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Diffuser Q&A

Lesson 12 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

Diffuser Q&A

Lesson 12 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

12. Diffuser Q&A


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


Principles of Light


Speedlights vs Strobes


Compressing the Scene


Location Lenses and Lenshoods


Metering Modes and Back Button Focus


Natural Light Reflectors


Lesson Info

Diffuser Q&A

one of the questions I had from before stephen or sydney either one of you I'm gonna borrow all right so let's just take a look I already talked about oh steven can you help me bring this light out front a little bit becker I know when it hurts okay so one of the things I talked about is the closer that you bring it the more that it wraps around the face right okay one other thing is the question was about the power so in the very beginning of the first section's it was ok based on how far away the diffuser is does that affect the amount of light on the hair for example so around front for me I would actually pointed at her face okay so perfect here we go so even further back o cream miss thing around that one to extend it a little bit I'm gonna bring you out this way I just need an extension cord okay so it was going to say is so the closer you bring it to her the more that it wraps right okay if you want the light to be weaker you defuse further away from your subject because what it...

does is it cuts out the light and then the weaker light diffuses and spreads out versus when it's really really close it appears and is a little bit stronger because it hasn't diffused so it has it diffuses here so it has its full strength until here and then it just has a little bit of spread versus if I back up it diffuses all the way back there and then it has like it's like a little bit of water kind of spreads out so that was answered the question the beginning does the distance of the future diffusion uh diffuser make a difference to the power of the light okay so I just want to get to that because we asked it allright how about questions over there we definitely have questions robin a rowdy and a few other people were asking about what is the solution if you don't have to assistance to hold these modifiers on your shoot is there an option for using these outdoors without help yeah okay so first of all if you just want for example if I have her could you open this up without not going over uh and diffuse on yourself okay so she can defuse the light there then I can take a reflector underneath her chin and shoot like this like there are ways around it obviously and we would just live with what you know obviously it's going to be more complicated doing this but you can do it you could definitely get a stand for the umbrella just a regular umbrella bracket but because this thing is a like actually a gigantic sales you would need a sandbag and so you've got that route you could go ahead and put that on the stand like I've done it before where I've had to understand with my foot on the stand and then had them hold their reflector so like it's just more complicated but I definitely recruit friends boyfriends like off the subject that I'm photographing and I let them know that it's going to be a workout you have to put a little more effort into it and before you take one more question you can close that I the one point that I didn't know if I got a cross and I wanted to make sure I mentioned this is when you defuse the light sure it softens it but it doesn't change the direction so stephen would you hold this real quick if the sun is setting late in the day and you soften that light tree head towards me just a little if if you're shooting over here you softened it but it's not good direction of light we change the quality by softening it and the intensity by darkening it down but if my cameras here this side of her face is dark and she's got a shadow kind in her eye and in the bright highlight over there so you still like if you want the best quality of light I'd have to come around here face me this way okay now I have more frontal flat light if I want a little bit of rembrandt it's about right here where I turn her head so just keep that in mind because that's a way that I actually incorrectly used if users in the beginning I just assumed you soften it and it is a giant soft light source but still has a direction okay more questions absolutely one from kevin ether how do you decide to use a deflect er vs are a uh a diffuser versus a reflector not a deflector how do you deflect like how do you choose whether use diffuser or reflector when I use a diffuser its very very soft wrapping its very soft box like light where is when I use a reflector it has more contrast more pop I also have control over the direction of the light with the reflector whereas I don't have that same control with the diffuser so it's kind of what's important if I wanted to be crisp more contrast c I might do a reflector if I need the light to create a certain pattern on the face that it has to be reflected as well for middle of the day high noon sometimes the diffuser is also a little bit easier because it's there's no shade it's like well going to give them some shade you know and it gives them nice soft light for it's the middle of the day with a reflector it's a little bit harder great uh one of our users can a diffuser work is a reflector at all yes so this is something that I am really glad you have brought up so let's say you go ahead and you bring this it's it's really light but it is somewhat bulky right and you go on the location and you don't want to defuse the light like I just took this with me you know and use it it actually is a really good white reflector like white phil if you open it up opposite the sun I don't know I can't see what I'm doing this right now but it should fill in the shadow side of her face because the light bounces off of this so you could use this as a large white reflector so we have sydney can you look straight ahead and then you move the car ready network get that's um okay so we've got that can you see it at it and take it away you can actually see how it's filled in that's really cool fantastic adina c and then a few other people four votes on this one can she tell us what white balance she's shooting while under diffused material do shoot as though it were shade overcast something else that is a really really good question and I used to shoot as daylight um it's shade the reason usually warm it up when someone's in the shade the light on them is actually the light from the sky so sometimes it's cool or whether it's clouds or it's the blue from the sky where is in this case it's still sunlight so it's still warm so it's still daylight and maybe this means that we need a little bit more clarification the question was can I use shadows to defuse the light when you want to clarify that shadows are diffused light so okay uh I'm going to bring you in really quick so when and I don't know if I'm quite answering this yet so it's kind of like a half answer I think uh when I defused the light part of what softens it is you're actually softening and when you're softening head that right there you're softening the transition from the shadow to the highlight that area so when you soften with the diffuser you're not just softening the highlights your also softening the shadow because it spreads out that transition and when you have it really close not only is it a soft transition but it actually because this light source went from that small and far away to this big right next to her face the light actually search to fill