Introduction: Cheap Macro-Softbox / Bouncer for External Flash / Speedlight (DSLR)

About: I like to make / fix / improve "things"...

Here´s a really quick and dirt-cheap way to modify an external flash for using it in macro-photography.

An external flash (at least one mounted on the top of your camera) won´t help much trying to illuminate an object right in front of your lens.
So you have to get it´s light to go where you need it.

I made this in minutes, but it worked so fine that I used it for a couple of weeks now and found no major draw-backs, so I had to share it.

So no step-by-step and no measures (as they may vary depending on your flash anyway), but I´m pretty sure you will be able to reproduce this by just seeing the pics.


- external flash/speedlight
- some kind of can with reflective inner coating (I used a tobacco can made of cardboard, it´s pretty easy to shape with a cutter knife and the coating is reflective but with a matt finish, so it diffuses the light nicely)
- some kind of diffusing material (I used one layer of a handkerchief)
- a rubber band


- cutter knife
- (optional) some more appropriate tool if you prefer to use a tin can (beware of sharp edges, sand and use some tape to cover those before trying to attach it to your flash, you´ve been warned!)

To do:

Measure the dimensions of your flash and mark the surface of the can. Remember that it has a rounded surface, so height is ok, but width has to be a little larger (diameterwise) than what you measured..
You can calculate that (btw. it´s pi-day today ;D ), but trial-and-error works fine, too.
Cut out the opening for your flash. Just make sure it fits tightly and doesn´t wobble around -> no fun. So preferably cut less and try one time more instead of cutting too much and frown.

If you aligned it properly, add the gauze / diffusor tissue with a rubber ring and you are ready to go, see the pics I made with this setup.

Have fun!

PS: In automatic or program mode you will surely get overexposed photos if the flash is set to Full/TTL or underexposed if it´s set to 1/16.
Don´t wonder.
You will have to go to manual mode and experiment a little, I will not explain basics in here.

Ah, and there´s a homemade beanbag in the pics, pretty useful for taking pictures at  ground level where no tripod can reach.
It´s just rice in a zip-loc bag, but works fine.

An angled scope/angle finder is worth it´s money, too. Seagull/China (building cameras/equipment since 1960) has specialized on this products. Available via Amazon and really bang-for-the-buck-precision-product from CN and no BS.
Got one for 39 € and I don´t regret one cent.
Multiply by 10 if you prefer to buy one provided by your camera manufacturer...
Optionally you can still stencil-print Canon, Nikon or Pentax on it  ;P

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