DIY Cheap Lighting for Product Photography

When you're taking product shots, lighting is everything. The right light can set the mood and make the product shine, inviting others to come take a look.

I'm a huge fan of DIY cheap lighting for product photography. I have made a ring light and light panel that doubles as a lighted tracing box, and both were received really well (thank you, all). Today, I'm sharing a super cheap and easy light panel for product photography. You don't need much, and you can finish this project in about an hour. 

DIY Cheap Lighting for Product Photography

Everyone has a style when it comes to taking photos. Some are really great at flatlays, bright daylight shots, and broody underexposed shots. My style fluctuates depending on my mood, and my photos showcase that.

With different lighting setups and exposure, you can create whatever you want without needing access to sunlight. If you're a night owl or live in an area where the sun doesn't shine often, this is perfect for you.

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What You'll Need

2 to 5 - LED Light Strips like this one. In my project, I used Daylight White.

1 - Pack of LED strip connectors likes this

1 - DC Adapter to power your light strip like this one. Be sure to buy the adapter that corresponds to the light strip you purchase. 

4 - PVC Pipes or similar 1 in x 2 ft. likes this

4 - PVC 90 Degree Elbows 1 in. like this

1 - Sheet of cardboard


Wall hooks like these

White sheet of fabric to diffuse and soften the light (I used a pillow case that I cut)

How to Make the Light Panel

To make the panel, you'll need to decide how big you want to make it. I chose 2 ft. pipes, because I wanted to make it 2 feet all around. There are many sizes of PVC pipes, so you can choose how bit you want your panel to be. 

Keep in mind that the bigger the panel, the more lights you may need. 

Build the frame by connecting the pipes to the elbows. You should have a large square frame.

DIY Cheap Lighting for Product Photography 1
DIY Cheap Lighting for Product Photography 2

Measure the cardboard to fit inside the frame. You want the cardboard to fit in the middle of the frame without being too snug, because you will zip tie the corners to attach the board to the frame.

Once you have the cardboard fitted properly, wrap it in foil and tape down the edges neatly. Determine where you want the LED adapter to connect to the lights, and start attaching the light strips to the foil-wrapped cardboard

I kept the connecting end of my light strip at the bottom corner, because I find that this places less stress on the adapter connection. In this photo, I used 2 light strips. I recommend using at least 3 - 5 strips for a 2' x 2' board. This creates more evenly distributed light.

Wrap one light strip around the panel, and to connect more light strips, use the LED connectors on the ends. Continue until you are satisfied with the light distribution.

DIY Cheap Lighting for Product Photography 3

Poke some holes in the corners of the cardboard and use zip/cable ties to attach them to the frame. Tighten to secure. Wrap the entire frame in a white sheet, keeping the adapter end open for easy connection. 

DIY Cheap Lighting for Product Photography 4

Using wall hooks, you can hang the frame on the wall behind your product. This also provides easy storage, so it's out of the way. 

Now, all you've gotta do is take awesome photos! 

DIY Cheap Lighting for Product Photography 5

I hope you enjoyed this post! Cheap and affordable lighting is quickly becoming my specialty. I love finding new ways to recreate light and dress up my shots. What do you think?

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