DIY Food Photography Lighting

By Mike Tamplin on 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!

This post is linked up to one of these link parties.


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21 replies on “DIY Food Photography Lighting

  1. Thanks for this post Mike! I was wondering if you have a pattern or template with the dimensions to make the cuts? I looked on Mawoca’s post and the image is too blurry when zoomed to read. Much appreciated!

    1. I don’t have anything written down at the moment but once I have the free time I’ll see if I can upload a template with dimensions to this post.

  2. Love this DIY project! However, the Mawoca web site is down, so I can’t see the plans anywhere. Any chance of posting the instructions?

  3. Would love instructions to this if possible, or at least a list of all the parts it is made up of. Linked website is down

  4. Hi there,

    Amazing DIY you have down, would appercaite if you can tell us the measurement/spec and the materials used.

    Bit urgent.


  5. Thanks! I used a combination of your blog post and other peoples’ blog posts to create my own. http://www.thecitybee.com/2015/06/two-diy-ego-lights-for-40/ It made a huge difference in photography!

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

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