Diffuser or Flash

Started 4 months ago | Questions thread
Teila Day
Teila Day Veteran Member • Posts: 5,454
Diffused or not (your choice) .. pics

What looks better will depend on who you ask, when you're asking, and what's being photographed. It's an aesthetic / personal opinion type of thing. You don't HAVE to diffuse your studio strobe or any other kind of flash if you don't want to. It's all about what you like.

Forget those cheap diffusers. As people have mentioned, all that gimmicky crep that people sell is just that... total crep.

Below is a near 20 year old Nikon SB800 flash (speed light) with a built in diffuser - you pull it out and down over the flash head. It also has a diffuser cap that one may put on as well. They work fine. I would pull the diffuser plate down over the flash head, and found that if I wanted less of a flashy look, and I have enough ambient light - I just lessen the power and that's that. I don't even bother with TTL / ETTL, etc...

I just manually adjust the power of the flash to my liking based on the prevailing ambient light and shoot. If I want a more flat/diffused light, I just bounce it off a ceiling, wall, or whatever else I can use.

Basically, you just need a decent flash or studio strobe and that's all.. and decent software to process your files to your liking. Buy pre-made "actions" for your favorite software (lightroom, photoshop, capture one, etc..) and that'll save you time as well.


Nikon SB800 sitting next to a diffuser dome that came with the flash. The flash also has a built-in pull down diffuser panel that is useful. When you don't need it, you just lift it up and slide it out of the way. In this pic., the diffuser panel and bounce card are hidden in a slot at the top edge of the flash.

This is the diffuser panel pulled out and down over the flash, whereby scattering the light from the flash to give a more even less pronounced hard light. A somewhat "softer" light if you will.

This is the flash with the diffuser dome affixed to the flash head. It just snaps on. It further diffuses the light, and the SB800 is easily powerful enough to get a nice dose of diffused light onto your subject, especially if you're photographing kids playing in your living room, or a grandchild sitting in a high chair, and you just want a quick photograph with nice diffused light with or without ambient (simply means "other" than that from your flash... can be natural or artificial) light in the room.

Get at least one powerful flash, for taking candid shots, etc.. once you get used to using flash, you'll see that using just the bare flash is often easy enough to get what you want just by turning the power down for a smooth light across the subject mixed with ambient light. You'll have to experiment to get the experience.


The differences between the examples can be more mild or far more stark, depending on many variables.. such as distance between the light and subject... size of the light, whether the light has a grid on it, etc...

I hope that helps some

Best of luck and best in photography to all of you!

Teila K. Day

Post (hide subjects) Posted by
(unknown member)
(unknown member)
(unknown member)
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow