As photographers, we love DIY projects and any tip and trick what will help pinch those pennies. Instead of buying a name brand beauty dish, we’ll make them out of salad bowls, or use shower curtains for diffusion panels.

One of the most famous (and oldest) tricks in the book is to cut the gels out of a swatch book and tape/Velcro them to your flash, but we might have been doing it wrong all these years. Photographer Raul M. Leal demonstrates a way to attach the swatches to your flash without leaving a sticky residue.


[REWIND:Lighting With Grids | What They Do And How To Use Them]

Using his Canon 580 EXII head as a template, Leal cuts the color correcting gel to fit. He leaves a small tab on the top and with the help of a straight edge (a ruler) bends the tab to a 90 degree angle. The tab is then inserted in the slot that holds the bounce card.


I have tried using his method and it works pretty well for a fast DIY color change. The gels seem to adhere to the flash head with a static charge. At 1.25 x 3.25″, the small Rosco Cinegel packs won’t have enough surface area to cover larger flash heads; instead opt for the 3 x 6” Swatchbook. I don’t know how this trick will fare during a busy event like a wedding, but it should save you enough in gaffer tape to be able to get a MagMod.


Leal offers the template for the 580EX here. Feel free to download and modify it to fit to your preferred speedlight.

[Via Lighting Mods]