A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post on experimenting with your photography (click here for that post) and this week I tried something along those lines. I had a shoot that I wanted to use a grid for, but my reflector was too big…. sooo…. I decided to make my own light modifier out of a popper stopper and see what kind of result I would get…..

A popper stopper?? What’s that?.. Well, as seen in the photo below, it is….

Taken from coutant.org

Pop stopper, popper blocker, pop block, pop stop. A variety of names is used to describe these filters, all of which are designed to reduce what Dr. Stanley R. Alten calls “plosive breath sounds” in his superb textbook, Audio in Media. Regardless of what they are called, a screen’s function is to prevent “p pops” from reaching a microphone. The force of our breath can cause a pop or thump to be produced by a mic when the letters “p” and “b” are spoken or sung.


It’s the tool that you put in front of a microphone when recording. With being involved in the music scene for the past 10 years, I have managed to collect a wide range of different musical instruments and accessories that seem to be collecting dust. I had no idea what kind of effect it would give me, but there was only one way to find out.

Now… how to attach it to my strobe???? Who would of thought that those Arts & Crafts classes in elementary school would finally come in handy.

Time to channel my inner MacGyver.

What you will need to do this:

1. Black Construction Paper
2. Scissors
3. Gaff Tape
4. Pencil
5. Reflector
6. Popper Stopper

*Note: This is the way I had to build it because my reflector has a larger diameter than the popper stopper


Put the reflector on the construction paper and trace a circle around it. (It was tough tracing and shooting the photo at the same time). Then cut out the circle, going approximately 1/8″ outside the line. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Now put the popper stopper in the middle of the cut out circle and trace around it and cut it out again going about 1/8″ outside of the line. (towards the middle)

Now take 4 pieces of gaff tape and put it underneath the cut out circle as shown below. Make sure to have the sticky side facing up and put the reflector on top of the circle. The black circle will block the light from the strobe because the reflector has a larger diameter than the popper stopper.

Fold the four pieces of gaff tape on to the reflector nice and tight as shown.

Take some gaff tape and stick it to the outside of the popper stopper. I ripped off small strips and cut small half moon shapes on one side of the strip to align it to the stopper easier. Again, in doesn’t have to be perfect.

Attach your reflector to the strobe.

Attach the popper stopper mounting bracket to your light stand and tighten. You will want to put it on the arm closest to the strobe incase you have to adjust the height of the light stand. Position it so that the popper stopper is loosely in front of the reflector with a bit of play.

Now fasten the tape to the black circle on the reflector and do your best to make it as flat as possible and cover all exposed areas that light can escape. If you need to, use extra tape to accomplish this.

That’s it!

Now go experiment with it.

When I used it, it gave me kind of a similar effect as using a grid but not as direct. The mesh material on the popper stopper softened the light a tad bit. Definitely enough for what I needed.

I would love to hear of similar ideas that you have made. Write me in the comments and maybe I’ll try it. I love experimenting with low budget accessories.

Below is a photo I used this modifier on.