Almost Free DIY Paper Diffuser

You want cheap? I'll give you cheap.

As you probably know, California Sunbounce is a cool, high-end light mod manufacturer based in Germany. Not sure where the California part came from.

Probably weather envy. (UPDATE: Nope, but I was close!)

And I say cool not just because they like to tickle the NSFW line under the chin by running ads with nekkid mannequins in the sidebar, but because they also publish the Lighting Academy website.

[UPDATE: New mannequin -- but this time she's clothed.]

Lighting Academy is the uber-cheap cousin to CSB, where almost everything is DIY-free -- or darn near it.

This quickie DIY "Budget Flash Diffuser" is so easy to make you can whip one up on the spot as needed. It is also essentially free, if you can scrounge the hair band thingie on which the mount depends. (A ball bungee would work nicely, too.)

Efficient? Nope. But perfect to turn a bare flash into a sweet little close-up portrait light. And if you were stuck with an on-camera-only flash, it would make a pretty big difference in your tight portraits, too.

It'll hold you until you can swing a Lumiquest SB-III, but you will get some light spill out of the sides unless you get all budget crazy and spring for another sheet of dark paper to cut into gobo/wings.

If you have more time than money, take a moment to look at some of the nifty ideas on their DIY site.

:: Lighting Academy: Budget Flash Diffuser ::
:: Homepage: Lots of other DIY Goodness ::



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Blogger york said...

Hi David

Re: "As you probably know, California Sunbounce is a cool, high-end light mod manufacturer based in Germany. Not sure where the California part came from."

Here you can find the reason for having "California" in the company name California Suncounce:

Greetings from Germany


May 27, 2010 12:57 AM  
Blogger Xema said...

Hehe, that the old way I was working on. Metz old flashes are a good source for lighting.

May 27, 2010 2:44 AM  
Blogger Thomas Ijewski said...

Wonder why "California"?
Look here:

Greetings from Germany!

May 27, 2010 2:53 AM  
Blogger Surly said...

All my flashes have those hair bands on them. Black foam and hair ties make great snoots/gobos/flags etc... and are light and almost free.

May 27, 2010 10:38 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Yeah nice :0

Did the same thing only rounded the main body parts and covered them in alu foil.
Then covered the sides
Works pretty well as a DIY product softbox

May 27, 2010 12:14 PM  
Blogger parv said...

Weak^WFrustrating point in the diffuser are the tabs. I had tried -- not this particular one, but similar to "Omni bounce" or other small diffuser -- with plastic & paper, both had problems of staying out under the rubber band or velcro strap (as a band, not as using both hook & loop sides). Plastic had problem of being slippery, and paper of being tearing off.

Somehow the tabs would need to be roughened up enough so that the diffuser would stay put due to additional friction, as long as

May 28, 2010 5:15 AM  
Blogger Jason Anderson said...

Kinda funny to see this b/c at one point I was using a piece of plain copy paper, and making a funnel of it with clear scotch tape and delicately placing over the built-in flash. I looked like a total tool, but the quality of light did increase significantly on my test shots!

May 28, 2010 11:00 AM  
Blogger Martin said...

A few weeks back, on purchasing a new DVD from HMV over here in the UK, to find it came with a free Lightsphere-style flash dome!

At some point in the recent past, HMV seem to have swapped their small plastic carrier bags for white paper bags. With a bit of scrunching and a decent sized rubber band, I found my new light diffuser works quite effectively!

May 28, 2010 2:09 PM  
Blogger parv said...

Wrote me thus: Somehow the tabs would need to be roughened up ... friction, as long as

Yikes! Somehow I managed to submit with an incomplete sentence. Please pretend that the sentence finished with "... friction.".

May 28, 2010 11:45 PM  
Blogger David Solo said...

It was a little strange to see this post pop up on my iphone while I was sitting in front of you at th esminar in the radisson, Edinburgh yesterday! Not only have you masterd light it seems that as Einstein predicted you can travel through time too! I Loved the whole day David, thankyou. PS Elaine is barmy isnt she?

May 29, 2010 4:59 AM  
Blogger Kurt said...

Excellent idea and simple to make too!

June 03, 2010 5:20 AM  
Blogger Michael Zelbel said...

Awesome handy little technique. Use simple kitchen paper for more efficiency - and it saves budget ;-)

Cousin David, please tell me, what is "CSB"? (Gosh, I guess I'm currently outing myself with a stupid question)

I wish you good light!
-- Michael

June 22, 2010 10:56 AM  

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