How to Make Your Own Light Diffuser

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A light diffuser is perfect for situations when a photographer is seeking a soft, even light source. Light diffusers can be expensive and difficult to find in stores, so many photographers opt to create their own.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Light bulb (wattage will vary depending on the requisite brightness)
  • Clip-on lamp
  • White umbrella

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    Creating a Light Diffuser

  1. 1

    Begin by purchasing a white umbrella. The umbrella will be used to diffuse and reflect the light. White fabric is vital for maximum reflection; an umbrella with colored fabric will create a tint to the diffused light.

  2. 2

    Purchase a clip-on lamp and light bulb. A higher wattage light bulb (like 120 watts) will create brighter light, while a lower wattage bulb (like 60 watts) will create dimmer light. Purchase the right light for your needs; if you are unsure of your or another photographer's needs, it's best to purchase a higher watt. If necessary, the light intensity can be dimmed by moving the light diffuser back a few feet.

  3. 3

    Place the light bulb in the clip-on lamp.

  4. 4

    Open the umbrella and clip the lamp onto the umbrella's handle, approximately in the middle of the handle. The light bulb should be facing the inside of the open umbrella.

  5. 5

    Plug the light into an electrical socket and turn on the light. The homemade light diffuser is now ready for use. When using the light diffuser, the light will face away from the subject or object; the light will shine into the umbrella, which then reflects the light back onto the subject or object that's being photographed or filmed.

Tips and warnings

  • For best results, place the diffuser two to three feet from the subject or object. To create dimmer light, increase the distance between the subject/object and the light diffuser. The light diffuser can be placed on a table or other surface, or an assistant can hold the diffuser during use.

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