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
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.