Major improvisation? A DIY Lightscoop. A Lightscoop is an inexpensive way to bounce your DSLR's pop up flash. If you can't afford an external flash and aren't a pro, this seems to be a good alternative for shooting indoors (provided you don't have super high ceilings). Bouncing a flash avoids your subject being totally washed/blown out and the background being dark.
I purchased this yesterday on Amazon, and paid for overnight shipping ($3.99 with prime membership). However, UPS screwed up, didn't deliver it, and has now locked it up for the weekend and I can't receive it until Monday. I pleaded with them on the phone, begging to pick it up, but there was nothing to be done. I did at least get my shipping cost refunded.
However, this left me up a certain creek without a paddle. I called Ritz Camera and they don't sell anything like it. Thankfully, Brad helped me out. I had a spare mirror from an old compact. He showed me if I just hold the mirror at an angle in front of my flash it will bounce it. Awesome. But I didn't want to have to hold it the whole time.
So I rigged up my own temporary Lightscoop, for free. It's not pretty, but it does the job. Just card stock, tape, and a little piece of chip board to slide into my hot shoe and hold the mirror in place.
Here are bad cell phone pictures of my DIY Lightscoop.
from the side
from bottom, showing the chipboard piece for my hot shoe
from the top, showing it over my pop up flash
I followed the set up settings for the Lightshoe here, and it worked perfectly. Here are some photos to show you:
Camera in auto mode, no flash:
The lens cover is dark and you can't really see the details. We need some lighting.
Camera in auto mode, with flash:
Lights up the lens cap but now the background of the picture is dark and the lens cap has some unflattering highlights. If this was someone's face the picture would look pretty awful, and there'd probably be red-eye.
Camera with the DIY Lightscoop, manual mode as per the suggested settings (low aperture, :
Ah, much better. The lens cap is lit, but not blow out, the background is evenly lit as well, everything looks just a lot better.
Once again, a side by side comparison:
My real Lightscoop will be here Monday, but it'll do the same thing, just look much prettier :) I just wanted to show you that you CAN easily make one in a pinch!