Home Made Flash Diffuser – With a Cigarette Packet!!

terenceg posted this at 5:22 pm on Monday, March 5, 2007 —

Cigarette Packet Flash Diffuser

Ever wanted to take indoor photos at night, but hate the washed out look which your built in flash creates? I’ve often been at a pub and found the regular flash to be a bit of a pain. Thanks to a little drunken curiosity and an attention span problem, I created a flash diffuser using only an empty cigarette packet.

step 1Equipment Needed

SLR with built in flash
Cigarette packet
pocket knife
This will not only provide you with the empty cigarette packet, but it will improve your health, make climbing stairs easier and probably save you enough money to buy a real external flash unit.if you don’t smoke, I’m sure your friendly neighbourhood chain smoker will provide you with an empty.
Remove the foil from inside the pack, taking care not to tear it. Once the foil is removed, reverse it so the shiny side is facing inwards. Then reinsert the reversed foil into the packet. This provide a reflective surface to bounce the light out of the box.Note: With some brands of cigarettes, you can skip this step as the foil is already facing shiny side in.
This one’s pretty obvious.Feel free to adjust the angle of the packet’s lid, to differ the angle of the flash spread. Also, experiment with position of the box. Reversing the box may also help.The more upright your flash unit is and the lower the ceiling is, the better the results.


Here is a before and after shot to demonstrate the difference. These shots were taken in a fairly dark place with relatively high ceilings.

I no way will this replace a $400 external flash unit, but it is improvment on what you already have using something that you can probably find on the floor the next time your at a pub.

more examples can be found at my flickr site.

Created by Dan and Andy

Before Diffuser After Diffuser

By monkeywithagunon Dec 6, 2006.

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23,391 views - Filed under: Equipment,Flash/Lighting,Tips,Tutorials

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Comment by Albert Ng

March 6, 2007 @ 12:26 am

WHOA TOO AWESOME! Can’t wait to steal a pack off a colleague.

Comment by Nathan

March 22, 2007 @ 10:38 am

Man that’s pretty sweet. Now all I need is to find someone who smokes.

Comment by iamyuanwu

March 23, 2007 @ 11:31 pm

I made one using the white-translucent film canister.Found it too tedious put on and the result was only slighty better. I bought the Lumiquest Soft Screen for SLR build-in flash instead. RM50 from International Photo (Pertama Complex).

Comment by ShaolinTiger

March 29, 2007 @ 7:21 pm

Albert Ng: Got to try it yet? You can also do similar with most small cardboard boxes or even smallish white plastic bottles those milk drinks come in.

Nathan: Can’t be too hard to find someone, even though it is becoming a non-smoking world!

iamyuanwu: Yah I used to use the small film cartons too, pretty decent but a little tedious, the Lumiquest works great!

Comment by Albert Ng

March 30, 2007 @ 1:23 am

I’ve tried; will publish results sometime. White ASA400 Fujifilm canisters give a warming effect but not much diffusing. Turn the cigarette box upside down for better results, and hold it more upright instead of letting it slack. Turning forward tilts down for macro.

Comment by ShaolinTiger

April 3, 2007 @ 10:40 pm

Albert Ng: Ah interesting, I guess it would depend on the colour of the foil and the cardboard. Have you tried a clear 35mm film carton too?

Comment by Albert Ng

April 4, 2007 @ 1:34 am

Film carton? You mean the capped canisters the film catridges come in? That’s what I was referring to in the previous comment.

Comment by Albert Ng

April 15, 2007 @ 6:45 am

Results published!


Comment by Rodolfo C. Kintanar

October 31, 2008 @ 12:35 pm

Sir, you are driving the people selling flash diffusers out of business.
You and your not so common “common sense”.
This is Rudy C. Kintanar from the Philippines.

Comment by SJ

May 4, 2009 @ 11:36 pm

won’t this reflect too much heat back to the flash (and damage it)?

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