Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Technique Tuesday - Saving About $50 On a Bounce Flash

OK, so what's all this about - I thought we were going to hear some more about "Classical Portraiture" you say. Well, that was the plan until I finally decided that since I was down here in Tampa working on my Kelby Training videos, I would keep this week's Technique Tuesday more on topic with what I was doing down here. So look for another session on Classical Portraiture next Tuesday.

So what about today, you say? Boy, am I glad you asked - because today I'm going to save you hundred of dollars on lighting equipment. Sure, DIYPhotography has lots of ways to save a buck, sure the Strobist talks about money saving ring light set-ups, but today, yes, today is worth about $50 - $100 in your pocket. How you say - well let me tell you. There are so many contraptions out there for your on camera flash to soften, spread, and bounce the light around the room and they all cost upwards of $50 to $100. Well, folks, no more do you have to shell out your hard earned cash on those flash accessories because today I going to show you how to make one in about 10 minutes with a total cash outlay of $5 , tops and you'll end up with a spare one to boot! Heck, sell it to your neighbor for $10 bucks and you are way ahead of the game. OK are you ready - here we go...

Head down to your local Michael's craft store and pick up a $.79 piece of craft foam - the very thin variety. Next cut it in half - the resulting piece is about 9" x 11" - the perfect size. Now attach one piece of "Velcro" to each of the corners as shown. Apply the corresponding "Velcro" pieces to your on-camera flash as shown. Now attach your new flash diffuser to the flash as shown - this is getting pretty darn exciting about now, isn't it?Now lets see if it works. I set up my 2 580 EX flashes to fire in the "Master-Slave" configuration so you could see the result. Amazing, isn't it. Look how the light spreads over the entire white diffused surface of my new light modifier. Run it with the on flash diffuser in place and see how the light coverage is closer to the flash head on the following image.Retract the on flash diffuser and see how the light pattern moves up and away from the flash head slight - this is my preference, by the way - I think the light is spread more as shown below.Wait there's more - you can even adjust the new diffuser, tilting it forward and backward slightly to control your light even more! What versatility, what a beautiful light, what a cheap way to get things done! There you have it folks - don't say thank you, just past this good news to all your friends, family, associates and keep smiling ;~) --David


  1. Hi, this looks great!
    Can you post some sample photos of some images taken using this diffuser? Maybe one with your invention, and another with just the white flash card that comes with the flash?
    That would be very helpful.
    Thank you!

  2. I'm using a derivative of this right now and have been very staisfied with the results thus far. In addition to being priced right, t's lightweight, easy to store in my bag or a pocket, and doesn't fall off if it gets hit.

  3. David, David, David...

    How can you expect to make it as a professional photographer when you aren't using the most expensive accessories available?

    I've all ready read in you blog that you use a wall to bounce your on camera flash. Shame on you.

    Please round the corner of this flash modifier, cut some artistic holes in it and for pete sakes add some supporting plastic on it, silk screen your name on it and sell it for over 50 bucks so I will feel better about having/using it!

    Rant over...I've made/use something similar and it works great!

    Now about marketing it to the masses....

    "The Ziserflector"


  4. It's called a better bounce card and has been around for some time http://www.abetterbouncecard.com/

  5. Hey - I made this

    using the opost here

    a mini version of yours :)

  6. This still does not solve the problem that the Gary Fong Lightspere solves, shooting the camera in portrait mode and tilting the camera up.

    This would bounce the diffuser off your face with this flash hack. You would have to use a bracket to get it to work like that or adjust the foam so it is on the side and then facing forward, but would not work well in a fast paced event.

    Good hack though for the hobbyist who does not want to spend money. Keep up the good work.

  7. Just turn your flash head 180 degrees and then attach the bounce card on the narrow side. When you tilt your camera to do a portrait shot, you can then pivot the flash head to point the bounce card back up to the vertical position. Check out www.abetterbouncecard.com to see what I mean by attaching it to the narrow side and pivoting the head for portraits.