The FlashPipe: A Lightweight, Easy-To-Use Flash Diffuser

Flash diffusers come in all shapes and sizes, from DIY Home Depot versions to more expensive professional grade equipment. None of these solutions seemed adequate for 30 year photography veteran Les Tirmenstein, however, and that’s why he designed the FlashPipe.

The diffuser, which he is currently trying to fund on Kickstarter, consists of a simple foldable piece of translucent thermoplastic that mounts on top of your flash. Depending on the scene you’re attempting to light you can choose between an open topped “wedge” design or a closable “convertible” design, the first of which can also double as a snoot if the situation calls for it.

Unfortunately, without a pretty sizable funding push the FlashPipe may never see the light of day; there are only 14 funding days left and the project is still under $2,000 of its stated $9,999 goal. But if you’re interested in taking a chance on the FlashPipe and helping it become a reality, a pledge of $25 will get you one of the two designs, with a more sizeable $50 earning you one of each (or two of one if that’s how you want it).

(via Kickstarter via Foto Actualidad)

Update: The first campaign fell short of its goal, but Les has made updates to the product and is back again with a second attempt on Kickstarter.

  • Wander

    Just too expensive for a piece of plastic, and it looks very… Awkward.

    Sad, because it looks like a pretty solid idea

  • Mbpautz7621

    I thought it looked like an interesting idea and backed it.  I used a collapsible lightsphere like he mentions in the video and had the same complaints.  Too difficult to attach to an SB-910.  Hope this goes through, good luck!


    how about making a crease horizontally in the middle as well. it will fold down for storage even smaller.


    how about making a crease horizontally in the middle as well. it will fold down for storage even smaller.

  • ennuipoet

    Or, you know, a piece of printer paper and cellophane tape.  I carry some in my bag for just this purpose.

  • Ninpou_kobanashi

    Right. Why would it have to be plastic? Also, where are the example results?

  • Tirmite

    Samples coming soon….

  • Tirmite

    That’s a good idea, Zeee, but it wouldn’t work. The material is thick enough that having 4 layers fold in half wouldn’t allow for it to fold flat and it would affect the rigidity when upright. But you could cut it down shorter if you want a smaller version.

  • Tirmite

    Hopefully I’ll get it down to $20 when it’s actually produced in quantity. The majority of the manufacturing costs are in the packaging and instruction printing. I’ll try to shave costs as much as possible without compromising the quality of all the components. Even so, that price is much less than other products out there and a tiny investment for nice light and especially when compared to all the other things we buy for our cameras. Thanks for the compliment.

  • Dragunr1

     sample pictures needed :) i believe the idea is great, this way the diffuser becomes a larger lightsource, that’s the important thing, i guess.

  • kendon
  • Matthew Wagg

    Youch. $25 dollars for what is basically a sheet of plastic. 

  • MM

    It’s a clever idea, but as others have said, I could make my own for a few cents.

  • Coyote Red

    I sell a product, a paint stencil, which is similar in execution to this for $2.50.  It doesn’t have the packaging, etc., but a small mom and pop / garage operation could have something like this made, marketed and sold for well under $10 or 2 for $12.

  • Joey Duncan

    Keep in mind that 80% of the products out there can be made at home, or you don’t even need. This person feels that in a market filled with “take my money, I have to have it” people, this will sell. Somebody people like to buy stuff that’s nice  and ready to go. Some people don’t understand, or don’t care how light works and would rather just slap down their plastic in their wallet than do themselves. People buy those diffuser caps that go just over the flash. I have one, and I could have put toilet paper over it and gotten the same affect… but i didn’t, and most of you didn’t either. 

  • foggodyssey

    Got to say this is one of the worst Kickstarter pitches ever that I have seen.  Plus the marketing on this is even worse.  This what I got out of it:

    a) 6min video going over and over how he’s a 30 year professional photographer but then in the updates in Kickstarter he talks about how he hasn’t been able to get a model to pose for example shots (which pretty much what sells and validates the product since it’s new)… seriously your a professional photographer and you can’t get a girl to sit for you for an hour on the biggest product idea you’ve had?

    b) no one cares about the packing!  Seriously for a products that’s designed to be compact you made it so large in the packaging that I don’t get that feeling. 

    c) on top of that, who the hell cares about the cardboard and 2 bags.  Put it all in one bag, save money and pass the savings onto the customer.  Seriously think about that one.  Your product is like Kellogg’s Corn Flakes; you spend more on packaging then the actual product.  One thing for a food item, another for a non-disposable item.

    d) why do I need 2 different ones, the normal one and the “convertible”?  That should be one product which has a flip back lid, so if I want to close it I can and if I don’t I don’t.  Poor product design or just trying to sell more… either way people aren’t dumb and I can’t see carrying around 2 things that should be one to start, let alone $50 for both.

    e) $25 or $50 for both… yeah I got it’s not just paper, it’s paper that won’t burn “easily” or rip.  You didn’t sell me on it, sorry you weren’t that convincing to me to really care as I just want to know why so much for something so simple. 

    f) NO COMPARISON  PHOTOS!!!!!!!!!

    g) …and the worse crime to top them all (why your Kickstarter is failing) is because you give an incentive to buy now (and no example shots)!  The thing about KS is the idea to get in early and save for being daring to try a new product.  You keep going on-and-on about how you need to the money for this to get it going and after your able to do so that you can produce more cheaper.  Then I shall just wait till you get all the crap out of the way and buy when it’s cheaper right (plus once you get the example shots up), as that is what your saying in your pitch.

