FREE "TIPA" Flash Diffuser

Introduction: FREE "TIPA" Flash Diffuser

About: Business Consultant, DIYer, Photographer, Hobbyist, builder, etc. etc. etc. AND THEN SOME!

So what EXACTLY is a TIPA diffuser? Let's start at the begining ...

You are at an impromptu event
- party, baptism, dinner, birthday, etc (not as the official photog) so - of course - you have your camera with, maybe even a strobe (flash) and suddenly you remember you did not bring your diffuser with (yeah right). As any photographer knows (hopefully) the built in flash (or even direct strobe) is very harsh and unflattering. But you really really did not want to bring your Fong lightsphere or whatever else you use - or you just forgot it? Really? Anyway .....

TIPA to the rescue!!

Well it stands for "TIssue PAper"! 

How does this work? ......

Step 1: Quickly and Discreetly Gather Parts ...

EVERY event/house/party - whatever -  has paper tissue napkins, paper towels, tissues or - as a last resort - toilet paper!
  • Note - ALWAYS get clean (unused) paper towels and if possible - the white ones without any color or prints which may tint your end result!                    
Find a rubber band, OR some tape, or your hair bauble or your wife's or girlfriend's (fine - or date's)
  • Note - If all above fails, find your little niece and ask to borrow HER bauble. Elaborate as to how much prettier she would look with her hair down rather than in a pony tail. Explain to her that the twin pony tails are out of style, one looks so much nicer. 
  • If she refuses, just grab it off her head and run, try not to pull her hair though (especially if her dad is bigger than you)

Step 2: Attach It to Your Flash (built in or Strobe)

Do I really need to explain this step?

OK, just do it gently so you do not rip the tissue. Remember to point your strobe upwards (like you would when bouncing your light).

In any case, just make sure you wrap loosely and leave enough tissue to form a diffuser. When using a strobe, avoid covering any IR light or the sensor (on older auto strobes)

Note: If you are really (really) good at ORIGAMI, shape your tissue into animal shapes or dragons or just make it look like the Fong diffuser you should have brought - before the party ends!

If you do not have 3 PhDs in rocket science, please see pictures .....

Step 3: VERY IMPORTANT: Look Smug and Professional

Ignore remarks and comments from friends and other guests, make up your own story for using this setup. Take pictures. Lots of them. All the cynics will be impressed with your photos as opposed to everybody else's with the hard flash lighting.

Show them how GREAT your pictures are! Gloat when they tell you that you are really good.

See the comparison shoots (static) to get an idea of how effective this is.

The mini color card is only there for reference (it's another 'ible soon to come!)

Step 4: Conclusion:

Which one do I use?

Ideally, don't be lazy. Take your diffuser with you. You lug so much camera equipment anyway, so what's a little more weight from the diffuser?

But, in a bind, or an emergency, this works. It won't guarantee you anything (beside looking silly - great conversation starter), but it will soften the light enough to help you get some decent photos you can proudly show your friends or guests (who made fun of your tissue wrapped gear all evening)

I have another 'ible with diffuser comparison here:

which shows different results from several commercial diffuser AND some DIY ones. Check it out.

As always, if you enjoyed this article, please don't copy it, just link to it. All questions and comments welcome!

And please rate it, and if you really like it, VOTE for it in the contest (top of page!)

Thank you

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    6 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice :D It's way lighter than my solution, I suppose :) I'm still lookin' for a better material for such thing...


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    This is really a stop gap measure! I own three different Fong diffusers, yet I carry a piece of shelf liner (IKEA - project everywhere including here) and it works 99.9% as good as!!! The TP solution is 90% good for emergencies! Tested I promise you.


    8 years ago on Step 3

    Great instructable. I have a question for. what happens if my flash is not the tilting type, Will it still work?


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 3

    Yes! It will the same way it works on the camera built in flash. Just shape your tissue a little like a cone and "try" to make look upwards.
    Take a look again at the comparison shots to see the result with the built in flash as opposed to a direct shot. Still an improvement. You may need to try different shapes (the cost is the only factor!! <GRIN> )
    If it doesn't work one way, just throw it away and try another. Once you find a style of cone that gives you good results, just remember it for next time.


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 3

    Thank you. I gave you my vote.