Photography Diffuser Reviews
Managing the light source in order to have the appropriate ambience of light on their photos is the ultimate dream of every photographer. This task is not a very simple one. However, with the presence of different types of light diffusers, namely indoor and outdoor diffusers, it is a very simple thing nowadays. A photographer has to shoot photos indoor and outdoor depending on what sort of photography they are doing.
In both of the scenarios, the procedure for managing the light varies. When it is regarding indoor photography there lies the option for several indoor photography diffusers like flash and umbrella. Similarly there is also the option for outdoor diffusers like reflectors. There are further classifications which I will be discussing as I move further in this blog.
We all like to make our work praiseworthy. Don’t we? So why not use the different types of diffusers available in the market and take it to the next level. Some people even call it light diffuser. It is very simple as a device but it works a great deal. The best thing is that its operation is very simple and is therefore very much user-friendly.
There are thousands of photography diffusers present in the world today. They are also meant for several different purposes like softening the harshness of the light, helping the light to diverge evenly instead of focusing on a single point, and reducing glare as well as harsh shadows. Furthermore, they eliminate issues regarding contrast, and helps in making the image even-toned resulting in the appearance of a better colour saturation.
However, this is not only limited to this much. There are more which are discussed in a detailed manner, somewhere later in this passage. All the variations may not turn out to be extremely useful to someone. All of them may not help a photographer to embrace success. But that does not mean that the specific model is not up to the mark. It means that the specific model is meant for some other functionalities. They may not fall under the same umbrella when considered their functionalities.
Importance of light in photography:
It is well known in the entire world that there is a key deciding factor that defines the quality of any image and that is none other than light.
How the photo will look after the photography is done depends on the lighting setup as well. The proper setup of lighting can be a very tedious task to do. However, if this bitter setup process can be done properly, then the fruit, the perfectly captured photo, is going to be extremely sweet. Furthermore, this process significantly simplifies the post-processing problems in the aftermath.
For lighting setup there are two very basic light sources available to set it up. They are the natural light and studio light. From these two different sources of light the former one is of a type over which the average human being does not have 100% control. This method is usually used when the photographer is on a budget. It is not extremely difficult to manipulate, and, for small in-house product shoots, it can save an average photographer, a lot of time, money and hassle.
On the contrary, the latter one is a bit costly method when compared to the other and can be done on anytime of the day using the different types of photography diffusers available in the market.
Types of diffusers available in the market:
- Flash diffusers
These are the ones that act as a simple light modifier, attached to the upper portion of an external flash unit of a camera. We all know that factors such as the intensity, harshness, and ambiance of light greatly affect the quality and the appearance of a photo.
These flash diffusers are often used to soften or spread the harsh, concentrated light that bursts out of the flash and create an even-toned and flattering light on the area of focus.
Types: Light, Cap, Softbox
- Softbox (Type of Flash Diffusers)
A softbox is one which diffuses the light into a highly desired pleasing soft, even-toned light. When properly used, an ideal softbox reduces harsh shadows. This feature of a softbox comes in handy for people who are very much sceptical regarding their choices. The amount of shadow softening dine by the softboxes are directly proportional to the distance from the subject. The closer the softbox is to the model or subject, the softer the light appears to be, emulating window light. The shape of a softbox can vary and occur in several polygonal forms, starting right from rectangular to octagonal to square even to a long strip of light.
It’s a secret that product, portrait and commercial photographers have long known, the benefits of using a softbox. Shadows are something which makes us understand the depth in the image. If that is not up to the mark then one can easily infer that the photograph taken does not represent the expertise of the photographer.
What is more interesting is that photographers can further control and customize the harshness of the shadow by simply manipulating their position i.e, how far or close the softbox is to the model or subject on which photography is being done. Here the distance is inversely proportional to how soft the light appears to be, emulating window light.
Smart Softbox, benefit of different shapes
That is not all. The shape of a softbox can also be taken into concern. There is a wide range of shape to select from, namely octagonal, square, triangular and round. Some are also available in the form of a long strip of light.
What is a softbox comprised of:
A softbox is comprised of a translucent(semi-transparent) cloth and attached to a light source (usually light sources used in a studio) on a light stand. The colour of the cloth has to be decided considering where the diffuser would be used, indoors or outdoors. If it is intended for use in indoor photography, then white or silver coloured cloth gives out the best results.
On the other hand, if the intended area of use is any outdoor place, then black is the perfect coloured cloth to wrap around the wire-framed box covered over the front with a diffusion panel. Additionally, the black exterior prevents light from spilling out and reflecting back.
This is an inexpensive and efficient solution that also provides the facility of portability. These umbrellas are known to be one of the simplest of its kinds. Their primary task is to soften the light and spread it over, and allow for off-camera lighting omitting the hard, harsh shadows which could have been formed.
