DIY: Lee Filters Flash Adapter

Last night I was inspired and decided to put together an idea that been bugging me since the day I received my 4 Lee Filter sample packs from Musikhaus Thomann.

I had already made a filter adapter for the Canon flashes but then when I received the Lee filters sample package I wonder how could I use the package on the field without having to put some Tape or Velcro on them prior to the assignment.

Since I always carry the all package containing the 287 small sample colored filters with me and sometimes only on the field I decide which one's to choose, or none, it started to be very difficult to have them all with tape and Velcro (like the CTO and Green one's I already have made).

In general I think this is one of the accessories, if you use the filters too much, that you cannot live without it in you bag or pocket or wallet.

Soon I realize that I needed something that I could call adapter and could be all time (or not) attached to the flash, it must be weightless and above all portable since I carry already too much weight and gear to some assignments.

This is a simple thing you can do since all the material used costs almost nothing, as you will see, and it's a very small portable thing you can even put it together with the filter package.

If you follow the last example of the Black Straws Snoot then you are half way there ;)

As always, I start with the Setup shot so you can see how the all pictures in these series were made.

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_001

I use for this ISO 100, Tv 200, Av 8.0 and a silver umbrella to the left of the camera as you will notice on some of the shots.

Here is a picture of the stuff we are going to need to accomplish this project.

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_002

- Cereal or other card box package
- Scissors
- Ruler (this time I covered the ads on the ruler)
- Glue
- Lee filter sample pack
- Kitchen knife or snap-off blade knife
- Carving board (so you won't cut the table out)

After you gather all the things you are ready to start.

I unfolded the cereal card box and draw on one of it borders (the more straightened side) the measures of my Canon 580Ex.

For Canon 580Ex 1cm, 4cm, 7cm, 4cm, 7cm and 2cm tall is enough.
For Nikon SB26 1cm, 4,5cm, 7cm, 4,5cm, 7cm and 2cm tall.

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_003

Lets use the scissors to cut it out from the card box, this is a simple process and do not require master degree on engineering :)

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_004

Picture after cutting it out from the card box. But this is not all...

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_005

Next we use the ruler to help bend the parts we need. We really do not need the ruler since the card box is not so thick but I used it anyway since it will help get them straight.

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_006

After you have to choose the distance you want the filter to be from the edge of the box to the inside part. As you can see I'm pointing with my index finger to where you should make the draw. I made it 0,5cm from the edge and draw a line from one side to the other on the 4cm sizes. (I've done this since if you put it too much on the edge it will not be strong enough and resistant to hold the small gel).

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_007

You use the sharp knife to make a hole in there, be careful to not cut yourself and do not make a very large hole so the filter won't be loosen. Just cut it straight from one side to the other on the 4 cm parts.

Afterwards test it with one of the Lee filters to see if it passes through the hole on both sides without too much afford and before you glue the adapter together.

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_008

Now apply some glue on the 1cm part to glue the adapter box together.

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_009

After the glue dries (2 or 3 minutes depending on the glue) put one of the filters in. First you pass it through one hole and then enter on the next one... this is a simple procedure.

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_010

Here is the final shot after putting the gel through the both holes. NICE!!!

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_011

This is what it looks like when you mount it on the flash.

Remember that this is not intend to be a snoot... you need the filter to stay out of the box the maximum you can drill the hole (for me was the 0,5 cm)in the card box end because what we want is a filter adapter and not a snoot. Hey, this came into my mind right now!!! maybe you can use this, later on, to make a snoot with color ;)

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_012

I changed it to red so you can see the effect it produces. Here it is... Isn't this a COOL and NICE idea ?!!!

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_013

Follow me on this: "I do not believe pigs can fly unless I can see one", so that's why I put here a photo of the result.

Don't mind about the small hole on the small filter since, as you can see on this shot, it has no effect whatsoever on the final filter color. When you put the filter on try to minimize the hole by pushing it to the other side.

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_014

Now, another thing, I wanted the adapter to be was small and portable... Just look at this!!! you can fold it and put it in your pocket or near the rest of the gels. You can even drill a small hole in it and attach it to the rest of the pack.

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_015

Another shot to show you how small this adapter really is.

This is a good portable adapter since it takes only 5 minutes to assemble and if you loose one or smash it then you can make another one from another box in no time.

I did not make any tape finishing since it would make difficult for the filters to enter on the holes because of the tape's glue but you can always put some tape on the top and bottom or leave it like this... who will bug you by having this adapter on your flash??

Lee Filters Flash Adapter_016

I hope you enjoy another useful DIY for your daily work.

I also think this adapter could come up very handy since, as I said before, you can carry it around and change filters on the fly... you can even have two or 3 of them, with a hole drilled near the flash size attach, and carry them with your gels pack.

Imagine in 2 seconds you could change the flash color just by putting another adapter or changing the filter color on location.

Before I did this I use, like so many of you out there, the gels with Velcro on each of the tips. I have also a collection of them hanging on my bag and with different sizes because of flash size with this I only need to have 1 adapter for the 580EX and another for my 2 SB26.

I can carry now the complete Lee gels pack without loosing too much space on my bag and when, for some reason, I need the purple or exotic color I can easily get it without having to glue anything to it or turning the idea down just because I do not have it set.

Make one of these yourself and enjoy flash colors ;)

Until next time keep on making good photos.


funkypancake said...

fantastic site and fantastic tips. and i love your style of writing. brilliant stuff all round.

keep up the good works


Dr Hiding Pup said...

Oh, snoot with colour...hmm...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rui great tip

NicePhotoMag said...

Another great tip. Thanks!

Unknown said...


I just made a couple of these. They're fantastic. I spraypainted mine matte black so they look professional and I'm good to go. Just make sure to make a paper dummy filter to put in the holes when you're painting so you don't gum up the holes.

Lic. Juan Carlos Baena said...

where i can find the lee filters sample in EUA?

Cristhian Mestre said...

Please, could anyone told me (and the other guy, Juan) where find the sample Lee filters, please?

Thank you very much and... keep working on this way.

Verena Fuchs said...

Very creative and very well done! Thanks for the tip!

Chris Andrews said...

know what works even better? constructing the entire thing out of duct tape. You can create a folded edge for smooth sides to the slit, plus its both flexible and strong so it can fit into any part of your gear bag without risk of ripping.

pkphoto said...

Great little tut, thanks, though I would change the dimetions to 70mm x 47mm x 60mm x 47mm plus about 20mm for the tab to fit perfectly onto the 580ex mkii. Made mine out of black card- works a treat!

I got my filters direct from Lee, I just reqested the sample pack using the contact page on the UK site and they sent it to me for free.