will have to do with the size of the lightbox you choose and whether you have a dedicated space for photography, but having a lightbox that makes it easier to set up and break down will give you greater flexibility in where you can stage your photos.

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