Introduction: Soften Your Flash With a DIY Skylight Panel

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Photographers often use soft boxes or skylight panels to soften the harsh light from the flash. These sell for over 300.00 USD. You can make your own in about 2 hours.

Step 1: Make the Frame

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Use 3/4-inch PVC pipe to make the 3-foot-square panel. Don't glue the pieces together to keep your panel portable.

Step 2: Cut the Fabric

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Use the frame as a guide and cut the white cotton fabric in this shape.

Step 3: Crease the Hems

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Use a steam iron to create creases for the hems. It makes the sewing part *much* easier. Fold each one twice to hide the cut edge.

Step 4: Sew the Hems and Flaps

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Sew all the hems first. Then test fit the fabric on the frame. Fold the flaps over the pipe and mark with a pencil where the hemmed edge lays. Remove, fold and iron to flatten the flap. Then sew keeping the marks aligned. Do one flap at a time to make sure the fabric is taught.

Step 5: Assemble

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Take the frame apart. Slide the two 3-foot pipes into the fabric first, then slide in the shorter sections with the corners attached. Attach the Ts last. The fabric should stretch enough to allow assembly, If not, you can always trim down the frame a little.

Step 6:

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Once you've checked the fit, you can paint the pipes black for a more professional look. Here, I've painted the edges of the fabric as well.

Step 7:

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Step 8: Enjoy!

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In use, place the panel as close to the subject as you can to even out wrinkles and blemishes. Mount your flash behind the panel and set your flash zoom to as wide as possible. The light will fill in the shadows and make for a more pleasing portrait.


rickypics (author)2009-08-14

Nice, simple, and concise. I would not paint the edges unless you plan on using a black cloth instead of a diffuser cloth. If there are any places with reflections in the final photograph then the painted line edges will appear in the final image.

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More by timalot:Black Straw SnootSoften your Flash with a DIY Skylight PanelMake a flash filter to add drama to your photos
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