DIY Flash Diffuser for under $10

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If you do any portraiture, you probably are like me and don’t like the unnatural harsh light created by using flash in low-light situations. Your subjects get that “deer in the headlights” look, red eye and it brings out their every pore, wrinkle and blemish.

Professional photographers often use spendy flash diffusers to spread out the light evenly in the room to create nice, soft images that look like they’ve been created in a photo studio. These are attached to the after-market flash and can cost upwards of $60.

I used one of the leading flash diffusers for some time with great success. However, one day the diffuser fell off and shattered. I shoot an assortment of environments and often am hired to photograph events, luncheons, do executive portraits and children’s photos. I don’t always have  my portable studio lighting with me when an opportunity to make an extra buck on the fly.

So, I made a flash diffuser of my own. It works fabulously and it costs only about $5 and less than one minute to make. It also will fit most brands of professional flashes that attach to your camera’s hot shoe.

Here’s my Sagebrush Shutterbug DIY tip:

Buy a smoothie cup like the one pictured below. They commonly come with a wire ball inside and a lid with a flap for drinking your smoothies. Simply remove the lid and the ball inside used to stir the liquid contents. Slide the cup over the top of your flash and VIOLA! you’ve got a sturdy, thrifty flash diffuser.

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If you want to get fancy, study the commercial ones and you can modify them for pennies on the dollar. I used a piece of tinfoil to increase the output of the flash.

You also can buy a sheet of color correction film to create warmer or cooler skin tones. I get wonderful skin tones with no modifications. If you are having color correction issues, just do a white balance using the light from the flash and you’re good to go.

The product I used is called a Blender Bottle and readily available. I suspect other brands also will work providing that they are not clear, coated or tinted.

To use them, simply point the flash head straight up, slip the cup over it and gently push it down to secure it. Your TTL flash will take care of the necessary exposure automatically.

Like this DIY tip? Please comment. If it doesn’t work, let me know There could be some factors I haven’t thought of and other photographers will benefit from your comments.

Here’s what it looks like mounted on a flash.

Happy shooting from the Sagebrush Shutterbug. 🙂

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