To be precise, it assists the photographers in achieving a perfect, professional and premium quality images. The umbrella diffuses light to enable one to achieve softer lighting in your images. So instead of letting light directly focus on the subject and making the image not up to the mark, the umbrella disperses and bounces off the light in different directions.
- Diffuser Panel
- Indoor Diffuser Panel or board
A Light Diffuser scatters the harsh and tough directed light from the source to transmit and deliver a soft and sober light.
We all know that the discovery of LEDs has brought in a lot of control for the users. Following is a list of the excellent controls which LEDs have offered us:
- energy efficiency
- and superior light controls
- different colours of ambience
The orientations and the placement of the lights on the panel makes the proper ambience of the lights sort of a challenge. The point sources present in the LED chip boards make it quite challenging for general illuminations in the form of glare. Thus, the LED light diffuser panels use specially designed covers that are optimized to offer light diffusion properties. Another additional feature offered by these covers is that they serve the purpose of shielding the light source as well.
Even though most of the LED light diffusers serve the same purpose, they differ in the key materials that they are made of This may also be intentional at times. And, this is where their quality comes into the picture.
- Collapsible Diffuser
This diffuser softens the light simply without changing the color temperature. This also comes in a square design besides the round design for more reflective surface area than traditional reflectors. Some of its brands offer entire lifetime warranty with professional quality materials which are well known for its superior durability. Owing to all of the above stated features this turns out to be an essential tool for both studio and natural light photographers. Some specific brands also offer features which allow quick collapsing facilities for portability.
Some other types of photography diffusers which also exist are Honeycomb Diffuser and Colored Panels.
- Honeycomb Diffuser
- Colored Panels
There are several other options available as well. They are the large softboxes, beauty dishes, hot shoe flashes and most amazingly, the DIY diffuser.
Now a lot of comparisons can be made among the different variants available. They may seem to be the two peas in a pod but that is not exactly the case. There are some core differences between them.
Let’s consider softboxes and umbrellas. They both soften harsh light. But the differences between the two are that umbrellas produce diffused lighting from a broader perspective. This light is uncontrolled and uncontained. On the other hand, softboxes do the same task but offer direct lighting and that too in a controlled manner, which is much like sunlight coming in through a window.
They each have their very own functionalities. DIY flash diffusers can improve the aesthetics of a flash. Most interesting of all is that this process is not very much penny pinching at all. Moreover, Flash diffusers, collectively are quite inexpensive. If one is on a budget then this one of the best solutions. However, if their wallet still does not match their appetite for such diffusers, then the DIY flash diffusers can turn out to be the best option for them.
Pros and Cons of a DIY diffuser:
However, there are some drawbacks to the DIY model as well. They look pretty old school when there are many game-changer diffusers available in the market. At the same time, since they are made by hand and not in the factory using any special machinery, their longevity and durability is also a matter to be taken into concern. These hindrances act as a fly in the ointment making it not the perfect choice for the photographers.
Since something is better than nothing, then using a DIY flash diffuser will be a great option instead of using nothing at all, especially for photographers who cannot afford such diffusers but have a passion for photography. Also, it has got nothing to do with the brand. It follows the following principle.
The larger the surface area of the flash diffuser, the better the quality of light will be.
One factor to consider is the ease of mounting of the diffuser flash onto the camera and removing it off. If this is not smooth enough then the experience of using it during photography will not be a pleasing one.
Why should we use a flashlight diffuser:
A diffuser is usually fitted to the flash and then used during photography. They have their very own featured uses. Some specific reasons are there to use the diffuser in the flashlight. There is another option for photographers when it comes to lighting. That is constant lighting. They are, however, less popular than that of the flashlights.
When the question is regarding to studio photography, photographers often question whether to use a flashlight or constant light. Below is an explanation.
Flashlights, as its name suggests usually comes up and lights like a flash and then immediately disappear. This special function of such flashlights is used as a feature. Light from this source can be referred to as speed light which can be triggered onto the direction the photographer wants. Another benefit that can be achieved is that when such lights are used, photos are less sensitive to vibration and one gets the ability to freeze motion.
On the other hand, with constant light, the light is continuous. The name is pretty self-explanatory as well. The main idea behind this is that using constant light, 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 make the task quite difficult.
There are several different brands offering several different types of diffusers with a whole load of features. Yes, on a detailed study, some may exceed the others when compared to their features and functionalities, but that is when they are compared on the basis of some very special functionalities. However, on a broader scale, they all serve the same purpose and help photographers achieve what they need, which is ‘a perfect photo’.
To conclude, it is worth mentioning that photography diffusers have now been almost a necessity to the photographers of any type. Regardless of whether it is a product photography or modelling the importance of diffusers can not be ignored. They come in several different variants and offer several different functionalities. Thus they are a thing to be taken into consideration and make one’s photos of the best quality.
Some of the famous brands offering different types of exclusive photography diffusers are listed down below:
Besides, there are several other photography diffusers available which may also serve the purpose and offer similar features along with getting the work done.