Using pop-up flash diffusers

Do you use a pop-up flash diffuser? If you have a DSLR camera when you take a photo inside, at night or dark environment, you might notice hard shadow around your subject, to avoid that you can use pop up diffusers.

Here is the sample images to show differences.

bottom image with pop up flash no diffuser

Then 3 images: First image with no flash, natural lighting, second with pop up flash, and third image with diffuser

The strong shadow especially noticeable if you are taking close up photos or portraits against light background such as walls. I shoot a lot of food and close up photos. Through the time I purchased several products. Some worked better than others. I have external flash too, but hardly ever I use for food photography. Usually pop up flash is more than enough. Besides, If I am cooking and taking photos, I really do not have time to adjust my external flash settings.

sample usage

So I use pop up flash with a diffuser.
For close up photos, such as floral or small items, electronics, etc, I have a tendency to use ring flash. They give relatively better results.

diffuser for Sony DSLR

Even though they claimed fits fine to Sony A65, reality is different, it does not actually fit properly in the hotshoe. The handle needs to be longer to be in front of the flash unit. So I barely use it. Because I had to hold it with my hand, while I am taking photos. If you have remote control shutter unit, you might use it, but still for hand-held situations, are hopeless…

Soft Screen Diffuser
To soften harsh shadows and reduce red-eye often produced by pop-up flashes. Folds flat to approximately 4″x4″.

soft screen diffuser

Pop Up Flash Diffuser

color diffusers

I used this product with my Sony Alpha 550 a lot. I loved it. Most my close up photos had either white diffuser or yellow to create more softer sepia approach.
Usually this product comes with 3 colors: White/Blue/Orange
The white one diffuses the pop-up flash and creates soft shadow. The orange one is used to give a warmer tone. The blue one makes images become more like taken under cooler lighting environment.

Practical alternatives?
Blocking the strong flash with a piece of white paper, napkin, tissue paper, piece of soft white material, or soft packaging materials will do the job somehow. If this is a piece of paper, you can easily tape it around the flash and discard it when you are done.

Here is the home made simple diffuser from a piece of paper.


Foldable, Portable Diffuser for your flash unit

this product is big to use with pop up flash

What about external flash diffusers?

This diffuser you can attach to external flash unit, it will diffuse the hard and direct light from flash, and more evenly distribute light onto object. You may use this product to avoid too densely lighted spots on object, harsh shadow behind the object. With diffusers your images will have softer and more natural look than without diffuser.
There are too many products to choose from. Depends of your camera model, you can look for it.