What kind of photos can you get out of a cardboard box wrapped in some paper? You'd be amazed. For this week's Shooting Challenge, we asked you to scrap together your own cheap lightbox. The results were fantastic.

WINNER: Headless

I built the lightbox on Saturday. I shot a bunch of very pedestrian things. On Sunday, I started by cleaning the house and waiting for inspiration to strike. As I was putting my wife's coat over a chair in the living room, I knocked over a statue behind the chair. It broke. It was my wife who suggested I shoot it in the light box. I shot the two pieces in the lightbox with both the head and the statue in focus in separate shots.I went on to take and edit more, fine shots, but my wife convinced me to return to the shot of the statue and head with the head in focus. The shot is dark and funny, and my wife should get the credit for it. Lightboxes are not for me. Thanks Honey! 50 mm, f/2.5, 1/320 sec, ISO 100
- Rob Huber


This shot is of an coyote skull I've had for a while. I aged it by soaking it over night in tea and by scrawling on it with pencil, then erasing it. For lighting I used 2 45W, 5500° K soft white bulbs and shot the photo with my tripod-mounted Nikon D70 camera with a 50mm 1:1.8D Nikkor lense at 200 ISO, F13, with a 1/2 second shutter speed with remote shutter release. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
- Omar Chapa

Duck Duck Goose

My husband built me a light box and still have five minutes to spare to go to our friend's house to watch the game! He'd done his job and left me to do mine. I found the brightest part of our house. I used natural light from a window and a home made reflector to light the light box on all three sides. I tried out all sort of things in the box...from black piggies to whisky flasks but in the end chose a goose's egg which is quite simple but I think effective. Used my Canon T2i and the macro lens.
- Georgina Lawrence

Smoke & Fire

When we moved into our office we installed a white cyc stage for our use and for use by friends and clients. I haven't had much chance to actually use the stage myself and was waiting for a good Shooting Challenge to submit to; this seemed to be the perfect match. 5DMark III. Canon 24-70 f2.8L, ISO 1250, 1/160. f10
- Jon Michael Kondrath

Clean Doggie

I built my light-box with a 20'x20' moving box and a shower liner. Canon T2i, 55mm, f/2.8
- Diego Jimenez

Big Daddy

I shot this Bioshock "Big Daddy" because I love the design and feel of these guys in the Bioshock franchise. They are so huge and heavy looking but also have that kind heart mushed inside that metal body for their "little sisters". This was a great item to add to my collection of toys and action figures, and every time I see it on my desk I smile knowing I have a Big Daddy guarding my computer. Canon 7D, Canon EF 28 - 135mm, ISO 200
- Mike Gallardo

Red Elephant

I used a cardboard box, white sheet, and 2 desk lamps, and off camera flash. Canon T3i, Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM. Shot at f/4, 1/60, ISO 400.
- Michael Standridge

Cellphone + Lightbox

To be honest I came home late Friday night to see my girlfriend had constructed her light box during the day, and left it setup before leaving to stay the weekend at her mothers. Incidentally she also took our camera, so these were shot with my Evo phone's camera. I thought the images looked decent though so wanted to submit!
- Preston Broussard

Bobble Spidey

I'm a huge comic book fan and have several Spider-man action figures around house. Including this bobble-head Spidey that I got from my girlfriend. I thought it might look neat to pose him under some decent light with the lightbox. I had to take a couple of shots with the same camera settings just to make sure his head wasn't moving during the shots. One slight table bump and I'd have to wait and start all over again. Canon 550d, Sigma 50mm 1.4, ISO 100. F 2.8, 1/40
- David Rusho

Rubber Band Ball

After hearing about this contest from a friend, I went down to my dorm room's recycling room and liberated a cardboard box. Construction of the box was a group effort, and the rubber band ball was on a friends desk. Shot with a Sony Alpha 33 (SLT-A33) using a 50mm F1.8 lens (DT 50mm F1.8 SAM)
ISO 400 1/160 second at ƒ/1.8 50mm
- Kyle Trusler

WINNER: Headless

(Click the photo to see it without a crop.)

Granted, not everyone used a homemade rig this week (which was fine—that was totally allowed in the rules). But I'm perpetually surprised by the quality of jury rigged photo props. Chances are, if there's a professional effect you've always wanted to try but thought you couldn't afford, there's somebody who has already built the thing from bent coat hangers and a few bargain bin light bulbs. See the full gallery below and the big shots on flickr.