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:
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:
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