Six of the Most Creative In-The-Box Photography Ideas

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Six of the Most Creative In-The-Box Photography Ideas

I love in-the-box photography!  It is so much fun to get creative and take photos in a giant box.  The sky’s the limit when it comes to creative in-the-box photography ideas!

I know you will be amazed and inspired when you see the work of these super-talented photographers.  You are going to want to jump right in and start creating your own box photos.  But before we get too far into these creative in-the-box photography ideas, let’s talk about what you need to get started.

Woman in a box for birthday celebration showing Creative In-The-Box Photography Idea
Photo Credit: Alissa Beth

What You Need for Creative In-The-Box Photography

In case you are entirely new to in-the-box photography, here is an overview explaining it all.  Once you have a basic understanding, you will need to build your box.  Finally, you will need to know how to put together a box photo composite in Lightroom and Photoshop.  Whether you are ready to create your own box photos or not, here are six super creative in-the-box photo ideas to inspire you!

1 - Creative In-The-Box Photography for birthdays!

One of my favorite creative in-the-box photography ideas is to take memorable photos celebrating the birthday boy or girl!  Stacey Rowley of Photog-a-box Photography shows us exactly how to do that with her Happy Birthday composite of Jaxon!  She includes balloons in the birthday boy’s favorite colors.  I love how Jaxon is interacting between the boxes with balloons floating up from the center shot.

birthday boy in a box photo
Photo Credit: Stacey Rowley

Bonus Idea!

I am a reasonably new grandma, and I’m sorry to say I didn’t think of this idea for my first grandson.  But now that grandchild #2 is on the way, I have formatted a box birthday plan!  My plan begins with a newborn photo in the box, with baby surrounded by pink or blue balloons and all the things a newborn needs, then will continue with a birthday photo each year ‘til that little grandchild is too old to want to climb into my box, or I’m too old to take the photos!  Each year the box can look a little different as we add a square.  If you want to jump on board with this idea for your kids or grandkids, you’ll need to learn to create your own box template with this step-by-step guide to creating your own box photo template in Photoshop.  

Back to the Creatives!

Keep in mind that birthdays aren’t just for kids!  Everyone has birthdays, and there is no limit to your creativity in celebrating them.  Check out this fantastic box composite from Alissa Beth, who started the Inside the Photo Box Photography and Photoshop group on Facebook.   Alissa knows how to celebrate a big birthday in a big way!  A simple switch of images, and you can change up your end result.  I love her clever nod to the Bernie meme craze that happened in early 2021 by placing him front and center in the second version of her birthday box.  What a perfect time-stamp for the celebration of her 50th year!

Woman in a box for birthday celebration showing Creative In-The-Box Photography Idea
Photo Credit: Alissa Beth
Creative in-the-box idea showing a birthday girl around the outside with Bernie Sanders in the center
Photo Credit: Alissa Beth

Alissa Beth has inspired me, and I will definitely be making a box photo composite of my own for my 50th birthday – coming soon!  You can see more of Alissa’s work on Instagram.

2 - Creative In-The-Box Photography for the seasons!

Seasons cannot limit creative in-the-box photography!  In fact, seasonal boxes are some of my favorites and a perfect way to celebrate all the different times of the year!  Laura Font of Laura Font Photography took celebrating spring to a whole new level with her unique St. Patrick’s Day box photo composite.  She is shown here with her sister and kids Luc and Luci.

I love all of the details here.  Pay attention to the clouds on the top with raindrops falling from them and how Laura used Photoshop to place a rainbow coming from the pot of gold on the bottom left over the entire image.

2 women and 2 children in a box photo for birthday celebration showing Creative In-The-Box Photography Idea
Photo Credit: Laura Font

If you would like to see more of Laura’s work, you can check her out on Instagram and Facebook.

We can’t talk about all the seasons without looking at creative in-the-box photo ideas for Christmas.  Check out this great use of box photos for a family Christmas card created by Alissa Beth.  So many options for the holidays.

Santa's hand holding a box full of people showing a creative in-the-box photography idea
Photo Credit: Alissa Beth

3 - Creative In-The-Box Photography with homemade props!

Check out this incredible example of creative in-the-box photography from Shannon of Shannon Carlson Photography!  Shannon set up for her spring box photo sessions by papering the inside of her box and creating a woodland scene, complete with unique hand-crafted logs and mushrooms!  I love this setup with boys interacting between boxes.  Great hats too!  Also, take note that in the center scene she has 16 boxes instead of 12, so you can see how easy it is to change it up and make a different-sized template that works with the story you are creating.

I always love a setting that suits both the roughest, toughest boys and the sweetest, girliest girls and this scene does the trick.  Frogs and fishing poles are the perfect setup for these rough and tumble boys, and a floaty fairytale dress is an ideal accessory for a little fairy princess!

boy fishing and playing in a creative in-the-box photography idea with a log and a giant mushroom
Photo Credit: Shannon Carlson
boy fishing and playing in a creative in-the-box photography idea with a log and a giant mushroom
Photo Credit: Shannon Carlson
a girl in a fairytale dress playing in a creative in-the-box photography idea with a log and a giant mushroom
Photo Credit: Shannon Carlson

A Bonus Tutorial!

These props are so amazing!  Shannon kindly shares her instructions for how to make the mushroom and the log:

I used the cable spool on the left, I took a pool noodle and cut one side all the way down so I could slip it around the edge of the spool. I taped the noodle down then filled the middle of the top with poly fill and stretched a piece of red fabric over it. I secured the fabric to the inside of the spool with upholstery staples. For this mushroom, I did a pool noodle around the base as well then stretched the brown fabric from the bottom and secured it with staples to the top of the center rod. Then I painted the spots on top.

the inside and outside of a handmade mushroom used for creative in-the-box photography
Photo Credit: Shannon Carlson

For this one, I did the same thing on the top, but on the bottom I simply covered the base with fabric that looks like grass.

