In this easy and helpful tutorial, I will show how to build a DSLR camera flash bouncer for your built-in pop-up flash. It’s easy and so inexpensive because you are most likely to have the supplies at home already and if not, they are very cheap!
As I mentioned in my previous post: DIY Flash diffuser, oftentimes it gets hard to find accessories for external camera flashes. Either they are expensive to purchase or homemade but for the external flashes. When it comes to DSLR built-in flash there aren’t many.
How to Make a Flash Bouncer for Built-in DSLR Camera Flashes on a budget
Depending on your specific needs for the current photography situation and high condition you might need different accessories.
Sadly, not always you can use natural light for every project or situation. Not always natural light solves every light problem.
Because we can often encounter these situations, we need to have handy different accessories. The problem is that most of them are expensive o hard to find DIY durable options.
Let me just state here that I’m not a professional photographer. I’m a blogger and a crafter. I need pretty well-taken photos but my budget is not like a professional photographer. That’s why I look for creative ways to solve these problems.
I’ve found and used different options like a piece of cardstock attached in front of the flash but it doesn’t concentrate the light as I like to. So I’ve discarded most options I’ve found.
My favorite 2 accessories are my DIY Flash Diffuser and this Flash Bouncer.
What is a flash bouncer?
A flash bouncer is an accessory that helps to scatter light. Rather than firing your flash light directly at your subject, you point it elsewhere typically up or at an angle, bouncing off a wall or ceiling.
The objective is to “bounce” light to soften it before it hits your subject. It can also soften or eliminate the shadows on the subject.
What’s the difference between a Flash Diffuser and a Flash Bouncer?
Well like may see, the diffuser works like a softbox, concentrates the light inside and then spreading it across a wider area and eliminating some of the unwanted glare caused by fluorescent flashlights.
The bouncer on the other hand, just bounces back the burst of light, redirecting upwards. This usually makes the light hit the ceiling and covers the subject more evenly.
There are simpler and even cheaper flash accessory options out there, so why this one?
Well, in short, because I LOVE it LOL.
But getting a little technical, using a piece of paper does not concentrated and accurately redirect the light. What I like about this one is that having the foil paper, or even white or black, it will bounce the light straight up. Being flexible you can even set an angle.
This bouncer shape creates a path that light will follow and it will not just spread everywhere.
It’s a way to use more wisely all the power of the camera flash.
Since the first time I created this flash bouncer, I’ve made it about 3 times. I’ve tweaked a few things that you will notice through the photos on the tutorial and the video of the latest I’ve made.
I used to place foil paper only in the front internal side but I found that it’s even more powerful filling it completely.
That’s the beauty of this project you can just adapt it to your specific needs and create as many as you need.
Imagine if you have to buy one bouncer for each need?
Didn’t think so!
I used to go for traditional black color, now I love playing with patterns and colors LOL.
Am I too girly?
Well, you can make them fit your style with any pattern or color combos. Imagination is the limit!
How to Make a Flash Bouncer at Home?
Here I’ll show you how I made my flash bouncer for any DSLR Cameras with built-in flashes.
On the web, there are other ways to solve this but I wanted one like a stainless steel scoop so I could concentrate and redirect the light straight up.
DSLR Flash Bouncer Supplies:
- Gray cardboard with a thickness that fits into the flash slot
- Black and White cardstock (or any pattern if you like for the outside)
- White glue or mod podge
- Hot glue gun.
- Embossing tool (or a pen that no longer works or the back edge of a scissor)
- Foil Paper.
First I made the pattern for the flash bouncer. 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 Bouncer. It looks different because I made this tutorial photos years ago.
If you prefer step-by-step photos tutorial just keep Scrolling!
I put the pattern on the gray cardboard and adjusted it with clips so it wouldn’t move (clips are optional).
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.
I marked the entire contour with a pencil and then the folding marks too.
I cut the pattern helping myself with a ruler on the straight lines and free-handed for the rounded ones.
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 black cardstock to the “inside and outside” of the flash bouncer.
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.
I closed the flash bouncer by overlapping both ends. Apply some hot glue or white glue and apply some pressure making sure the ends match perfectly.
Fold the final flap which will secure the bouncer to the camera flash shoe.
Finally, I took the shape of the front internal side of the bouncer and cut the foil paper.
Glued it to the bouncer with white glue.
*UPDATE: I found it more effective to fill the entire inside with foil paper instead of black or white cardstock like I showed in the video.
Back when I made it the first time I used black cardstock on the outside, nowadays I like to add some color and patterns!
It’s time to try it on.
Open your built-in camera flash then put your bouncer around it and insert the flap inside the flash shoe.
Depending on each camera you might have more flap that you need, you can just cut a bit until it fits.
Also, if the cardboard you have is thinner, you can fold the excess and insert it so it will fit better.
There you have it!
Now it’s time to try how it works. 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!
Happy photo shooting!
I hate those super white boosts of light on faces or objects.
What do you think?
Have you used or made any flash bouncer 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! (click on the images)
Till Next time!