T2T Flash Diffuser for Portraits

I got my first DSLR recently and started thinking of photography as an art. It was quite amusing to do experiments and to find shots I would say to myself “wow”. I got Yongnuo YN565EX speedlight nearly half the price of Nikon varients; and it was the very first speedlight I had ever handled. It is really a good one as per the reviews I’ve read.

First I used ceiling bounce for portraits since I did not like sharp shadows and rough skin tones the direct flash created. However, ceiling bounce created shadow near eyes, and it made eyes look dull. I tried several options and came up with this homemade flash diffuser, which gave great results. Then I thought of sharing it with you.

I searched through plastic items at home (such as empty bottles, boxes and kitchenware). I used my LED torch light to figure out what effects they give to white light. I found that the Johnsons Top-to-Toe (T2T) liquid soap bottle adds a golden glow to the sharp beam of light; but the bounce light remained white (I am not sure of the science behind it).

Making the diffuser was a bit of trial and error task to me. But you can now get it right at the first time. Get the perimeter of your flash head by making a crown for it using a paper strip. Push the paper crown onto the plastic bottle to mark the perimeter of flash on the bottle. Cut through this line. Soften the cut edge (find your own way, I used sandpaper). Diffuser will not yet fit onto your flash. Now heat the cut edge of the diffuser on kitchen stove while briskly rotating (be careful not to overheat), then push it onto a glass bottle (a wine bottle) so that the cut edge perimeter will expand a little to fit onto your flash. Your diffuser is ready.

I pasted a thick white paper to one side of the diffuser so that I get more light to the front. Note that this T2T bottle is a bit thick; you will have to increase the power of flash to compensate for that. The golden glow added nicely enhances the asian skin tones. Hope you’ll love the results.

STROBIST Blog was a great place to learn about using flash lights for photography. I’m greatful to the authors and contributors valuable knowledge it gave me. I recommend it to you all who looking for starting to use speedlights effectively. Start with lighting 101 Archive from right column drop down items in the blog.

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