Studio Lighting – DIY Homemade Soft Flash Diffuser
In the following article Brian Zimmerman will demostrare how to make a small, home made flash diffuser. you might also want to check out the diy mini flash bouncer guide or the diy flash softbox guide as alternate solutions.
Soft Flash Diffuser Instructions
Use a small piece of ripstop nylon over your flash unit to diffuse and soften the light.
I cut a 3-inch square piece of RipStop nylon, and attached pieces of self-stick velcro to it and to the flash. The fabric can be quickly added to the flash to diffuse and soften the light a little bit and is easily removed. I used a candle to carefully melt the edges of the cut fabric to keep the threads from unraveling.
By the way, this Digi-Slave flash unit had a voltage of 218 volts at the hotshoe contacts, so no way was I going to use it directly on my Canon Pro 90 without modification. (Canon says a flash should have 6V or less)
Mini-diffuser added to flash. My next project will be a larger version, like a miniature soft box to fit the flash.
Sample shot using RipStop nylon mini-diffuser over flash. Compare color to next image.
This revealing shot used a Sport nylon over the flash unit – this is the type of nylon used to make flags – the difference from RipStop nylon is described under the Hotlight Design folder. Note the distinct reddish cast in this image caused by the sport nylon. I consistently saw the same differences when changing between the two, so it was not just a random error in camera white balance (set to Auto white balance). I had been having problems with reddish casts and thought it was caused either by the Quartz-Halogen lights which have a more orange color temperature than sunlight (but not so much as regular incandescent lights) or a white balance problem (despite using a custom white balance), but it appears that most of the problem was caused by the Sport Nylon that I had been using instead of RipStop nylon. I’ll stick with the Ripstop from now on. If you are going to buy Nylon fabric for a diffusion screen, I would suggest taking your digital camera inside the fabric store, and hold a corner of it over your flash while you take a picture, then do the same with another white nylon, and compare image color balance in the image to the same view taken without covering the flash, then choose the closest match or most natural looking color.
Another great idea – Use a plastic rubbing alcohol bottle, cut the top off, and secure to flash head with strips of velcro.
© 2002 Brian L. Zimmerman, BLZphotos.com
Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.