DSLR Built-in Flash Directional Diffuser

Introduction: DSLR Built-in Flash Directional Diffuser

DSLR built-in flashes are great as a fill-in flash and for general portability. Unforunately they aren't very versatile and give harsh shadows and can overtake a photo. The solution for this is to use a flash diffuser.

You can either purchase one that is specifically made for built-in flashes or you can make your own from materials you can find around the house.

The diffuser shown in this instructable is great for diffusing and directing the flash to a specific area. I mainly use it pointed upwards so that it reflects the light off the (white) ceiling and onto the subject. You can aim it in any direction by angling it or making the hole in a different part of the cup.

Step 1: Materials

Most of these materials can be found around the house.

- Aluminum Foil
- Scotch tape
- Double-sided tape
- Styrofoam cup
- Pair of scissors
- Knife

Step 2: Cut Off the Bottom of the Cup

Cut off the bottom of the cup. This is where you will put the cup onto the flash unit.

Step 3: Line the Inside of the Cup With Aluminum Foil

Line the inside of the cup with the aluminum foil. It might be tricky to only use a single piece since the opening is larger at one end. I also kept the non-shiny side facing the inside of the cup to increase the light diffusion. It's not a big deal if the foil gets crumpled either.

Use small peices of double-sided tape to held the foil in place.

Step 4: Tape Off the Aluminum Foil at Both Ends

Tape the aluminum foil at the top and bottom of the cup. Try to keep the foil from tearing, but if it does then it can be easily fixed.

Step 5: Dealing With Leaks/rips

If you have some light that's leaking through the cup it may be due to light going through small rips in the aluminum foil. You can either tape the rip or cover it with a small piece of foil.

Step 6: Sample Photos

These are some photos showing the difference with and without the diffuser.

Note: These pictures were taken in a dark room without any other lights.

Step 7: Other Configurations

You can cut a hole on the side of the cup instead of the bottom. This makes it possible to shoot portrait while still having the diffuser pointing upwards.

You can also cover the outside of the cup with a black material to make it look more appealing.

If you'd like to allow some light through but would still like most of it to be directed elsewhere then you can keep some parts of the cup uncovered by the aluminum foil.

Using different sized cups yields different results so make sure to experiment with it.

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    11 years ago on Introduction

     Quick, dirty, effective,  made one, and the results are very likable, nice man.


    11 years ago on Step 7

    I liked this diffuser very much ! Thank you ! Ive done it from a McDonalds small coke cup xD

    PS: In that last foto, isnt that Canon EF 50mm f1.8?? Ive just bought one in ebay right now :D Do you like it ?


    Reply 11 years ago on Step 7

    I'm glad you liked it.

    And yes, that is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II. It's a great lens that never leaves my camera bag. It's small, light, sharp, and fast. I used it exclusively for 6 months before I bought a wider lens. You won't be disappointed with it. And if you reverse mount it you'll have yourself a decent macro lens.


    Reply 11 years ago on Step 7

    Nice, I had bought and reverse mounting ring, about 5 bucks, i recommend it!

    But with the difuser you invented i should increase the flash exposition or not?


    Reply 11 years ago on Step 7

    The value at which you set your flash exposure compensation really depends on the situation.

    When using flash without the diffuser, the light is going directly at your subject so you don't usually need high flash exposure compensation. But using the diffuser makes things a bit more dependent on your environment. Since this illuminates your subject by bouncing light off the ceiling and walls it would really depend on the colour of the walls & ceiling and the height of the ceiling.
    If you're shooting a high or dark ceiling then you'll need more flash exposure compensation. If you're shooting with a light, low ceiling then the you won't need to increase the value by much, if at all.

    The best way would be to experiment. There are many configurations for lighting so the best way to really learn which is best for a situation is to try it out.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    i think you should also show so no flash photos that way it shows where between no flash and pure flash the diffuser is