DIY Light Scoop Template




Light scoops work wonders for indoor flash photography by shifting your camera's built in flash from direct to indirect lighting.  The reflector mirror blocks the direct flash and illuminates the ceiling and walls to give a more ambient light fill. It's not dramatic, but it may be that little extra light you need for an amazing indoor shot.  It works best for portraits with close up framing. With just a few tools and materials you can make one in about an hour or less. I have created a template for people to print on their home printer as well as a template for people who may have access to a plotter.
Does the color of the poster board matter? Yes it does. Why? Because I want it to match my camera and not to look like a DIY from 10 feet.  Other than that the color of the Light Scoop is irrelevant as far as I know.

A quick materials list:
Inkjet or Laser Printer
Poster Board - at least 8.5" x 11" (Black if you can get it)
Hobby Knife (& cutting surface) or Scissors
Scotch Tape
Double Sided Tape, or Hot Glue, or Wood Glue (In order of easiest and quickest to apply)
Reflective Material (Aluminum foil, White paper works well too, or mirror vinyl like I used,)
Velcro (Optional)
Sharpie (Optional)

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Step 1: Print Template

Make sure you print "Actual Size" and not "Fit"  or "Scale to paper" withing your print properties. It should fit perfectly without any cropping when scaled to 100%.

I used a plotter which meant I skipped this step.

Step 2: Tape Template to Poster Board

Simply tape the template to your poster board. If you roughly cut out the template first and then tape it several areas you will reduce shifting as you cut.

Again, I used a plotter so yours will look different but you get the picture.

Step 3: Score the Folds

Align your ruler to the fold lines being sure to leave a slight offset so that your scoring tool is centered to the fold line. You can use a penny, washer, or the dull side of a butter knife as your scoring tool. Run it over the score line a couple of times until you see a nice dent in the poster board.

Step 4: Pre-Fold

Fold along all the score you made and make sure you understand how it will come together. There is a small flap that needs to be folded in to receive the front reflector face. Make sure it is folded a little more than 90 degrees so that you can align it more easily to the front face when using double sided tape.

Step 5: Apply Double Sided Tape

Apply a strip of double sided tape to outer surface of  the short flap being sure not to go past the score fold. Then trim away any excess tape with a hobby knife or scissors.
If you are using glue then follow the directions for the glue and continue on. Be sure not to let the glue go past the score fold.

Step 6: Attach the Flap

Now you can attach the flap to the front face being careful to align the edge of the face with the fold line. Apply pressure and the body is done.
If you had to use hot or wood glue then take steps to insure the piece is secure while drying. You could use a paperclip to, or clothes pins to hold it.
As a final touch-up I used a black Sharpie to color the edges of the poster board.

Step 7: Reflector

Before you cut out the reflector piece apply double sided tape, or contact cement  to a piece of poster board roughly larger than the reflector template.
Lay your reflective material flat facing down. (If using contact cement then apply a thin coat to the back side of the reflective material and allow to air dry for a minute)
Then hover your rough cut poster board over the reflective material and let one long edge touch flat first and then lay the rest of the board down. You can use a credit card as a squeegee to make it smooth.
Once it's ready tape your template over the reflector and cut it out.
With mine I made my reflector gold on one side and chrome on the other. I also used some safety tape (Like on police and ambulance vehicles) for a second reflector.

Step 8: Start Shooting

The Light Scoop installs by slipping the tab into the flash holder. If you opted to use the velcro tab then you should have a pretty secure scoop. For me my camera is still new and I'm hesitant to apply anything to it. If I was a professional I would have professional equipment, and any of this DIY would be null.

I snapped off some pictures using my Canon T3i with the following settings.  The only setting I purposely adjusted was my aperture value to blur out the background. These series of shots allow you to see the impact of the Light Scoop.
Shooting Mode
     Aperture-Priority AE
Tv( Shutter Speed )
Av( Aperture Value )
Metering Mode
Exposure Compensation
ISO Speed
     50.0 mm
Focal Length
     50.0 mm
Digital Zoom
Image Size
Image Quality
Flash Type
     Built-In Flash
Flash Exposure Compensation
Shutter curtain sync
     1st-curtain sync
White Balance
     Color Temperature(3600K)
     Contrast          Normal
     Color saturation  Normal
     Tone Curve         Standard
     Sharpness level    0
     Color tone        Normal
Color Space
Color Matrix

