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DIY Flash Diffuser In 35.5 Seconds

Posted in Tutorials | 2 comments

Here is the scenario; you are out at a swanky party, you brought your speedlight or any other kind of external flash, but somehow you forgot to bring your flash diffuser!!! Even worse yet, the ceilings are too high to bounce off!!! AGGGHHHHHHHH!!! It’s ok, it’s ok, we can save this.

What does a Reflector card or light sphere do? Well in short it just softens the light. There are two ways to do this.

  1. Bounce the flash off a wall or ceiling
  2. Shoot the flash through an opaque material

Two popular types of products are the lightsphere like this one that I have ordered but hasn’t arrived yet from Mydashop and reflector cards like this one from DSLR.A. I am going to show you how to build and attach a reflector styled one in 35.5 seconds. Really, I timed it. And you can do this at the event, provided you have access to a toilet and either a rubber band or a girlfriend.

Step 1

Gather all the things you see below:

  1. A toilet paper roll (easily acquired from the bathroom) that is ideally white inside.
  2. An external flash, which you should have if you are following this tutorial.
  3. A rubber band, hair scrunchie, piece of tape or anything else you can use to fix this all together.
  4. And last but not completely necessary, a pair of scissors.

Step 2

Start by cutting or ripping the toilet paper roll in two.

Step 3

Flatten it out

Step4

Fold in the bottom corners

Step 5

Attach your girlfriends scrunchie to the top of the flash.

Step 6

Bam, attach the two together. If you don’t have anything to attach them together, then you can just hold it.

Step 7

This is optional, but cut the sides just above the folds so that you can widen the side a little bit.

Ta-da! A reflector kit in 35.5 seconds. It’s not as good as the ones that you’d pay real money for obviously, but it will work in a pinch. Check out the differences below.

Diffused Light

Hard Light

So how does this actually work? Well normally I’d make my own little picture in photoshop to show you how, but in this instance DSLRA has already made a picture that explains it so perfectly.

Photo courtesy of DSLRA

As you can see, you point your flash upwards and shoot. The light is bounced off the white of the reflector and spreads evenly across the subject, softening the shadows. This also provides more light in the background instead of just on your subject. In the pictures I did of the lunch box I didn’t tilt my flash head at all, I just pointed it straight up. Perhaps If I had tilted it down slightly such as in the illustration above, the lighting would have been even better, but it started raining again and my camera isn’t water proof.

I have quite a few reviews on the way. One for the Nikon Sb-600, one for a set of wireless flash triggers and one for the lightsphere that is still on the way. I will also be doing reviews of the businesses I purchased all these from, so stay tuned if you are just starting to get into lighting!

P.s. – bet you didn’t believe me about that 35.5 seconds huh?

2 Comments

  1. Well done for sure. I’m heading to the bathroom trash now!

  2. The Idea for this came to me when I noticed the bin in the bathroom was overflowing with old toilet paper rolls. I made a tower, but still has some left. I suppose necessity AND boredom are the mothers of invention.

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