Rogue Flash Bender Softbox with Rosco White Grid Cloth

Speedlites or hot shoe flash are an excellent portable lighting solution which to be usable almost always need modification in some way. The Rogue Flash Bender is an excellent modifier for off-camera hot shoe flash lighting as it gives you a broader soft light from an inherently hard point light source.

 My long-suffering model and daughter Abi
- flattering light courtesy of large Rogue Flash Bender and Rosco 3030 white Grid Cloth

I've been using one for a couple of years now as my standard softener for my Canon Speedlites. There are times when more softening is desirable, especially when creating portraits, and the solution is Rosco’s inexpensive and convenient Grid Cloth.  Rosco’s range of Grid Cloth diffusers come in a variety of different densities as well as the combination Dyed Grids that offer CTB (tungsten to daylight correction) and CTS (daylight to tungsten correction) options.

The following images illustrate the effect of flash on my long suffering model, my eldest daughter Abi, who still manages to smile despite the pain inflicted by her photographer father!

1. Ambient or existing daylight only in my back yard. Notice the yellow tone to the right of Abi's face, this the reflection of a yellow/orange wall about 4 feet away.

2. Direct flash zoomed to 50mm (see kit list below) with Gel Clip holding Rosco 302 Pale Bastard Amber Cinegel to add slight warmth Abi's skin tones. Warm (red/yellow) skin tones always look better than cool (blue/green)!

3. Flash modified with large Rogue Flash Bender, Gel Clip holding Rosco 302 Pale Bastard Amber Cinegel.

4. Flash modified with large Rogue Flash Bender, Gel Clip holding Rosco 302 Pale Bastard Amber Cinegel removed to show effect of warming filter.

5. Flash modified with large Rogue Flash Bender, Gel Clip holding Rosco 302 Pale Bastard Amber Cinegel and Rosco 3030 white Grid Cloth clipped to front of Rogue Flash Bender giving softer shadow edge gradation, not dissimilar to a soft box.

6. As 5 above but distance to Abi doubled. As with a studio softbox, the greater the distance the harder the light becomes. Here the light was held at arms length above and close to frame centre.

For frames 2 to 5 the flash was hand held high and to camera left, at a distance of about 2ft 6in.

I prefer Rosco 02 Bastard Amber and 302 Pale Bastard Amber as a warming gel as it's less red/yellow than the CTO correction gel used by many photographers to warm skin tones. For me CTO, is a daylight to tungsten correction gel, not a skin tone warmer.

Rosco 3030 White Grid Cloth is a material very similar to that used to make the diffusers in the majority of commercially available studio or portable soft boxes. It is used in TV, motion picture and theatre to diffuse light over large areas. Rosco 3030 White Grid Cloth is available as part of the 10" x 12" Diffusion kit, retailing for about £19.99 or as single 20" x 24" sheets for less than £5.00. Cinegel Pale Bastard Amber is available as 20" x 24" sheets.

Rogue Flash Benders are available from many photographic retailers, click here to find a dealer near you.

Rosco lighting gels and diffusers are available in the UK from The Flash Centre

The Original Gel Clip has been designed to fit the majority of hotshot flash units available. It sits in front of the flash tube giving an air gap so the heat energy emitted when the flash fires disapates. Gels are held in place inside the Gel Clip which if fixed in place with a hook and loop strap.

Gel Clip is available from selected UK resellers:

Camera Settings
Manual exposure; Daylight white balance approx. 5100K; Aperture f/4; Shutter 1/50 sec; ISO 320; Metering Evaluative; Focus centre spot AF.

Kit List
Canon EOS 50D
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 prime - just like a 80mm of full frame, but lighter and less expensive!
Canon 580 EXII Speedlite set to eTTL
Large Rogue Flash Bender reflector
Rosco 3030 white Grid Cloth
Fold back clips to attach Grid Cloth to Flash Bender
Handheld, no tripod.

Well that's it, a simple low cost and portable soft box solution for hot shoe flash.


  1. Thanks for the tips! You're daughters beautiful! :)

  2. Jeremy, thank you for your feedback. I'm sure Abi will blush when I show her your kind comment. I will back it up by saying I only post about gear which I believe in or have total faith to deliver.


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