Making a Foba diffuser alternative

I’m shooting jewellery a lot lately so I thought it was about time I had sturdier cone diffusers made that are going to last me longer than a few weeks.

Arguably, the best cone shaped diffuser is made by studio photography equipment specialist Foba in Switzerland. I don’t own anything from Foba so I’m just going by what I read and see online. One of those diffusers (Foba Large Acryl Diffuser Cone) that I would like costs than USD$565 + $90Shipping from NYC – frighteningly expensive.

Foba-Large-Acryl-Diffuser Cone

I’ve searched high and low but there isn’t any alternative/copy/Chinese knock-off that I could buy on eBay or anywhere else (someone in the UKwas trying to flog a frosted white plastic lamp shade as a diffuser but such a thing is not readily available or, for that matter,  much of an alternative). The only way, I’ve determined, is to make one myself. However, it’s easy to say just look online and find some DIY articles and do it yourself but what I found, however is that a lot of photography DIYers are in the USA and what they could easily find in America is not so easy to find (or cheap to buy) in Australia! Besides, I’m not a patient type (like my husband) who spends time to carefully measure and plan. It has to be simple!

After much searching and headache I did manage to make my very own set of cone-shaped diffusers. Here are my quick and easy DIY diffuser cones that I made out of desperation using materials I could get/have delivered in Perth, Western Australia.


Savage Translum Backdrop

It is essentially a rolled up thin sheet of plastic and it is not readily available in Australia so I get this shipped from B&H in NYC. The shipping costs more than the product itself.

White cloth tape

This is one thing that is not hard to get. I got mine from Masters but you could get it anywhere really.

Metal Hoops

This is my own finding. I say that because a famed product photography guy, Alex Koloskov, shows how to make these diffusers using a plastic pipe. I tried that and, oh boy, what a disaster that was when I tried his method. That’s because I couldn’t get hold of the kind of pipe that he was using so I came up with an idea. What if I use some thin metal wire? It would be better if it’s already in a hoop/loop shape. I did some thinking/searching and I found out that it is in fashion these days to make dream catchers using metal hoops. Yipee! I was so happy when I found these on eBay. I bought 18″ and 12″ for my diffusers.

How I made them:


  1. I didn’t use rulers or any other sophisticated tools. OK, rulers aren’t all that sophisticated. ;-) All I had were a pen and a piece of string to draw a half circle on Translum sheet for the outer bigger circle. And I drew a smaller circle where my lens would go through at the top.
  2. I rolled the cutout sheet to meet the straight edges and taped to secure the shape while I put the hoop down from the top to secure the bottom. The bigger the diffuser gets, the flimsier the bottom part is. This is really the reason why I have a metal hoop.
  3. Once I find the right place for the hoop to secure the shape (about an inch off the bottom) I tape various places to hold the shape together.
  4. Since I didn’t measure anything and made them kind of as I went along I had to trim the edges to make them neater.
  5. I made some small cuts all around the top hole and folded the little bits outward. I found that with those cuts it’s easier for the lens to go through when shooting.
  6. That’s it.

Next time, I could perhaps share photos I’ve taken with these cone diffusers.


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Hi, my name is Songy, your Personal Brand Coach & Photographer. I help you create a brand that represents who you are what you do so that you can grow your business. Moving well away from the thought of having a ‘wrong’ personality being an introvert, I’m now helping other introverts become visible and flourish. My clients love my direct, no-nonsense approach, macabre humour and my caring nature. Connect with me by signing up to receive my weekly marketing insights and personal branding secrets.

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