Flash Filters Craft Project…..

This kind of takes me back to primary school (except I wasn’t allowed scissors). A perennial issue is using gels on flashes to either balance the light with ambient or to provide a warm glow to skin tones. The issue is how do you attach gels to the flash. Nikon provides a gel pack with the SB800 flash and you can buy extras – the SJ-1 filter set, but it’s an expensive set when all I really want is a couple of 1/2 cut CTO gels. The Nikon design is rather fiddly use, sliding into the slot the wide angle diffuser fits in. It often doesn’t lie flat against the face of the flash and if it does, it gets damaged by the heat of the tube. So not a great solution.


Another potential solution is Sticky Filters. This is rather a neat solution, but I haven’t tried them. They don’t come in 1/4 CTO gel, but you do get 2 sets. Downside is the price – $50 a set of 2 and I probably won’t use most of them, just the 1/2 and full cut CTO’s.

Being of the (ahem) economical sort, I decided to have a stab at making my own flash filters solution.

I bought some Lee filter gels a few years ago, The big sheets (24″x21″) are only about $7 each and I got some CTO and 0.5 CTO sheets. I finally put a plan together to use them. The core of the plan is to use a LumiQuest UltraStrap that was in the goody bag from the Flashbus event. This is a flexible and adjustable velcro strap that fits nicely on the flash unit.

The next stage was to cut the gel sheet into rectangles. Add some stickyback velcro to both sides of the gell and voila! The gel will attach to the Ultrastrap in short order. By having the hook and eye parts of the velcro on different sides of the gel, you can stack them. This makes it simple to increase the strength by adding a second or third gel.


Next time I do this, I’ll probably get some 1/4 cut CTO for more flexibility, and instead of using the strips of velcro, just use dots, which will come apart easier.

Still, a sheet of CTO gel and $5 velcro, around $13 all in for a load of gels that I will use extensively……..economical…….

More to come……

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