In the latest installment of our DIY Photography Hacks series, find out how to build a simple diffuser from a piece foam to attach to your flashgun to soften portraits.
Modern flashguns are technically spot on when it comes to exposure. However, they can get it wrong indoors, often producing harsh images with overexposed subjects on underexposed backgrounds.
Simple flashgun diffusers are easy to make, and once you’ve seen the results you’ll use yours again and again, as it produces soft and natural-looking light every time.
Follow the steps below to achieve fantastic indoor shots using nothing more than some craft foam and a few strips of self-adhesive Velcro.
Mark the outline
Mark out a 245x200mm rectangle on a sheet of thin white foam. Place your flash at the bottom centre of the box and fold the foam around the sides of the flashgun. Mark the edges and draw lines to the top.
Mark the tabs
From the top, mark lines down the diagonals, spacing them at 15mm, 35mm and 45mm. At the 35mm mark, draw a 20mm line inwards. From the top corners mark 30mm towards the centre.
Cut it out
Cut away the top corner between the 30mm mark at the top and the 15mm mark on the edge. Cut a wedge shape between the 20mm line and the 45mm mark, repeat on the other side, then cut out the edges.
Fit it to your flashgun
Fit a strip of self-adhesive Velcro onto your flashgun and along the bottom of the foam diffuser. Stick two tabs of Velcro on the top flaps at the edges, and bend the top over to create a small hood.
Location, location, location
Keep the diffuser upright for the best possible softening effects. In venues with high, dark ceilings, keep the top tab folded down. In small rooms, lift it up to allow more light to bounce off the ceiling.
Rather than producing a harsh, blinding flash unevenly on the subject, the foam diffuser creates a smoother, more subtle spread of light. Lighting appears a little more natural, and harsh shadows are reduced.
How to eliminate harsh shadows when using flash
Bounce flash photography techniques in 4 simple steps
Wedding photography tips: 10 steps to pro-quality pictures
Studio Lighting: 4 seriously simple lighting techniques to try at home