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DIY Food Photography Lighting

Written by Mike Tamplin Sep 19, 2012


With summer coming to an end, the gloomy fall season in Seattle is fast approaching. (Well, maybe “fast” isn’t the right word. It’s been unusually sunny and dry for the last month and it’s forecasted to be sunny for a while.) Anyways, gloomy weather is sure to hit us at some point in the coming months. Are you ready?

Here in Seattle gloomy weather is commonplace most of the year. Those low-light days really affect the quality of my cookie photos. Bakeat350 and Steamy Kitchen both have raved about the Lowel Ego Table Lamp for solving all their low-light problems with great results. The downside to this light is the hefty price tag.

Being on a budget and fairly new to blogging, I didn’t want to commit to the $104. While researching alternatives, I found this awesome DIY lighting project from Mawoca.  He shows how to do a $30 DIY-option to the $104 Lowel Ego light.

I took a crack at making my own Lowel Ego light following his instructions and I’m so glad I did. It just took a trip to Ikea, Home Depot, and Michaels. It was so easy and cheap that I decided to make two of them!

Here’s my setup: (I have an extra white foam board in the back for more light reflection.)

lowel ego light off

Here’s my setup with them turned on:

lowel ego diy on

An interior shot:

lowel ego diy interior

And all the components:

lowel ego diy components

These lights work magic! The proof is in the photos. You can really see the difference in my blog posts before May 1st of this year (when I made these lights) versus the posts I had after. Look for yourself.

With the lights:


With the lights:


The photos without the lights just seem dull, even after doing some photo-editing to improve them. These DIY Lowel Ego lights brighten the picture quality so that minimal photo-editing is required afterwards.

Whether it be during gloomy, rainy days or just night-time shooting, these budget-friendly lights make your photos great. Thanks Mawoca!

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31 replies on “DIY Food Photography Lighting

  1. Fantastic!
    I’ve been wanting to improve my photos. Going to put this on my to do list. Thanks for the post!

  2. Hi thanks for posting information about photography for food i just got the boards as a start now i have to get the rest again thank you for information

  3. Hi Mike –

    I was looking at your light kit. It appears that the light is only coming from the right side of the unit. Is this correct? It seems like there would be a shadow on the left side if the light is coming from the right. It also seems like the light should be coming from the back Of the unit.

    Maybe I’m just not looking at it correctly. Thanks so much for posting this.

    1. Hi Janice. I built two kits and placed them on both the right and left sides. I also placed a white foam board on the back to reflect light from that direction. This setup reflects light from pretty much all directions, which is a great way to eliminate any chance of shadows. I hope this helps!

      1. Hi again, Mike –

        Any progress on re-posting the light box instructions? Just a nudge.

        Thanks – Janice

  4. Hi – would love to give this a try, but the the link to the instructions no longer works. Can anyone help?

    1. Oh bummer, he must have taken it down. :-\ I don’t have any of the details on recreating it. However, when I have more free time I can do another post with all the measurements.

  5. Hi Mike –

    Any progress on posting the light box instuctions? Just a nudge…

    Thanks –


  6. Hi Mike,
    Ahhhh, now that I’m reading the comment section I can see why I couldn’t find the instructions to the light box —**sad face** snif, snif (-__-)

  7. Found the original instructions on web archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20151016092103/http://mawoca.tumblr.com/diysoftbox

    Yay! I’m making my softbox now!

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