Using Light Diffusers in Your Photography
Studio diffusers allow you to create softer light effects in your photo shoots. You can reduce the glare of your light source and generate fewer shadows, enabling you to capture fine details and color. Although there are many types of diffusers, they all work by scattering light and sending it in different directions.
When to Use Diffusers
Studio diffusers are especially useful when shooting portraits because the human face creates a multitude of shadows, and undiffused light can make these shadows too harsh. Light diffusion brings fine details into crisp, clear focus in macro photography, where capturing the small details is essential. Light diffusion can help improve the quality of almost any photograph, and is just as important in film production, for the same reasons.
Types of Diffusers
You can either place diffusers on your camera flash or on external lighting systems. There are many different types of light diffuser materials, including plastic, acrylic, fabric, and diffusion gels.
Plastic light diffuser sheets, such as heat-stable polyester varieties, can withstand high light temperatures.
Acrylic is resistant to breaking, easy to cut to size, and great for taming harsh fluorescent lights.
Diffusion fabrics are either silk or grid cloths. Grid cloths allow for a more focused beam, while silk diffuses light over a broader area and creates more ambient lighting effects.
Translucent gels come in a variety of colors, and most people use them to create ambient lighting for photo shoots and video.
Light diffuser panels are easy to set up and place in your studio, and they work exceptionally well when diffusing the light from bright LED bulbs.
Working With Flash Diffusers
Flash diffusers attach directly to the flash unit of your camera. With these, you can diffuse your light without using external light sources. Flash diffusers work perfectly with speedlights, and allow you to distribute your lighting without setting up numerous lighting systems. This makes flash diffusers ideal for photographers who want to create shadow-free lighting in a rush.
If you're interested in exploring different options for light studio diffusers and other light modifiers, check out B&H Photo and Video for all of the various options.