Pure Actions for Photographers

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Diffusion Panels--Saving the Day

Diffusion Panels--Saving the Day

When we set up sessions, there is one thing that Crystal and I are adamant about.  To get the "Pure Look" for portraits, we do evening sessions.  We like backlight and directional light to give our sessions clean, beautiful, directional light, usually with some hair light or rim light.  We are pretty firm about it.  But what about weddings?  With those, we just have to roll with the punches there.  In fact, more often than not, in Utah, our wedding couples are emerging from their temple wedding at about noon.  Oh no big deal.  Ha.  Just overhead, bright sun, no directional light, raccoon eyes, deep shadows, blown spots...Yeah.

What do we do?

Well for the majority of portraits--both the group pics and formal pics--we try to find areas of open shade first.  We still try to avoid deep shade, but we'll even do that, if we have to.  And that works often.  There is usually at least a little shade to give us the portraits we need.  But what about important location shots that are in full sun?  Our couples want image in front of the temple they have chosen to be married at, but often, those are in areas of full sun.  Or receptions are set up outside without thought to the placement of key items in good light.

Well, one handy little trick that can ensure you get some good shots is the diffusion panel.

What is a diffusion panel?  You can buy one separately if you want, or if you already have a 5-in-1 reflector, it is INSIDE the cover.  The 5-in-1 has a cover that has black and gold on one side of it, and if you turn it inside out, there is white and silver.  BUT inside of that, there is the frame and it has a translucent white material stretched over the collapsable frame.  THAT is the diffusion panel.  We have the Fotodiox 5-in-1 and love it.  You can get it here.

Image from  This is our diffuser.

What is the outcome of using the diffuser?  

Above was literally noon.  The sun was blaring down almost right overhead.  The wind was crazy.  It was cold.  But the couple was hoping for some shots that reflected the venue.  With the diffusion panel, we were able to get some with much better light.  Ha, one thing to note:  The diffusion panels will catch the wind like mad.  

Of course, you'll get REAL smiles from your clients!

Here's another example of the power of the diffuser.

Taken in the same spot, same light, moments apart.  The diffusion panel softened and diffused the light beautifully, allowing all of the color and detail of the reception decor to shine through, rather than the hotspots and deep shadows of the noon sun.

Consider adding a diffusion panel to your bag of tricks!



Comments (14)

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8 years ago
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Hi me! (I feel like I am talking to me, ha ha.)

The top photo with 3 images shows an in action image!

10 years ago

OK. You convinced me to use mine for often when I really have to shoot at midday. It's just that sometimes I found the couple really dark compare to the back. I will try again :-)

10 years ago

I use my reflector 5-in-one for reflecting, but I feel silly for never utilizing the diffusion panel like you did! Thanks for the informative post!

10 years ago

How do we place the diffuser? Could you show us some "in action" photos? Thank you :)

10 years ago


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