How To Use a Diffuser for Studio Photography

June 29

5 min. to read

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In this article, the Skylum team is diving into the light of diffused softness. Read on for simple tips on using a diffuser in your studio.

“Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.” – George Eastman

What is diffused light? It’s a soft light that doesn't have the intensity or the glare of direct light. It’s scattered and comes from all sorts of directions.

Think: what clouds do to sunlight on cloudy days.

One simple way to create beautiful images in your photo studio is to use a diffuser –– which is a device that helps evenly spread light by reflecting it off a surface or filtering it through a translucent screen. 

There are many tips and tricks and types of diffusers out there and in this article, we’ll give you a simple variety of ways to use diffused light in the studio.

Flash Light and Constant Light 

When it comes to studio photography, photographers often question whether to use flash light or constant light. 

Flash lights refer to speed light that goes on your camera (or can be triggered off camera) and studio strobes. With flash light, your photos are less sensitive to vibration and you have the ability to freeze motion. 

With constant light, the light is continuous — and the idea is that “what you see is what you get,” similar to how the scene looks with your naked eye.

Constant light is good for product photography and, though it can be used for models and portrait shots as well, the bright light can often be difficult on them.

Umbrella Diffuser

Umbrella diffusers don’t require much time for setup and offer many options when it comes to size and shape. A silver umbrella produces more contrast, whereas a white umbrella produces softer, more natural light.

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A softbox has a reflecting silver layer on its interior, which gathers the light before projecting it through a diffuser. This is a common way that photographers make use of available light. And, similar to the umbrella diffuser, it reduces harsh shadows and diffuses light, giving a softer feel.

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The  stripbox  is a long, rectangular softbox. It helps you achieve  less  shadows than its square soft box  counterpart,  while shedding light on a  particular  thin or long zone.

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Flash Light Shaper

A flash light shaper —or, flash bounce — allows you to bounce the light off of the ceiling of while also controlling its direction. In essence, it gives you the power to transform surfaces into diffused light sources. 

Colored Flash Diffuser

As you branch into the realm of flash photography, you’ll notice it offers a lot of opportunities for creativity and capturing the moment in unique or dynamic ways. In addition to creating fun effects like red, blue and green photos — colored flash diffusers can also be used to remove unwanted color casts from certain lighting situations. Try them in the studio — or try them at concerts and other events. The wild choice of added color is yours. 

Whatever type of diffused light is right for you, we hope your quest of experimentation is illuminating.

From all of us at Skylum, have fun!

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