I’m here to share how I created my “In the Box” image. It’s super easy to do just tedious to edit. I should start off by saying there are lots of ways to create this type of image. If you google “in the box images” you will get lots of YouTube tutorials that will give you lots of options. Some people offer these type of images as mini sessions and choose to build a more permanent and perfectly square cube with the optimum dimensions. Then they use a template in Photoshop to just drag and drop to make editing much quicker and easier. They even have Facebook groups completely dedicated to in the box pictures. Having said all that, I just wing it lol. I only take these kind of image a couple times a year and have no desire to build a permanent structure. I just take a nice sized sturdy box…in my case I stole one of my neighbors moving boxes lol. The box I have is not perfectly square and so I don’t end up with a perfect crop ratio but I don’t care I just throw on a black border.
Big sturdy box (I tape back the flaps)
Something sturdy to put your box on to give you a little bit of lift (I use a very short bench)
Something sturdy to put behind your box to keep it safe. I just had it up against my dining room table so the kiddos didn’t knock it over.
Tripod (you want all your images identical)
Props if you want (for xmas I used lights, small xmas trees, hats… but the options are limitless just Pinterest “in the box” and you’ll get all kinds of ideas)
I only use natural light so no flash. I setup my box at about a 45 degree angle to my only natural light source (my sliding glass doors you see off to the left). I use white curtains to adjust the lighting as needed.
Setup tripod to face the center of the box. The squarer the box is straight out of camera the easier it is to edit (you don’t want to be above or below the box, keep it right in the middle). You want to shoot your images as quickly as you can to keep the lighting the same. Even shooting all my images at one go because the lighting was fading so quickly and because my kids are slow as molasses lol I had trouble editing all my images the same because my first kids had bright lighting and more vibrant colors but by the time I got to my last kiddo I had to up my ISO and the colors became more dull as the sun was fading. So get your images as similar as possible.
This part sounds super easy but actually is very time consuming. You want to select images that are interesting and different and if you have lots of children like me you need to be careful with number of each child.
Hands down this is the most time consuming part of this type of image. Now some of it depends on how nit picky you are but I’m anal retentive so it takes me a LONG time to get mine right. So…
Upload images into Lightroom, cull images down to the possible winners, then crop them in as close as you can and edit how you see fit (use crop tool or try out the transform section for more accurate perfecting). I used Smal 01 with tweaks on my bottom in the box image and hand edited the xmas in the box version. Once basic editing is done (crop, preset if desired, exposure, contrast, sharpening, noise reduction, yada yada), then it’s time to go to PS.
I first open Photoshop and create a new project… you can choose what size you want to create. I think I decided on the type of print I wanted to make and went from there. I believe I did an 8×10 with the xmas image.
Then I went back into Lightroom and selected all the images I wanted to be in my image then right clicked and went to “edit in” then “open as layers in Photoshop”
Then I select and drag using the “v” key to move the images over to my Photoshop project base.
After that, I resize them by selecting all the images and hitting command T to activate Free Transform and then I drag the size down and eyeball about how big I want them to be to fit three across (there are more technical and accurate ways of doing this lol).
I drag them into position. Make sure to pay attention to edges, you don’t want overhang on the outer edges. Also zoom out to look at the image…. Is it balanced? Look for colors, size, props, etc. I make sure to keep my PS layers panel in order to make erasing on layer masks easier (I order them left to right and top to bottom. Write down names to make quick identification of layers easier ex. Upper Left Name)
I then start creating layer masks and erasing excess borders from each image and then moving and warping (to warp, select image, command T and then right click to choose warp from the options) each image until all the images line up as perfectly as possible. When I’m done, I flatten the image.
I can go back with the fixer tools: spot healing, healing, patch, etc and correct anything that needs it.
Then overall image fixers… sharpening, smoothing, lighting, toning, overlays etc.
DONE!!! Congratulations!!! Lol
So that’s it!I hope any of you found that helpful. In the box images can be a bit time consuming but super fun. And if you have lots of children, it’s a great way to get all the babes in one picture.