Exercise: Softening the Light (TAoP)

Set up a still life arrangement, with any object or group of objects.  Fix a naked light more-ore-less overhead, pointing down.  Make two images, one using the naked light and one with light passing through a diffuser.  Look at the results and write down exactly what you see as the differences.  Determine if the diffuser made an improvement to the image as opposed to the naked light image.

Having recently bought a flash gun and a soft box diffuser i was well aware of what this exercise was trying to demonstrate.

A strong naked light often casts heavy shadows and objects can reflect the light. Objects can also appear too bright, and bleached out. By diffusing the light you should end up with softer shadows and less glare.

For this exercise I did not use by flash gun, and used a normal house lamp.

Still life shot using naked light (tungsten)


Firstly, please excuse the stain on my canvas! As you can see the shadow of the chopping board is very evident and heavy. There is also some light reflection bouncing off the tomatoes.

Shot diffused using white canvas:


As expected – when the light is diffused the shadow becomes much softer and gradual. The glare of light coming off the tomato is much more subtle and reduced.

In conclusion, I find that a diffused light produces a much more pleasing photo as shadows are softer and reflections are less obvious.


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