Drive Mode
     Single-frame shooting

Step 9: Wrapping It Up

This all started while planning and researching tips for a photo shoot of my family for this weekend . I'm planning an outdoor shoot so don't ask me how I managed to work out this indoor DIY. A.D.D at its best I guess. Anyway, having always hated the results of the built in flash and already way over budget for my short film equipment needs (the DSLR is also a camera! Wait, no I mean it's also a Camcorder!)  I couldn't spend a cent more, yet I still needed a better option for flash photography. This LightScoop gets me half way there and I couldn't be happier with the results.
I saw other peoples templates online but I didn't like the way they were so fragile in the back and I thought what the heck, I'm a designer so let me design something.
I'm pretty happy with the results considering I only made one change to my original prototype, and although it could be perfected more that wasn't the point of this build and I might as well buy one at that point.
I am sharing this with you because it would be a shame to not to, and I hope someone will use this process, improve it, and share it again.
Thanks for stopping by.



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    22 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you very much for sharing! I really appreciate it! This literally saved my photo-shoot tomorrow.


    6 years ago

    Velcro is the brand name for "hook and loop" fastening system. You have seen it before I'm sure. Here's a photo of exactly what you would need in this instructable

    13, 7:30 PM.jpg

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Good Idea! the best i ever see on web, but i just wonder one thing, how the Velcro thing work?
    as im not familiarized with velcro i cant immagine it in my mind
    i hope you can help me out


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi! Is it possible to close the flash while this reflector is attached? My camera (Canon EOS 500D) doesn't allow to programmatically turn off the flash, only closing the flash turns it off.

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    No, the flash head will not shut while the scoop is up. You may try looking at Magic Lantern to see if it gives you this kind of control, although I think the flash button on the body (located for left index finger on my T3i just left of the flash hood.) will disable and enable the flash while in a manual mode.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    On my camera the flash button does nothing except opening the flash head. Nice to know that Canon fixed this in a later version :)
    Also, Magic Lantern is an insight for me, thanks for sharing!
    Also thanks for your instructable!

    Bill WW

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great Instructable! I have te same camera, have been thinking about how to bounce flash with our camera models. Now I can just use your templates, thanks!

    Daniel Zf

    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is cool, now i just have to get some plastic mirrors from a toy and glue 'em in. Thanks mate.
    Can't buy this stuff in Mexico, to expensive or companys ship highly or don't ship

    1 reply
    spooledup7Daniel Zf

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I did not glue my mirrors in place because I made them double sided, gold on one side and mirror on the other. The wedge shape keeps them in place unless shooting past 90 degrees up.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry, I don't get this .. what does camera look like without this lightscoop? You're trying to prevent hot reflections? So why make it black, anyway? I've made white oaktag reflectors for my Vivitar 283.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    You have it correct, to prevent the washed out, sharp shadows and "flash look" while using a flash indoors. This only works indoors FYI.
    As for why it is black? Preference. There is a DIY LS using a mirrored finish pastry box, so as far as I am concerned it doesn't matter expect for how serious your subject will take you.


    6 years ago on Step 8

    thanks for the instructable the scoop looks pretty professional. I'm loving the gold reflector it puts a nice warm look to it as opposed to the mirror, the safety vinyl seems like a good compromise between the two.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    The gold reflector is a nice way to warm up a photo in a pinch. It's a little quicker to bounce back and forth vs manually changing your white balance.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I like the Instructable overall... but I would suggest a minor edit to give some background... you have, "Light scoops work wonders..."

    But you never really tell what "wonders"... so many novices won't understand.

    I would suggest adding something like, "Light scoops work wonders for spreading the light from a flash, and making a more uniform lighting without the harsh shadows usually associated with flash photography."

    Then people new to photography would have a better understanding of what you are attempting to accomplish here. Nicely built by the way.


    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I had the exact same thought. I am a novice and I opened this Instructable in the hopes of learning what a light scoop does and why I need to make one for myself with the help of this featured design. I noticed you provided some of this at the end but it really helps to start off with that information. Overall great work!


    I just wish I had seen this before I broke down and bought two of these last year. Would have saved me some cash, but this is a great project for someone who doesn't have one. Great job!

    1 reply

    Perhaps you can share the results of your Light Scoop. I was 10 seconds away from hitting the buy button on amazon but the DIY in me got the better. Thanks for the thumbs up.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you all for the comments. I took some of your suggestions and modified the instructable. I will add more photos later to illustrate the use with and without flash and the Light Scoop. The hot sauce was the only thing at the time that seemed to be photo worthy and I will photograph something with a little more contrasting results.