Category Archives: photography

Homemade diffuser

In the hunt for better lighting for macro photography I’ve made a homemade flash diffuser. A flash diffuser is a “device” (in lack of a better word) that spreads the light from the camera’s flash. A problem when working with macro is that you’re usually having the camera’s lens very close to the subject, blocking the light from the flash. When the light from the flash hits the diffuser (which is often mounted just around the lens opening) it spreads so it doesn’t only go straight ahead but also spreading down towards the subject in front of the lens.

Anyway, after this brief intro, here’s my diffuser:

It’s made from two pieces of paper (could’ve done it with one, really, in retrospect), a screw used to fasten a reserve button on my pants, and some spaghetti. I used the screw before I figured I could use spaghetti.. anyway. The spaghetti is there only to stiffen up the paper so it won’t just bend as paper usually do. Then I’ve cut a hole for the lens. And here it is mounted:

So here’s the big question: Does it work?

The answer: Hell yeah, it does.

Consider this image of a grain of rice:

This was taken with the diffuser mounted.

Now, when I took it off, this was the result:

As you can see, the lens blocks the majority of light. There is only a very small amount of light bouncing off other surfaces that makes the rice grain in the last picture visible at all.

Both pictures were taken at the exact same camera settings, same lighting, same object and same background (one of my lens caps).

Also, these two pictures were taken at a magnification FAR from the maximum I can get… which means the mounted lens was quite short. To increase magnification I’d have to mount an extension tube or  a second lens, and a longer lens blocks even more light, at the same time as the sensor gets less light overall. This would result in a even greater difference between using only flash, and using a flash + diffuser.

Anyway, I hope this may interest anyone at all. Getting usable macro photos for no money at all (assuming you’ve already got a camera) is very satisfying :)