in the shadows so it actually brings them up a little bit so defusing doesn't just affect highlights it also affects the shadows at the same time yeah I'm gonna walk back over there over on this side I am going to show you a couple pictures that show you what we're doing for diffuser when I use that diffuser it was the middle of the day it was high noon the problem with that is at high noon the sun is directly ahead so you're still going to have shadows in the ice so you usually have to have them look up or at a reflector but you can also use diffusers at other times a day like you can use it later in the day if the lights a little bit too harsh so I didn't want to make it seem like it had to be at one time of day are neutral density filters used as diffusers okay so a neutral density is we're going to use aa lot tomorrow on dh so if you own a neutral density and don't know why so now you will what it does is it's basically completely neutral filter it's neutral density filter that you put out of the front your lens and it darkens down everything that comes to this scene that's used for exposure control and I use it most if I'm trying to have maybe longer exposures for some reason or and for the case of tomorrow not exceed my sink speed so we'll talk about that force often the shadows doesn't do anything it just blocks out like it's sunglasses for your camera basically okay so here is just a summary of what we just talked about I want to show you so this is when the diffuser is really far away watch this highlight so it spreads out so now the highlight went from here to kind of halfway down the face so that's an example of the distance and that wasn't really even that severe here was the example where no catch or no hair light and then added the hair light in since this is a one a one class that's kind of as in depth as I wanted to go like two different reflector diffusers at once but in big commercial sets they build the huge and they call them silks in the movies they'll have huge diffusers gigantic overhead um and I didn't point to something on the other side but did you guys see the giant thing behind me out the big scream that was out there get community perfect kenya's point at it that's awesome um there is a big scream over there and it is on a stand and what's great about that is in the middle in the middle of the day if you have a group shot or you wanted to be casting in the distance I can raise that stand up but in the movies it's that times like fifty right gigantic but anyway so in the movies is they put the silk sought overhead they have them I have a writ selector from one side like they have all these different things going on the most I usually do for portrait is a diffuser plus a reflector or to reflectors and I seldom do that it's like I said most of time I to shoot the light that's there so you don't need to make it or really complicated okay so here's just a couple other examples I mean I've proven my point but this is the umbrella before and after okay here's when he pulls it away so see how the direction of light is still not ideal they're still shadows and her eyes are still shadows underneath her nose but when he brings it down it wraps more so while I say a diffuser doesn't change the direction of light kind of does because if before it was from straight above and then I brought the light out here now what kind of fills in underneath the eye so we kind of redirects it a little bit just not the overall feel like it's still from above but if you refuse it out get a little more fill in the eyes so that makes a big difference and that's what the height is here and so is the perfect example to if she's not using her hand she could totally hold this umbrella and then this is when I add reflector underneath I also noticed in the middle of the day like I've just said ok you take your umbrella you papa reflector underneath I've noticed that that could be a problem too because if you have your spear model or your subject holding the reflector underneath their chin they just hold however they want right you know however they feel it's right and the problem is since the sun straight ahead in about two straight down to that reflector and then the reflector bound to straight up you get the bright highlights underneath the chin so I had two very specifically angle this for her to tell her because when she held it one way her whole chan was like just glowing so just be careful of that as well and then same thing this was a sample before I want to show you how it was done we talked about this in the beginning where we brought the highlights in the shadows closer together so our cameras could capture it so it's just really nice light when do the things you want to watch out for is well is these diffusers they all have different stops in the video I talked about it there's fourth there's three quarter stops one stop one one half stuff what that means is if you take this material that's how much light it cuts out that's a cool thicket is um one thing to know is if you use a really thick diffuser like that umbrella is probably a stop and a half like it's it's really thick and only doesn't let much light in so when you pop this up over your subject's head not only just the lake it softer and it spreads out more but they could significantly darker which means if they're darker than their background you're going to have to open up a little bit which means if there's highlights in the background those will become even more annoying because it'll become even brighter so when you're using diffusers or trying to create shade on location you have to be even more mindful of your background so that's something here which like it was on the edges like I was watching trying to get the shadow side of that building and in the background instead of the highlight side of the building in behind her and here's just some other samples of images taken with diffusers middle of the day uh this one this is this is this wasn't eighteen wheeler one put the same idea I had a diffuser the scrim jim six foot over her head and then there was a silver car just to the right that the sun was bouncing off him so it's would give her a little bit of catch lights in your eyes this was a diffuser overhead and a white piece of foam core it was like what piece of posterboard underneath her chin there in this one notice how she's pointed her face is to the right because this soft box just like you have a soft box in the studio is to the right so if she looks the opposite direction she's walked looking away from her light source so I'm always working and looking with those kind of things

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Keynote 3
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This class was amazing. Lindsay Adler is a great presenter...I learned so much.....I love that she spoke about natural light..strobes and speedlites. Wonderful information. I purchased this and I am glad I did. Great job Lindsay. Jean


Lindsey Adler is one of the best and most engaging photography instructors in the USA. I highly recommend this lighting course. It felt more like a 101 and a 102 course than just a basic course. She teaches in a way that makes learning alot of fun and the amount of time & effort that she puts into her video and class presentations are second to none. Her classes are well worth their weight in gold and you will walk away with a wealth of knowledge!


Lindsay is amazing , I love the way she explains everything!! This course is filled with GREAT information and helps you better understand natural lighting,strobe and flash. Thank You Lindsay, please keep your classes coming!

Student Work