Instructables
Picture of DIY Gary Fong Lightsphere

Hello! My name is Artur Gajewski and I'm the guy who never buys a fancy looking flash diffusers because I realized I could make one myself for the fraction of the cost of the original. As I have sold hundreds of these already, my fingers are getting tired from constant cutting so I decided to show you how to make AG Bouncer/Diffuser yourself.

Anyway, there are many types of diffusers and bouncers available for your external flash but many of them do just one thing or are too bulky or heavy. Some of them are hard to install to flash and some are so big they need special place in your camera bag in order to carry it with you.

I have tested bubble-plastic wraps, plastic milk bottles, anything I could think of that would diffuse my flash light. I have spent tremendous amount of time figuring the best solution since I do a lot of people photography and in fact, I have used this exact model ever since I started wedding photography. Sure, I do get asked a lot at wedding about this gadget, but its a great ice breaker between me and the people I photograph.

Without further rambling about my wedding photography, why don't we manufacture our own light diffuser for your external flash instead of paying alot of money for basically the same thing. A lot of diffusers manufactured by big companies are no NASA science engineering, they are just piece of plastic or silicone just like this one. The only difference is that your's will cost about $0.20 per diffuser.
 
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Keen Learner4 months ago

thank you for this. I am on tight photography budget; just cant afford to buy all the equipment I want, so this was a great help. I will use this at my next wedding photoshoot

hhughes75 months ago
Bit late to the party but hey ho...I've been meaning to have a go at this for a while so off I trawled to my local den of hell...I mean Ikea the other day. When I finally located the product I brought it home, whipped one up in around 72 seconds, didn't have any Velcro to hand so stuck it on with a bit of the photographer's favourite, gaffer tape and set to photographing a few table top items for eBay.

I'm well impressed. I also used it to take a surreptitious photo of my other half while he was sat watching the TV and it worked a treat.

I'll never bother with the crappy diffuser I already have ever again. I now realise the cheap bit of white plastic that sits on my flashgun can go straight in the bin.

It gives a great even light and although I didn't use direct flash, I simply bounced it vertically and it really did the trick. Love it.

So, can we all have a sideline flogging these on EBay for a tenner? ;) it's not 'patented' is it? (Just joking but I will recommend it to all my photographer friends and even make them one of their own for a small fee).

Thanks so much.
Helen
tvm7771 year ago
anyone has ebay link for material?
and also heres a link video
https://vimeo.com/32389148
DanUK5 years ago
tvm777 DanUK1 year ago
could you please post it again?
arturg (author)  DanUK4 years ago
Wow, great to hear you can get this from eBay. This is great news to those who live in a country that doesn't have IKEA.
joeyolson2 years ago
I absolutely love this DIY diffuser. I even made a couple extra for a few photographer buddies.

Canadian Tire (in Canada..) sells similar material for $7.99 a roll for those of you who don't live near an IKEA.

Here are some examples with and without the diffuser: http://blog.olson.info/2012/07/diy-on-cheap-part-2.html
cwaugh2 years ago
I made a special trip to Ikea just for the drawer lining to make this flash modifier. It took a few minutes to make and I couldn't be happier with it. I compared it to a friends Gary Fong light sphere and you couldn't tell the difference.

I feel better about carrying around my flash modifier though because it is so easy to pack and I don't have to worry about it breaking in my bag.

Well done!
dave132 years ago
I used a rotary cutting blade on a cutting mat. Worked very well. And, the measurements are already on the plastic cutting mat.
dave132 years ago
How about this:

Velcro strips will be attached on the shorter ends of the plastic. Place one strip of Velcro on the smooth side of the plastic and the other strip of Velcro on the bumpy side of the plastic [at the other end of the plastic].
Warpy4 years ago
I was really excited about building this, but it doesn't appear that this drawer mat is available in the USA. At least it doesn't show up when I search for Rationell Variera Drawer Mat on the IKEA USA web site.  Anybody have a strip they'd like to send me??   :)
You can buy the same stuff in a roll from Lowes. I found it in the storage/shelves area.
Made one, now to test it out.
Cool. I'll check it out. What name does it go by at Lowes?
Non Adhesive clear classic easy liner. I got a 20in x 4ft roll for $7 and they also had the adhesive velcro.
They also have the 12 inch x 6 ft roll for the same price.
I picked mine up at lunch today for $850 with tax. My Lowes must be in a high-priced area.
KayB64 Warpy2 years ago
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10109491/

Apparently, it is available in the U.S.
gphotocat Warpy2 years ago
I just purchased a whole roll of the stuff from "LOWES" Over in the cabinet and drawer liner section. You may have luck looking there... I'm going to make a few and also try and alter the design as well using fun foam. Happy Shooting.
miladie14 Warpy3 years ago
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10109491
arturg (author)  Warpy4 years ago
I decided that I could start making these again, so if you want me to produce you one for a small fee, write to me at artur.gajewski.photography @ gmail.com
kenja00 arturg4 years ago
small fee = 35 euro?  I guess for people with deep pockets, it's a small fee <grin> Unfortunately, that's not me!

Although this is a great idea, I think I'm going to have to find my own drawer liner...   I have a friend coming from the states, maybe I can try the lowes stuff as below...
arturg (author)  kenja004 years ago
Check your mail. I wasn't talking about one diffuser ;-)
kenja00 arturg4 years ago
 Oops, my mistake -- how much to produce ONE for a small fee?  I guess I should contact you via email
inthepink2 years ago
how thick is the sheet please? do you have a you tube link?
dswtan2 years ago
Love this! Thanks for the idea and sharing.

