Sometimes the lighting in your environment is too strong, whether daylight or artificial, and you need to soften it slightly—that’s where diffusion comes into play. In the following examples, we’ll look at how diffusion can soften “direct” light.
Ashleen is using a collapsible diffuser (26” Flexfill) to block the sunlight from falling on Anne Marie (#1). The semi-translucent fabric prevents the sun from falling on the subject, which can be seen by the shadow cast on Anne Marie. If we look at a medium close-up of Anne Marie we can see that the sunlight is filtered on her face casting an even, pleasant illumination (#2). Using this method is great if you want a one to one lighting ratio outdoors by just shading the sunlight falling on your subject. This method usually requires a helpful assistant to hold the diffuser, although some folks use a light stand and a C clamp to good advantage.
Nikon D700, Nikkor 24–120mm lens, f/9, 1/250th, ISO 250, daylight balanced 5600K.