Got a Shower Curtain? Use It to Make a Beautiful Light Modifier for Your Photo and Video Work

Lighting equipment, like all photography gear, can be pretty expensive. However, with a little ingenuity, you can get soft, flattering light with the cheapest of "modifiers." This helpful video will show you how it's done.

Coming to you from Shutterstock Tutorials, this great video talks about the different options for diffusing light. Almost any genre demands this capability at one point or another, as softer light is often considered more flattering and desirable (though not always). While there's lots of specialized photography equipment for the task, any material that scatters incoming light without absorbing most of it is by definition a diffuser, and that's exactly what a frosted shower curtain liner does, besides keeping water off your bathroom floor, of course. Of course, this isn't the only way to diffuse light, but if you're looking for a cheap and effective method that provides great results, it's pretty hard to beat the cost/performance ratio of the shower curtain. As the video mentions, it's important to get some distance from the light to the curtain (or whatever material you end up using) to increase the effective size of the source and get softer, more diffused light. Try it out for yourself! 

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7 Comments

Fritz Asuro's picture

LOL. This reminds me of my Ikea diffusion panel made out of a shower curtain and rods. Those budget days..

Jim Bochicchio's picture

My go to diffusion when shooting vehicles in my warehouse is 4 or 6 mil viscuene that I got at Lowes. Bought them several years ago, I think a 10 ft x 100 ft roll was ~$40.00 for the 4 mil and $50 for the 6. Put it up using 3rd Hands (carpentry or cabinet supports much like Varipoles) and galvanized pipe. Put that in front of 2-3 12x55 strip boxes oriented horizontally and it's a nice, soft, very large light source. The 4 mil is a bit more translucent than the 6.

Chad D's picture

someones channel is getting promoted more here all of a sudden ? hmmmmmmmm

Jon Kellett's picture

Shower curtain has long been my go to for creating a massive and super-soft light source.

Not a good idea if you are particular about your color. The plastic material in the curtains often adds unwanted color combinations that are difficult or impossible to correct. For professional work use established photo lighting materials.

Fritz Asuro's picture

Obviously, the best thing to do is to acquire professional manufactured equipment. But if you're starting out, in a thight budget, or have to do a work around. This is one way to go.

In 2008 I made a series of video tutorials using ripstop nylon panels and other goodies. As others have posted, shower curtains can introduce odd color shifts and/or star filter highlights on some older camera sensors. Just buy some real ripstop for $8 a sq/yd and be done with it, Link to video series here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUS62Wbfv9A