    I will say that I actually think the product is a good idea and is original for being in a field that isn’t that easy to stand out in.  That said, the marketing on this product is horrible all the way around; from product design, selling, price exc.  I know when I seen this on here I was excited to check it out and maybe buy one but the longer you talked in the video and everything else just turned me off from it.  Honest words that’s all but I hope it works out for you.

  • les

    All good points and well taken.  Yes, I’m not good at marketing.  Partly why I need money: to hire a PR firm.  And, yes, the packaging is definitely going to change.  I originally had the large packaging to avoid having to pay employees to fold the product and place the adhesive hook&loop dots.  The bag need to be large to accommodate the unfolded piece of material. But it may make more sense to pay people and reduce the packaging size and expense.  The vast majority of the cost is in the packaging. 
    I don’t shoot fashion anymore and I’m not around models all the time like I used to be.  I’m also tired of shooting, so I decided to get out of the biz, make it more of a hobby and fun again and to make photo gear.  This is my first attempt and I’ve made mistakes. You live and learn.  So, I don’t have a lot of money and I’m not around models anymore.  I do more event photography and you can’t use that time (when you’re working for a client) to ask their guests to pose while you test out multiple variations of your product.  I could use just anybody I suppose, but I wanted to use a pretty, professional models with nice skin and face.  That costs about $500 because of minimum booking rules at the agencies.  When you ask a stranger to pose and you explain what you’re doing, most people aren’t receptive.  My friends are my age and honestly, no one probably wants to see photos of 50-something year old “models.”  Would you?   You’re absolutely right, samples shots are needed and I did add some in the UPDATES section.  But at this point instead of spending more money for the Kickstarter project which may not make its goal, it probably makes more sense to spend that money on redesigning the packaging and getting the price down instead of on models and studio rental.  The goal has always been to get the price down, as I stated in the description.  $20 or less.  One could make one out of paper.  I did in the beginning.  But it won’t last and it surely doesn’t look professional when you’re around clients and you’ve got a paper hat on your equipment. The thermoplastic doesn’t tear or get wrinkles in it.  Paper does.  If I can get it down to $15 or $10 I will, but there are many aspects.  The silicon rubber band alone costs $.50.  The ziplock bags are $.50.  It all starts adding up.  And it has to arrive to the buyer in good condition, hence the thick cardboard liner in the bag to keep it safe if it’s being mailed as opposed to a retail purchase where it just sits on the shelf.  All this will be worked out, but I’ve already invested thousands (yes, really) to get it this far and I’m just out of funds.  The patent filing was incredibly expensive.  I appreciate your criticism and agree with you on almost all points.  It’s a work in progress and that’s why I went to Kickstarter for help.  As far as the rewards, well, that’s a fine line.   The purpose of KS is to make money and if I gave away the FlashPipes at a lower incentive level or gave two away for $25, then I wouldn’t be making money.  What’s the use of raising $10,000 if it’s going to cost $7000 to fulfill the rewards?  I might as well just use my own $3000 and take it to market myself, albeit at a slower pace than if I had investors.  Thanks for your comments.  I take them seriously and appreciate your input.  I’ve made all those same observations on my own and planned on making those changes, but didn’t want to pull down the KS project and redo the whole thing until after it had run its 30 day course.  Then I’ll decide whether to re-post with the changes or just launch the website and start selling them once the changes have been made.

  • Bumblebee

    a lot of beginners waste their money on the patents instead of getting the product to market. get the stuff to market. forget about the patents. the product matters. branding matters. the patents are the last thing you have to worry about. as long as you are in the market first you have prior art.

  • les

    Yes, but you still need protection.  I filed initial paperwork just so I didn’t spend a lot of money doing the other things only to find out later someone else beat me to the punch.  It’s not just about prior art, but “first-to-file” I’ve been advised.
    People troll the blogs and Kickstarter mining for ideas and if you don’t have protection and they beat you to market it’s really about who has deeper pockets and can win in court.  My pockets have holes in them.  :-)Thanks for your input.  Hey, I realized a way to make the packaging much simpler and reduce the overall cost dramatically.  Looks like around $15 now.

  • les

    I addressed your concern.  The coffee or something kicked in and I reconsidered how it would be packaged.  Made a huge difference in the cost.
    Now it can be done for around $15.  

  • les


  • les

    Not exactly.  You can use paper and at one time I did too.  But it doesn’t last.  Or the color temperature isn’t consistent.  Or it takes time to fold and cut and construct one.  And it surely doesn’t look professional.  My market is to pro shooters who do event photography or amateurs who want something of a little higher quality.  If you’re shooting your family, right, who cares.  If you’re at a wedding or around business professionals at an event, those people notice details.  The FlashPipe was designed to last longer and look better.  It’s a tool, not a toy.  I’ve since been able to reduce the cost through a package redesign. People who see the value in the above mentioned attributes will buy it.  Others won’t.  But I also took the risks and costs to bring it to market and that isn’t free.  I wish it wasn’t a litigious world, but it is and so you have to have patent protection.  That alone is over $10,000.  Granted, for $15 you could buy a 500 sheets of fancy typing paper and fold a new one every time you need a diffuser.  Or you could buy one ready made like the FlashPipe.  Thanks for your comments.  

  • Steven Davis

    Best way to cut the costs is take a piece of paper two pieces of tape and well done. even with the fancy flap it would cost under $3 if you bought a sheet of plastic online or even better go to home depot or a craft store then you don’t have to wait at all.

  • Steven Davis

    Wait I just got it! a couple photos with some fancy packaging and boom $10,000 richer I bet he needs to make a car payment.