I've tried a number of diffusers over the years, but this looks to be the best so far! I especially like not having to put any velcro on the flash itself; it's all on the diffuser. It fits fairly loosely as a result, but secure enough, and quickly on/off. I also like how easy it is to store -- just a flexible flat sheet that you can stuff easily in a bag or roll up. I look forward to seeing how it works in practice for both indoor and macro!

I found the Clear Classic Easy Liner from Lowes in the US easily enough -- thanks to the additional tips on that in the comments. $6.97 + tax. Oddly the velcro (5' x3/4") sticky back was exactly the same price there too.

The 38cm cut length sounded a bit arbitrary, but I can see now that that's about the max length for this material's low rigidity (I personally went for 40cm, but the original width of the Lowes item at 50cm would probably just collapse or flop around. At 38 (and 40, just about), it's rigid enough (and actually quite safe to knock into as a bonus).
Just want to add a couple tips that I didn't see mentioned: 

1. Make sure you build it so the bumps on the plastic are on the inside, and the smooth surface is on the outside.

2. If your flash has a "wide panel" use it (along with this diffuser).

The first time I built this, I didn't do either of those - and saw mediocre results.  But after turning it inside out, and using the wide panel, I see really excellent results.

I don't have a light sphere to compare to, but I have a couple other light modifiers (a Hughes reflector, and a Fong origami), and this is much better than either of those.

Thanks for putting this out there!
Interestingly enough, I found mine to work better without the built in wide panel of a Nikon SB-700... I think TTL flash might have increased the output of the flash to compensate for the panel and created a harsher shadow.

Nonetheless, I love this thing. Since the rolls are dirt cheap at Ikea I might mess with a few design changes to see if I can create even softer lighting!
Does putting the bumps on the inside really make that much of a difference? I can see the wide panel being a big improvement, but I'm wondering if you tested it with the bumps on the outside and the wide panel?
isacco3 years ago
Hello,
this is a good idea. I had already used the same IKEA material as a flash diffuser and it works very well.
Thanks for sharing your project
arturg (author) 3 years ago
To all who think about aluminum foil on the back side of the bouncer: In my opinion, this would block the light going toward the back walls, hence not bouncing from them any longer.

The point of this design is to distribute light all over the place, making the light soft and natural looking. If you bounce too much light toward the target, you might as well just use an index card.

Just my two cents...
dpineda13 years ago
I built one of this with a bit of reluctancy..... Just used it at a wedding last weekend and the results were MAGNIFICENT! I was even so surprised with them! Thank you very much for the awesome instructions. I found the roll of bubbled plastic at Lowes for about $8.50 (incl tax)
arturg (author)  dpineda13 years ago
I'm glad to hear you like the results. Would like to see them if you could email me at artur.gajewski.photography@gmail.com
greenlien3 years ago
Great stuff this mate.

Just after reading I opened a drawer and found some old bank book, simple one end opening plastic wallets.
They measure approx 17cm x 12cm. Stick some white card/matt photo paper/white tissue/foil or whatever inside, turn flash head 90 degrees vertically then turn 90 clockwise (or anti). Put wallet on end!
One snug fitting totally free diffuser!
Just experiment with materials and which was you "face" it.

Sorted :)
wsecomp3 years ago
A little critiquing on the photos on the last step:

#1...Straight flash...ech! But that was the point, right? :)

#2...IMO, the most natural coloring of the subject of the the three. A fill light below or to the side would have eliminated the shadowing. HOWEVER, if you look at the resulting flash color from this diffuser, it has a green tint on the wall behind. (I work on a color-corrected monitor for work [photography for the web and print catalogs], so it may show up as a different tint on someone else's monitor.)

#3...Virtually no shadow, but the stool is over-lighted.

I agree with others...a human subject would most likely be a better example, as there are varying color tones and textures, rather than a black object.

Some other items to test with is macro photography. Using a diffuser makes a HUGE difference over straight flash!! I've only used my own, using the thin packing material sheets, but the difference is amazing. One of these days, I'll get around to posting an 'ible for a different one that can have different options (unless someone beats me to it).
Now I don't know very much about photography (I just play around with my Nikon FM10 and a used flash from the local awesome camera store), so forgive me if this is a stupid question. Do you have to alter the exposure time or the aperture to get a proper exposure? The light is now going 360 degrees, rather than straight forward, so the subject isn't getting as much light. My flash just has a little slider that tells me what to set my fstop on based on my film speed and the general distance of the subject. How would one make sure to get enough light for a proper exposure when using this diffuser?
Most of the newer flashes will *not* need to be adjusted, nor will your exposure time. I've found that setting my exposure as I normally do results in a really nice softer image. You will also get less shadowing with a diffuser than with a straight flash. Once in awhile, I'll adjust stop higher if I'm using the diffused flash as a fill light rather than the primary light source.
arturg (author)  juniperusjosh4 years ago
To be honest I have no idea. If you have only manual and your shoot with film, perhaps a light meter would be your best option. If you have TTL, then your camera does the work for you but it might need more power that straight flash.
reptedjess3 years ago
I tried this with a ribbed mat on my flash and didnt notice any difference
:(
THANK YOU very much for this it works GREAT I was about to buy a commercial version for at least a tenner (and more) when I came across your tutorial I reckon you will have Gary Fong worried You should sell this idea and make so well earned cash

Thanks again.....

Hope you don't mind but I will mention this in my blog with a link and credit of course to you
Cross_3 years ago
Would have been nice to mark your "tutorial" link as leading to a pay site.
12345674 years ago
Brilliant tutorial/tool...works great & the price is right <G>

Here's another thought...you can cut about 3 of these out of the liner material and that leaves a strip about 4.5cm wide...you probably have some extra velcro...use these to make a small diffuser for your pop-up flash!
Great addition, especially if your "large" flash has remote capabilities - or you're off without it!
(I use the Pentax AF-540-FGZ with my Pentax K-10D)
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