Homemade mushroom used for creative in-the-box photography

For the log, I put pool noodles on both sides of the spool, then I took a rectangular piece of brown upholstery vinyl and rolled it around the sides, then secured it to the top and bottom of the spool with staples. For the top I took a piece of 1 inch pillow foam and cut it in a circle to fit inside the pool noodle. Then I used spray adhesive to attach the fabric to the foam and then the foam to the center of the top. I used a gold paint sharpie to paint the rings on the log, and I used acrylic paint in 3 colors of brown to paint the bark. In the picture it is sitting on another spool to make it easier to paint.

Homemade log used in creative in-the-box photography

Check out more of Shannon’s work on Facebook.

4 - Creative In-The-Box Photography for the Highly Creative!

Next, I need to pay tribute to those photographers who go a step above when it comes to creativity.  Creative in-the-box photography barely covers how brilliant this next photo is!  Robin Aronson of Robin Aronson Photography found a fantastic way to get her college-aged kids involved in a fun family project while being quarantined during the early phase of the world pandemic known as Covid-19.  Robin says, “It took a lot of me talking everyone into it and we had to make all the costumes and decorations – but it was a lot of fun!”  The next image shows Robin’s version of the 10 Plagues as found in the book of Exodus in the Bible.  Well done, Robin and family.  Can you imagine the memories they will always have of putting together this project? 

creative in-the-box photography showing the artist's rendition of the 10 plagues
Photo Credit: Robin Aronson

5 - Creative In-The-Box Photography for Social Distancing!

Since we just talked about quarantining in the time of Covid, this is a great time to mention social distancing.  Communities worldwide are being asked to social distance or stay 6 feet away from each other at all times.  Taking photos of groups of people has become a bit more complicated.  Group photos for organizations like baseball teams, classroom students, and even business or church staff are almost impossible to organize in this era.

A New Way to "Do Life"

But as the world has learned how to “do life” while social distancing, we photographers have had to change up our game as well.  Here’s where creative in-the-box photography comes in!  After she shared her amazing 10 Plagues box photo with her temple, Robin tells how she used her box to create another work of art, socially distant style!

“Then when we were still in quarantine months later, the temple/clergy [of Kehillat Israel, A reconstructionist temple in Pacific Palisades, CA]   contacted me about a socially distant photoshoot for them to promote the High Holidays.  So I came up with a box shoot – so they could each come to my “garage studio” each person at a different time.  I keep my garage door open to allow the fresh air to circulate.  They each came at a different time and I disinfected the box between each person.  They used this box as a promotion for High Holidays … a large banner in town, on all their social media and also printed on the first page of the prayer books that they gave to every temple member to follow along with their Zoom High Holiday service.”

Once again, Robin scores big with using her creative in-the-box photography thinking to create a truly unique series of images.

Temple Leaders posing in a creative in-the-box photography image
Photo Credit: Robin Aronson

More from Robin:

“And now a year later, we are still in a pandemic and they were interested in another socially distanced box shoot with the clergy for Passover.  I did a little brainstorming, and this is what I came up with.  They will be promoting it again all throughout our local town and of course social media.  They are also sending it to Streits, the Kosher food company best known for the matzo shown in this image.

Temple Leaders shown with matzo used in communion composited into a creative in-the-box photography image
Photo Credit: Robin Aronson

6 - Creative In-The-Box Photography Highlighting Hobbies Around the World

Creative in-the-box photography is not limited to one single state or country.  In my search, I found terrific photographers who are using boxes all around the world.  I also found so much creativity in displaying not just people who are loved but also hobbies that are loved!

Take this example from Jothy John of JJ Photography in Singapore.  He completed building his box and wanted to put it to work.  When his family was busy at work, he went ahead and put the box to work showing off his other hobby, rock climbing.  Jothy earns high marks for creativity on this one.  When asked, Jothy shared how he put it all together by drawing out his plan before taking his photos.  This approach allowed him to photograph each box just how he envisioned it.  I think it came together beautifully, don’t you?  You can see more of Jothy’s work by finding him on Facebook and Instagram.

a man rappeling in and out of boxes in a creative in-the-box photography composite
Photo Credit: Jothy John

In another example of creativity around the world, Evi Hanbauer of Evi Han Photography in Austria shows off her incredible artistry and funky style in this tribute to all things music.  Notice the pop of color in not only her hair but also her matching shoes.  She makes in-the-box magic with her interactions from box to box!  Thank you for sharing, Evi!

a girl with blue hair playing a variety of instruments in a creative in-the-box photography composite

If you would like to see more of Evi’s work, check her out on Facebook and Instagram

Finally, take a look at Ron Nabity, of Ron Nabity Photography in the United States, who fashionably shows off all of his hobbies in this fun and creative in-the-box photography composite.  When you have time to have this many hobbies, they all deserve to be celebrated.  And can you think of a better way to celebrate them than by capturing them in a box?  Me, neither!

A man shows his many hobbies in a creative in-the-box photography composite
Photo Credit: Ron Nabity

Wrapping up our Creative In-The-Box Photography Adventure

I could show examples and write pages and pages all day long about photographers’ creativity with the in-the-box photo frenzy.  But rather than showing you more examples, I would love for you to show ME some examples.  Create your box, master the basics of creating your own template and assembling the composite and soon you’ll be creating works of art just like these!  I can’t wait to see what you create!

For more inspiration, check out the Inside the Box Facbook group

To connect with me, find me on Facebook or Instagram

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