What Do Light Diffusers Do: Different Types

What Do Light Diffusers Do

Even though the flash on a camera can be a useful device when taking photographs in suspicious light conditions, it also has its own disadvantages. Some examples include that can make the subject too light, create shadows you do not need on a photograph or sometimes mess with the background.

These common problems can be mitigated by using a light diffuser. While we have created this article to answer the question, what do light diffusers do, we will also look at instances when you need to use them and also how to use them.

Light Diffusers in General Use

Light diffusers are manufactured in different sizes and shapes but all of them are designed to have an impact on illumination. A diffuser can be described as a medium that can be used to scatter light. Commonly, light diffusers are panels which are either frosted or translucent.

The aim of putting these panels on the path of the light is to soften the lighting and minimize the softness of the shadows. Diffusers can also be introduced adjacent to the light source in order to reduce glare by scattering light around.

Light Diffusers in Photography

In photography, the light thatmostly needs to be diffused is that which is produced by the flash. Photographers often talk about the flash diffuser. While the flash can be useful when you are taking photographs in areas where light is not enough, it can also be the difference between a photograph where you cannot make out the details of the photograph and the one that is overexposed.

Instead of doing away with the flash altogether due to the fear of overexposing your photographs, you can always deploy a light diffuser. The good news is that you do not really need a sophisticated diffuser to radically change the way light illuminates on the environment and subject that you want to take a photograph of.  A simple light diffuser will do the job.

When you look at a photograph taken without the use a lot of a light diffuser and one taken by a photographer who deploys a flash diffuser, you will see that the former is a better quality.

In such pictographs, people look younger and the subjects look better. The reason why people look younger on photography where a flash diffuser is used is that the diffuser distributes the light so that wrinkles do no not get too pronounced.

When photographs of people who are light skinned are taken without the use of a flash diffuser, the people often appear washed out. A light diffuser minimizes this problem. On the other hand, light diffusers assist in separating dark skinned subjects from the background.

Different Types of Light Diffusers

There are different types of light diffusers that include silicon spheres, pop-up contractions, and stick on cards. Even though these light diffusers may be different the aim of using them is the same: to spread light to create a photograph that does not have some areas that are overexposed and others underexposed.

Bounce Flash Diffusers

Photographers use the bounce light diffuser in order to minimize hot spots on a photograph. By hot spot, we are referring to those areas such as the tip of the nose that receive too much light from the flash and ends up standing out in a photograph.

Bouncing also minimizes the harsh shadows which result when the light is aimed directly at the object that is being photographed. The technique also helps eliminate the problem of red eye because the light which is coming from the subject to the lens axis is coming from a long way.

Bounce diffusers are the simplest and most common type of light diffusers used in photography. When using this method, some or all of the light from the flash is bounced off a large white card which can either be attached to the camera or a light colored surface placed near the subject.

When using this method, your flash is always aimed directly at the white surface such as the ceiling of a room so that light is spread out evenly.

Bounce light diffusers are only effective when there is a large and lightly colored surface near the subject being photographed. If there is no bright surface where you can diffuse the light, then this method becomes less effective if not totally useless.

If the bright surface such as the ceiling is too far to be effective, then you will have to attach the light diffuser to the flash body itself. Even though this type of flash diffuser works well when used with external cameras, they do not work so well when used with on-camera flashes.

Flash Soft Boxes

The flash Softbox gives the photographer ability to minimize harsh lighting that could come from such sources as candles and lamps. Photographs taken using this type of diffuser have soft shadows and the light is controlled.

Soft boxes can come small and attached to the flash using a hook and loop. They can also come in bigger sizes that can be attached to the camera’s speedlight so that the resulting lighting is studio like.

Studio Umbrella

Another common light diffusion technique is the studio umbrella. The curved surface of the umbrella minimizes any shadows that may have resulted from direct light. When you use a single umbrella, you can minimize shadows. However, when you use a number of umbrellas, it is possible to eliminate every single shadow in an image.

As can be seen from this article, light is an important part of photography. As a photographer, you can control it by using a light diffuser to spread it so that the photograph does not have areas that attract more attention than others due to the amount of light concentrated on them.

Let’s conclude by answering our initial question, what do light diffusers do? They reduce the glare of light by making it soft so that it has neither the glare nor intensity that it has when used directly. They scatter it so that it comes from different directions.