DIY Snoot For Speedlights

Having had my speedlights for a while now, I’ve been using the Sto-Fen diffusers on them quite a lot – it helps to soften the light for an even illumination. However, today I needed a snoot to make the beam more concentrated to eliminate excess light spill, as I wanted to photograph smoke trails from a joss stick.

Commercial light modifiers can be quite expensive – John Adkins has written an excellent post about what each type does, with links to buy most of them online. And Rob Webb’s excellent smoke tutorial gave me the idea of making my own snoot. Here’s how it was done:

What You Will Need

Materials you will need
Materials you will need
  • Short or long tube of Pringles (empty)
  • Black Duck tape or similar
  • Chopping board
  • Stanley Knife
  • Pair of Scissors

Step By Step

1. Take an empty tube of Pringles - remove the crumbs!
1. Take an empty tube of Pringles - remove the crumbs!
2. Cut off the metal bottom with the Stanley Knife
2. Cut off the metal bottom with the Stanley Knife
3. Wrap tube in Duck tape, leaving a 2-3mm overlap
3. Wrap tube in Duck tape, leaving a 2-3mm overlap
4. Leave about 10mm overhang at the cut end of the tube
4. Leave about 10mm overhang at the cut end of the tube
5. Cut around the top leaving approx 10mm tabs of tape
5. Cut around the top leaving approx 10mm tabs of tape
6. Fold the tabs over to complete the cut edge
6. Fold the tabs over to complete the cut edge

Why Pringles?

I like Pringles! And the inside of the tube is slightly silvered, which helps to bounce the light around. It actually concentrates the light a little bit – hold the tube up to a window and look at the light coming out of the other end – it’s slightly brighter than just having the ambient light!

Magic!

Why The Duck Tape?

The black tape gives the tube a little bit more external strength, as well as making it look a bit less Heath Robinson.

The Finished Article

The tube should fit snugly over the end of your Speedlight – it’s a tight fit on my YN560’s but this means I don’t need any other method of attachment – just squish the tube slightly to a rectangular cross-section and they happily stay put.

Looking down the barrel
Looking down the barrel
Long and short versions
Long and short versions

I made two of each type of snoot, long and short, so that both my speedlights have them if I require it. You can even keep the plastic lids for the tubes over the end, which would make attaching coloured gels quite easy if you wanted to.

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