PhotographyTips.com - the #1 guide to better conventional and digital photography Become a Member iPhone Posing GuideGuide to Posing the Female Model BookGuide to Posing the Model CD
Search
Login

Member Login

Find us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Find us on Flickr
Connect with us on LinkedIn

SPONSORS

Sell Photos Online

FEATURED SITES


Portable light diffuser

Turn harsh light into soft illumination


Bright sunlight can cause a subject to squint, and creates harsh shadows.
Bright sunlight can cause a subject to squint, and creates harsh shadows.

Pictures taken in bright sunlight (or any single-source light that is not diffused) may contain too much contrast. Extreme brightness can also cause your subject to squint.

Both of these problems can be overcome by placing a diffuser between the light and your subject. The resulting illumination is softer, and shadows are less harsh.

Although a pure white bed sheet or other white translucent material can be effective, a commercially-available portable diffuser is simple to set up, light-weight, easy to handle (except in strong wind) and made from just the right kind of translucent material to ensure there is no change in the color of the light striking your subject.


The framework is usually made from hollow plastic tubing held together by bungee-like stretchable cord so that it practically assembles itself when you take hold of the top tube and let the rest of the tubes fall. The unit can be quickly disassembled to fold away for storage.

The translucent fabric cover has fitted elastic corners, making it quick and simple to attach.

A translucent diffusion panel positioned between the light source and the subject is an effective solution.
A translucent diffusion panel positioned between the light source and the subject is an effective solution.

With the light diffused, the subject no longer has to squint and the overall illumination is softer.
With the light diffused, the subject no longer has to squint and the overall illumination is softer.

If you are planning on doing a good deal of outdoors portraiture, you may find a portable light diffuser - available from most camera dealers - to be a useful accessory.

You will find that there is some exposure loss, as much as one stop, requiring you to adjust your exposure settings for less light.


USE IT FOR SILHOUETTES, TOO

A light diffusion panel can also provide you with a simple means of creating interesting silhouettes by placing it between the camera position and the subject, with the light source behind the subject.

STORAGE

Be sure to store your portable diffuser away from heat to avoid damage to the plastic frame.

Silhouettes can easily be made with the sun behind the subject and the diffusion panel in front.
Silhouettes can easily be made with the sun behind the subject and the diffusion panel in front.

The portable diffusion panel collapses to an easily-manageable size.
The portable diffusion panel collapses to an easily-manageable size.

MAKE YOUR OWN DIFFUSER

If you have a wooden frame, you can staple white fabric (an old bed sheet or white nylon, like an old parachute, for example) to it to make an effective light diffuser. The sizes of the frame and the translucent fabric are your only limiting factors. Small diffusers, such as one you make using a coat hanger for a frame, can be used for photographing plants and small creatures, and large diffusers are effective for softening the light for people pictures and even larger subjects.

A white canvas or nylon tent can function as a light diffuser, producing softly-lit images of people and other subjects.


Further information...

Light tent
Related topics...

Bounce flash

Reflectors