DIY Gary Fong Lightsphere

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Intro: 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.

Step 1: Material

Before we go on with this tutorial, you might want to check out my other websites:

- Piano Lessons Package for Synthesia (Learn to play piano in a fun way along with Synthesia software)

Lets continue with this tutorial on how to build your own Lightsphere-like flash diffuser. So what do we need? Not a whole lot. All you need is to locate your nearest IKEA store and take your family for a little trip. My kids always love to go IKEA's playroom while I go fetch for photography ideas from inside the store. If you're not intrested in getting a new bed or sofa, head to kitchen department. You need to locate this product:

IKEA | Built-in kitchens | FAKTUM/RATIONELL system | RATIONELL VARIERA | Drawer mat

Basically what it is, is a silicone drawer mat that is placed on the bottom of your kitchen drawers to prevent from scratches and the likes. I bet the IKEA engineers never thought about how great of a product they have for us photographers. You see, it has these nostles or pimples or whatever you want to call them on the surface of the mat. This diffuses the light in an efficient way.

Anyway, get one or two rolls of the transparent one, not the smokey gray one as this will smoke your white balance.

Step 2: Cutting


First thing when you get home, is to locate pair of scissors or sharp knife and cut a strip with following dimensions:

Width: 15cm
Height: 38cm

My estimate is that you could produce about 20 of these from one single roll of this product.

When you are done with your mass-production session, it is time to add some attachment components to your diffuser/bouncer.

The best way to attach this diffuser without the need for additional things into your flash, is velcro-tape ofcourse. We need one male and one female part of velcro-tape. Add the female one to the very end of the strip along the shorter side, while the other velcro-tape goes to the other side of the diffuser's shorter side.

This is important: Velcro strip on both sides of the shorter side and on opposite sides of the surface, not on the same side. If you don't get this, here is a "translation" by one of the readers:

Lay the strip of plastic on the table. Cut a piece of Velcro hook and loop tape to a length a bit less than the shorter dimension of the plastic strip. Stick the Velcro hook tape along one end of the strip, as in the photo. Turn the plastic strip over and put the loop tape along the OPPOSITE end. You'll end up with the hook tape on one surface of the plastic and the loop tape on the other surface.

Step 3: Attaching to Your Flash


Now its time to attach this thing to your flash. You probably already know how to install the AG Bouncer to your flash, but wait, there is a catch!

If you want to be able to take horizontal and vertical shots with this amazing product, you first need to face the flash up to the ceiling. Next, turn the flash head 90 degrees toward the right.

Step 4: Attaching to Your Flash, Part 2


Now you are ready to start attaching AG Bouncer to your flash. First, take your strip you just created and one side push it against the flash's side facing your camera front. Make sure the velcro tape is also on the side facing the camera front.

Step 5: Attaching to Your Flash, Part 3


Hold on to the strip and now flip the other side of it against the other side of the flash. Now you see how the velcro-tapes get against eachother on both sides of the flash.

Step 6: Horizontal Vs Vertical Shooting With AG Bouncer/Diffuser


So now your new AG Bouncer is done and ready for use. In case you want to switch to vertical shooting, all you have to do is rotate the flash 90 degrees to the right and you're ready to shoot vertically.

Step 7: Real World Example


Here is a real world example from one of the weddings I was shooting at. At this reception area the ceiling was painted dark brown so bouncing off of it was impossible. But with AG Bouncer/Diffuser the whole things was a piece of cake!

Step 8: Before/After Comparisons

Below are three sample shots of different lighting conditions:

1. Straight flash

2. Stofen Omni-Bounce

3. AG Bouncer

4 People Made This Project!

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103 Discussions

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NoE3

1 year ago

how big are the bubbles? the roll i got has very tiny bubbles, around 3mm in diameter

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wpferguson

2 years ago

Had a bubble wrap bag and some velcro laying around, so thought I'd make one. Opened up the bag, cut it to size, added velcro and then took some pictures. Worked like a champ. As a bonus the bubble wrap is really flexible, so I can roll it up and it doesn't take up much room in the camera bag.

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BillB22

3 years ago on Introduction

I also used the shelf liner, it is slightly frosted easy to make, in less than ten minutes, works great!!

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CharlesR5

3 years ago on Introduction

Exactly. Gary Fong's stuff is so very over priced and can only be used in very limited circumstances and in those, you can easily bounce and use his stuff in your garden.

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12Dan

3 years ago on Introduction

Wow... I've seen 100s of DIY flash diffusers and this is by far the best AND easiest! Just made one in about 30 seconds with a rubber band and some bubble wrap from a recent amazon package... unbelievable :)

One thing I would add to it though is to cut it twice as long and fold it back to double the thickness and diffract/diffuse the light even more.

Hello!! I know I might be late. But could anyone please tell me what is
the name of that material? I want to go and buy it in Ikea, or maybe in
which section it will be? Kitchen? Thank you!! :-)

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Keen Learner

4 years ago on Introduction

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

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hhughes7

4 years ago on Step 8

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

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tvm777

5 years ago on Introduction

anyone has ebay link for material?
and also heres a link video
https://vimeo.com/32389148

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arturgDanUK

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

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.

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joeyolson

6 years ago on Introduction

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

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cwaugh

6 years ago on Introduction

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!

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dave13

6 years ago on Step 2

I used a rotary cutting blade on a cutting mat. Worked very well. And, the measurements are already on the plastic cutting mat.

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dave13

6 years ago on Step 2

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].

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Warpy

8 years ago on Step 1

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??   :)

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bigwhitebear18Warpy

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

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.