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

Basic tips 1: Flashes – not just for the dark

Chris Chong posted this at 10:52 am on Tuesday, July 18, 2006 —

When starting out with photography, it’s easy to think that your camera’s flash is only needed indoors or in the dark. But on the contrary, a flash can be very useful in bright shooting conditions.

Also known as using a “fill-in” flash, the idea is that available light (whether natural or artificial) may not always light up your subjects properly. Either that, or the contrast between your subjects and their backgrounds may be too strong. To remedy this, simply use your camera’s built-in flash (or add-on flash unit) to balance out the lighting.

Here are a couple of pictures to better illustrate this:

In the first picture, you’ll see that the lantern looks fine but the street in the background is blown out. This is because the lantern is in the shade and needs more light to be properly exposed.

To solve this problem, a fill-in flash is used to illuminate the lantern (second picture). This reduces the difference in brightness between the foreground and background, allowing you to capture details in both.

Why this works:
In the 2nd shot, the camera’s shutter and aperture are adjusted for the background (which is brighter) while the flash lights up the lantern (which is darker). This works because flashguns have a limited range and weaken with increased distance. This is why the background isn’t blown out by the flash. In contrast, the lantern was lit properly is because I was standing close enough to it.

The proper exposure is handled automatically by most modern cameras, so don’t worry – just enable your flash and it’ll sort itself out.
Why this is necessary:
Like film, the sensors in digital cameras have limited dynamic range. That is, they cannot capture as much contrast as the human eye. Techniques such as this reduce the difference in brightness so that the picture appears more like how the human eye would see it in real life.

Additional information:
There are some issues abut using a flash – some of which are probably more suited to an advanced article about flashes and lighting (i.e. Sync speeds, ISO settings, the effects of varying aperture). When I find time, I’ll write about these.

Do take note that using a flash excessively will drain your camera’s batteries faster (especially if you’re using a compact digicam).
If you find your subjects too dark or your backgrounds too bright, try using a flash – it helps!

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2,631 views - Filed under: Equipment,Flash/Lighting