D.I.Y. Modification Device: The Light Can

Today's post comes from the book Studio Lighting Unplugged: Small Flash Techniques for Digital Photographers by Rod & Robin Deutschmann. It is available from Amazon.com and other fine retailers.

Our go-to light modifier for directed-light studio work is the light can. It’s a powerhouse version of the classic snoot. When you place it on your light, it stops flare and eliminates spill. When you place it on your flash, you create a spotlight.

You can create a light can for less than $4 (so you might as well make a few!). Here is how it’s done:

• Cut the bottom off a large Quaker Oats canister.
• Cut a hole in the middle of a large, thick sponge.
• Squeeze the sponge into the bottom of the canister.
• Push the flash through the hole in the sponge.
• There you have it—your first light can!

As this trio of images shows, the light can is an inexpensive modifier that offers a practical way to
add light to specific sections of your image.

A bare-tube flash spreads light through a room, bouncing it from one corner to another. With a light can attached to your flash, you will be able to quickly and effectively corral the light from a small flash.

Adding a piece of children’s modeling foam to the light can gives you even more control of the width of the beam, as illustrated in these images.

Here we see three different sized light cans and the spotlight effects they produce. The light can on the left was made from a Pringles potato chip canister. The second was made from a modified Quaker Oats canister (we added a piece of foam to restrict and corral the light). The third light can is the Quaker Oats canister, without the foam covering.


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  2. thank you so much for sharing do you mind explainig what type of modeling foam to use

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