How to Build a Collapsible Lightbox Using a Pair of GorillaTorches

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Image: Alice Truong for Discovery Channel

As a gadgets writer, I’m often behind a camera taking product shots. Yet as a freelancer, I don’t have the luxury of fancy lightboxes.

Using some poster boards and a pair of Joby GorillaTorches (cousins to the GorillaPod, a favorite among photogs), I decided to make my own collapsible lightbox. This easy DIY project should take about half an hour, and after you’re done, you can fold it up and tuck it behind a door.

READ MORE: How Joby’s GorillaTorch Line Stacks Up

Image: Alice Truong for Discovery Channel

Materials needed for this project:

-3 styrofoam poster boards

-2 GorillaTorches (I recommend the 100 lumen Flare and 130-lumen Blade, but any bright lighting will work.)

-masking tape

-pair of scissors or other cutting utensil

Image: Alice Truong for Discovery Channel

Using a pair of scissors, X-ACTO knife or whatever you’ve got, score two of the three poster boards in half. Avoid cutting the entire board in half. What you want is to penetrate the surface and most of the foam. The remaining board should be halved and cut through.

Image: Alice Truong for Discovery Channel

With the two boards scored, they should be easy to break into halves.

Image: Alice Truong for Discovery Channel
Image: Alice Truong for Discovery Channel

Tape two of the boards together so they begin forming the shape of a cube. The scored surface should be facing out.

Image: Alice Truong for Discovery Channel

Affix one of the remaining half poster boards to the box. It will act as the box’s back panel. You can choose to also trim the board so it aligns perfectly with the rest of the box, but that’s not necessary.

To make this lightbox collapsible, I added small pieces of masking tape on the sides to hold the back panel in place. I chose this route to save space in my small apartment, but you can also tape the sides down for a non-collapsible version.

Image: Alice Truong for Discovery Channel
Image: Alice Truong for Discovery Channel

You’re done building the box. Position the GorillaPods, or your choice of bright lighting, such that the rays hit the ceiling of the box.

Image: Alice Truong for Discovery Channel

Here’s the lightbox in collapsed form.

Some test shots below. Aside from the crop, these images are untouched. I would recommend shooting both with and without the camera flash to see what you like best.

Image: Alice Truong for Discovery Channel
Image: Alice Truong for Discovery Channel

Follow @alicetruong on Twitter.

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