STEP BY STEP / Funnel your flash
1 Set up your camera
Turn your Nikon to manual mode and press the flash button on the side of the camera. On most Nikons you’ll need to keep the button depressed and then scroll the sub-command dial until you reach standard flash mode. Use the command dial to drop the flash power to -1 stop.
2 Shape the can
Offer up your crisps can to the pop-up flash and see which bits you need to cut for it to fit around the unit while it’s raised up. Mark the shape with a pen before cutting it to size. Cut the front off at an angle so that the light is forced down across the area in front of the lens.
3 Add tissue paper
Use tissue paper taped across the angled cut to diffuse the light and soften shadows. Don’t use too many layers or the flash power will be significantly reduced and you won’t be able to light the subject properly. If you want something more robust, try a shower curtain cut to size.
4 Attach your diffuser
Make holes in the can with scissors and poke rubber bands through them to strap the can around your Nikon. Using rubber bands makes it easy to take the can off when you want to shoot something other than a close-up, as we did while walking around this forest.
5 Get in close
With a macro lens on the camera, set an aperture of f/11 or f/16; depth of field gets shallower as you focus closer, but a small aperture counteracts this a little. We’re using an ISO of 1250 and a shutter speed of 1/80 sec to ensure that the background that’s not lit by the flash is visible.
6 Experiment with composition
Try a different composition by turning your camera vertically; this often suits tall, thin subjects. If you’re photographing delicate subjects such as fungi, be aware of how close your makeshift diffuser is. The last thing you want to do is bump into them and cause damage.