In this easy tutorial, I will show how to create a DSLR camera flash diffuser for your built-in pop-up flash. It’s easy and inexpensive because you probably already have the supplies at home and if not, they are very cheap!
Often times happens that accessories for external camera flashes have both options: for purchase and homemade but for the built-in flashes there aren’t so many.
How to make a Flash Diffuser for Built-in Pup up Flashes at Home
I’ve also noticed that many people besides me have been looking for ways to solve the problem of direct flash light blowing up and damaging our photos. And let’s face it we can’t always use only natural light (which is my #1 option)
One great way to solve the problem of the flash burst of light on the subject is by using a diffuser. But as much as I looked, I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for specifically for my DSLR built-in flash.
That’s why I decided to go ahead and create my own. Using as inspiration the external flashes options I saw, I created this Homemade flash diffuser that helps A LOT when taking photos with little light.
What is a flash diffuser for photography?
A flash diffuser is a simple light modifier, semi-opaque tool that is designed to fit the upper part of a specific flash unit (usually external). It’s used to soften or spread the harsh, concentrated light that bursts out of the flash, creating a more even and flattering light on the subject.
How does a flash diffuser word?
The main purpose of a spread out the light that comes from a camera flash. It makes bright or harsh light softer, spreading it across a wider area and eliminating some of the unwanted glare caused by fluorescent flash lights.
There are simpler options out there, so why this one?
I know there are super easy options you can find on Pinterest and on Google. BUT I didn’t want just something easy, I wanted something durable, functional and as professional as homemade can be.
This project took me about 30 to 40 min (considering I was filming and taking photos) so IMO it’s not a big deal and it lasts a couple of years depending on how much I use it. I’ve made about 3 or 4 in the last 2 years.
So, I’m not saying this is the perfect Flash diffuser but it has worked like a charm all these years and I haven’t spent much money or time on it, so in my book that’s a win-win.
Here I’ll show you how I made a DIY flash diffuser for DSLR Cameras with built-in flashes. On the web there are other ways to solve this but I wanted one like a lampshade so I could concentrate the light and of course, diffuse it.
Flash Diffuser Supplies
- Gray cardboard with a thickness that fits into the flash slot
- White and black cardstock (or pattern if you like)
- White glue or mod podge
- Hot glue gun.
- Embossing tool (or a pen that no longer works or the back edge of a scissor)
- Tracing paper.
- Adhesive tape (optionally)
First I made the pattern for the flash diffuser. You can download it here to print and cut.
I made this video to show in a live way all the process to create my Flash Diffuser. It looks different because I made this tutorial photos years ago.
If you prefer step-by-step photos tutorial just keep Scrolling!
Place your pattern on the grey cardboard. This kind of cardboard is used by architects for the structure mockups BUT you can find it often on the back of paper blocks, cardstock blocks and some kind of boxes.
Transfer the pattern to the cardboard with a pen including folding marks.
I cut the pattern helping myself with a ruler
With an embossing tool, I embossed the folding lines so the cardboard would fold more easily. You can see what I mean in the video.
Once the whole shape was done and verified that it was fitting perfectly I glued the white cardstock to the “inside” side of the diffuser.
I made sure every edge was well glued and with the help of a ruler I made pressure all over the cardstock to avoid wrinkles.
Again with the embossing tool, I marked the folding lines. I let it dry.
Then I cut all the remains of cardstock on the edges to make a fine finish.
Repeat the same process for the outside cardstock. Back when I made it the first time I used black cardstock, nowadays I like to add some color and patterns!
I’ve made this flash diffuser quite a few times over the years so please understand why the photos in the tutorial don’t match the tutorial nor the video. LOL
Once done, I glued both ends with hot glue and I reinforced it with a piece of black cardstock glued on the outside.
The next step is up to each person, to be honest.
I used a piece of tracing paper a bit bigger than the wider opening of the diffuser. That way I could hold it to the sides of the diffuser.
I preferred holding it on the outside with adhesive tape because that way is not so permanent and I can play with different thickness of paper or even colors to bring effects to the photos.
In this case, it’s not so pretty but it is functional which is what I want for this particular project.
If you want you can just cut on the edge and glue it so it looks pretty!
There you go!
To use it, just insert flash through the small opening of the diffuser and insert the long piece in the external flash slot to hold it, and adjust as needed.
As you can see it’s not hard to make. Maybe it might take a few more minutes than other options out there but in my experience, the time I invested in this project was worth it a thousand times!
Here you can see a test I did with and without the flash diffuser. You can see what a huge difference that makes.
Photo WITHOUT Diffuser:
Photo WITH Diffuser:
What do you think?
Doesn’t it make a huge difference?
I hate those super white boosts of light on faces or objects.
Have you used or made any flash diffuser yourself? If so, share it with un in comments!
If you found this post useful, please don’t forget to share with friends and PIN for later!
A few photography tips I love from my favorite bloggers:
- Photography Setups and Equipment by Rachel over at Craving Some Creativity.
- DIY Photography Light Studio Set Up by Brittany over at Pretty Handy Girl
And, if you want more Photography tips, I’ve got you covered!