Weekend Project: DIY Light Modifers

I made a realization this week – I have been avoiding my speedlights.

Why? Because while they do offer a wonderful amount of light, my available modifiers (umbrellas) simply do not provide all the light I need. Instead, I’ve been content to make do with a paper lantern and a 200w CFL (yeah, they make those). And while it does the job, my flashes are far far superior. Hell, they’re strong enough I could shoot action shots.

But the average modifier is not cheap – not even for a strobe. Beauty dishes start at $60, snoots start at $50 – making them a little out of my price range for my limited budget. So, as I usually do, I’ve decided to pursue a few DIY options and thanks to sites like Strobist.com and the rest of the internetz there are many wonderful tutorials out there.

Photo by Loybuckz

DIY Snoot (estimated price – $6)

I looked through a lot of tutorials and found two favorites (see below). The solution is incredibly simple – get a Pringles can, paint it and fill stick it on your flash. Aside from the paint, it’s a pretty cheap solution that does the trick. And the best part is that anyone can do it.

Snoot with Grid for Speedlights – by Loybuckz

Snoot for Speedlights – by CazPhotoBlog

Shopping List:

1. Pringles Can (one for each snoot)
2. Black spray paint
3. Straws
4. Glue/Superglue
5. Duct Tape/Gaffers Tape
6. Scissors/Box Cutter

DIY Beauty Dish (estimated price – $15)

I’m only going to post two links for this tutorial (again, below), because almost all the ones I found were fairly similar aside from what bowl/dish to use. But these links had the best photos of the process and final results. This project is slightly more difficult depending on how you secure everything, and requires a trip to the hardware store for a few key elements.

Beauty Dish for SB-800 by David Tejada

Strobist/Home Depot DIY Beauty Dish – for Vivitar 285HV Flash by David Franzen

Shopping List:

1. 14″ (or larger) Plastic Terra Cotta Bowl (found at Home Depot)
2. Krylon Fusion Paint for Plastic – 1 can Black, 1 can White
3. Empty 50 pack CD case (found around the house, or buy one and empty it)
4. Plastic gutter downspout connector/ PVC Downspout adapter (depending on the size of your flash)
5. Blank or unwanted CD / 3.5″ Convex Mirror (found at auto supply stores, optional)
6. Fasteners (to fit gutter downspout)
7. Box cutters
8. Painters Tape/Masking tape (optional if you don’t paint it)
9. Velcro (to attach speedlight to dish, optional)

I plan to hit the stores tonight and get my supplies so I can start fresh on Saturday. Expect a followup post to show the results.

Hooray for DIY!


About dream24seven

Designer by day, photographer whenever I have the time.

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