The 8 Best Photo Light Boxes to Buy in 2018

Here's how to set up the ideal lighting scenario

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Taking good catalog-style product photos is more difficult in practice than it might seem. It's almost impossible to get accurate colors or shadow- and reflection-free shots indoors, regardless of the camera you're using, but that's precisely where lightboxes come in. At their most basic, lightboxes are an enclosed box or tent with a white or colored background and one or more bright lights set up inside or directly alongside. Controlling the background and lighting like this ensures a much better end result even when shooting with a smartphone.

When purchasing a lightbox, things to consider include the size of the items you're planning to shoot, whether you'll be leaving it assembled all the time or will need to break it down or transport it regularly, and, of course, how much money you have to spend. Whether you're a professional catalog photographer, a creator looking to sell your wares online, or just someone wanting to shoot better product photos, we've found the best photo lightboxes available at all budgets. 

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: HAVOX Photo Studio HPB-60D

Havox's Photo Studio lightboxes are admittedly pricey, but you get a lot for your money. Available in three different sizes — 16", 24", and 32" — each box has one top and three front openings, maximizing shooting options while keeping outside reflections to a minimum.

Boasting particularly accurate colors (CRI of 93+) at a near-daylight 5500 Kelvin, the adjustable diffuser near the top of the box softens and spreads the light to minimize shadows. Each of the three lightbox sizes also comes in an "XD" version, which doubles the number of LEDs inside, and therefore the light output. Whichever version you get, dimmers on the power supply lets you adjust the brightness as needed.

Assembly and breakdown are relatively straightforward, taking 10 to 15 minutes, and construction of the unit is noticeably sturdier than most of the cheaper competition. Throw in a compact carry case, and you've got a high-quality lightbox that's portable enough to be moved around as needed, and delivers excellent results.

Best Budget: JHS-TECH Portable Lightbox

If you know you'll only need to be taking shots of small items, and don't have a large budget to spend, the JHS-TECH portable lightbox is a great place to start. At nine cubic inches, it's ideal for shooting images of jewelry or toys, and it collapses down to fit into a bag or backpack for easy transport. Open at the front, you can choose to shoot from straight on or take top-down shots via a large hole in the roof of the box that's covered when not in use.

The strip of LED lights at the front and back of the box are reasonably bright and can be controlled individually if necessary. They're powered via a USB cable, which can be plugged into a computer, wall socket, or portable battery pack.

Best Value: AmazonBasics Portable Photo Studio

While many of the budget-priced lightboxes are perfectly fine for moderate use, many don't have particularly powerful lights and aren't all that robust. If you'll be moving or assembling and disassembling your lightbox regularly, it's worth spending a little more on a better, more durable version like this AmazonBasics model.

Able to be set up in under a minute, and folding down into a slimline portfolio case with handles and a storage pouch, the lightbox has a pair of daylight-balanced LED lights mounted top and side. Each is covered in a diffusing fabric to reduce shadows and reflections and operates from AC power.

The 25'' x 30'' x 25'' box has three holes in the front and one on top for maximum shooting flexibility. You can easily hang different backdrops as needed, although none are included. If you're after a large, sturdy portable lightbox that's easy to assemble and transport, you've found it here.

Best All-in-One Kit: Fovitec StudioPRO 24" Lightbox Kit

Looking for an all-in-one lightbox kit that has everything you need to get started at a reasonable price? It's hard to go past the Fovitec StudioPRO. As well as the lightbox itself, the wide range of accessories in the box includes four colored backdrops, two height-adjustable lamps with 45W fluorescent bulbs, and small black and white reflective tabletops with magnetic legs for placing products on if necessary.

The dual lamp setup lets you light items from any angle (you can add extra lights if you need them, of course), and, being wall-powered, are both brighter and more flexible than the USB-powered strip lights you find on other models.

Ideal for shooting small to medium-sized items, the lightbox pops up into shape and can be set up in a matter of seconds. When you're done, the lightbox and all other accessories except the lamps pack away into a compact carry case.

Best for Portability and Extras: Foldio3

Foldio3

Courtesy of Amazon

Need a highly-portable lightbox for shooting product shots on the go? The crowdfunded Foldio3 is ideal as its unique design allows it to fold down to just an inch high while expanding out to a full-size 25" lightbox for taking photos of even relatively-large items.

Assembly and disassembly only take a few seconds as magnets speed up the process. Attaching one of the two backdrops is equally quick, rolling up from the bottom to attach at the top.

Three LED light strips are built into the Foldio3, and if you need extra light or a customized location, the optional Halo Bar attaches to one of the side or bottom magnets. A control unit lets you dim the lights together or separately.

If you're planning on taking 360-degree photos, pick up the Foldio360 as well. This turntable sits inside the lightbox and connects to a phone or camera over Bluetooth. Rotating and shooting photos automatically, it then combines them into a 360-degree photo in the accompanying app.

Best for Smartphones: LimoStudio 16" Table Top Kit

LimoStudio's 16" tabletop lightbox kit is useful in a range of situations, but particularly if you're taking photos with your smartphone. Also available in a 20" version for shooting larger subjects, the kit includes red, blue, black, and white backdrops, a pair of LED lights with adjustable stands, and a mini-tripod with swivel control that's used for mounting small cameras and smartphones. Phones sit horizontally inside a universal case that's able to hold almost any modern device. 

The lights run from domestic power and are adjustable for both height and angle. They provide plenty of light when used together — you can move them further away from the lightbox, or only turn one on, if you need less illumination.

Collapsible for easy storage and transport, this is an easy and inexpensive way of getting higher-quality product shots, no matter what you're shooting your photos with.

Best for Pro Results: MyStudio MS20PRO-LED Tabletop Lightbox

If you're a professional product photographer or have aspirations to become one, it's worth spending a bit more on the MyStudio range. The company sells a few different variations of its lightbox kits, ranging in size up to 53", but for shooting small to mid-size items, the MS20PRO-LED is ideal.

This "Pro" version of the MS20 replaces the basic fluorescent lamps with a pair of ultra-bright color-corrected LED lights, yielding far better results. There are also two pairs of bounce/fill cards with their own stands, to help manage shadows and provide illumination exactly where you want it.

Made from hard plastic rather than fabric, the 20” x 20” x 12” cylindrical background ensures no wrinkles or seams showing up in your shots, and provides greater shooting angles and less time editing afterward as a result. The kit also ships with black and white acrylic pads for getting professional-looking reflections under whatever you're shooting.

Best for Shooting Large Items: Neewer 60x60 inch Photo Studio

While all of the lightboxes on this list are fine for taking photos of smaller items, most are too compact to fit larger subjects inside. You'll have no such problem with the Neewer 60" Photo Studio — its huge, five-cubic-foot capacity is enough to handle anything up to pets and children.

The translucent fabric sides do a good job of diffusing external light sources, so as long as your lights are bright enough, you'll end up with a consistent, shadow-free result inside the lightbox. Four colored backdrops are included in the box, allowing for greater flexibility and better results when shooting white or other light-colored items.

The company makes this lightbox in half a dozen other sizes as well, making it easy to get the right size for your requirements. That said, don't be tempted to buy one much larger than you need — the bigger the lightbox, the harder it is to find space to set it up or fold it back up into its carrying case when you're done.