Light Modifiers on the Cheap!




Introduction: Light Modifiers on the Cheap!

About: I work at a environmental education program, as well as do freelance graphic design and photography.

Photography equipment can be really expensive...but it doesn't have to be! Why pay $30-80 for tupperware? just got to the local resale store or garage sales. Some of this you may already have. These are just a couple of quick-n-easy light mods.

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Step 1: Materials

Depending on what you are going to make, you will need the following:

General: Scissors, tape( I used black, chrome, and white duct tape), cardboard(preferably thin cereal box kind), rubber bands

Stofen: frosted plastic bowl or tupperware type stuff, knife or something to cut it.

Grid spot: Black straws

Step 2: Bounce Card/Gobo

I will start with this because it is the easiest. You can make this any size you wish.

Lay your flash on the cardboard and mark the width(long side/top). cut a strip along this line. It should be a couple of inches wide. Most of mine are about 3" wide and 4-5" long. You should now have a rectangle piece of cardboard.

Use the duct tape to cover the surface of the cardboard. To make your card do double duty, cover each side with a different tape(ex:chrome on one side and white on the other).

To use:

Simply rubber band it to your flash. The side facing the flash will be what gets "bounced". Chrome will obviously reflect more. Use as a gobo to prevent lens flare.

Step 3: Snoot

A snoot is also a really easy mod.

Simply lay your flash on the cardboard and measure out...just as with the bounce card. This time, rotate your way around the flash.

Crease the cardboard at the lines you made when measuring the flash. This should make a cardboard tube when folded.

Tape the entire surface. I used white at one end and black at the other. The white will soften your spotlight, while black will harden it.

Fold and tape the seam where the two ends meet. That's all!

To Use:
just slip it onto the flash and if you need to, rubber band it on.

Step 4: Grid Spot

The grid spot is accomplished by making a honeycomb pattern out of the straws and then shooting light through it. The light bounces around inside and is forced to come out in a straight line.
I could go into details, but there are already several good tutorials out there. For mine, I used stir sticks instead of regular sized straws. I simply suck them in a snoot as seen in the previous step.This creates a very soft spot light, but eats up a lot of stops.

Here is a link to an instructable:

you can also make them by stacking and gluing coro-plast sheets together.

Step 5: Stofen

A Stofen is a frosted piece of "tupperware" that attaches to the tip of the flash and in effect, turns it into a bare bulb. it doesn't "soften" the lite. It lets the light travel in all directions and bounce off of walls or ceilings, therefore making the light softer. This does not work outside. These can cost $30+. I made mine out of some actual tupperware i had laying around the house.

Depending on the piece you have...the simplest way is to cut an "X" in the lid and then slip it onto your flash. Pressure will hold it on. Because of the size of mine..I cut the shape of the flash out and left it just a little bit smaller then my flash...allowing pressure fit.

Step 6: That's All Folks!

Some really simple ways to mod your light...that wont break the bank.

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    4 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Here are a couple of photos purely for "on flash" reference. The first shows the Honl bounce card/gobo, and the other a DIY snoot similar to the one i made. Only difference with mine is that if you want softer edge...but the white end away from the flash...harder...put the black end away from the flash.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Good idea making these flash mods! Very nice. Could you post a couple of pictures of how the bounce card/gobo and snoots fit onto the flash? I am afraid I am having a hard time visualising them from your descriptions (of course, this could be because I've never encountered these things before...).


    10 years ago on Step 5

    A stofen also works on the outside, just different then indoors.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Very nicely done, and a great overview of different flash techniques.

    You may be interested to know that the "grid spot" uses the same basic physics (collimation via cylindrical channels) as some kinds of night vision goggles! In particular, see image-intensifier tubes and micro-channel plates.