Before and After Diffusion


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The weather was hot and sunny the day we visited Whitehouse Perennials, so I used a diffusion filter to soften the harsh sunlight and shadows. This first image was taken without a diffuser and has a lot contrast as a result. The colour is beautiful and I like the more uniform darker background. In the end I was glad to have this image because it helped to process the softer diffused images.




The second image was taken at f5.6 and I used a diffuser to filter harsh afternoon sun. The result was a much softer image with much less contrast. I had to increase my blacks substantially to get the rich colour back. I noticed that even though I was on my tripod, there was still movement of the camera. The details of the flower and especially the stamen are less sharply focused. Also with a lighter background, the stem on the left side of the image became an unwelcome distraction.




This last image is what I consider my finished image. This was taken at f8 which has more of the details of the flower in focus and the background is still nicely blurred. My composition has 2 problems, the stem on the right side and the buds in the bottom right corner. I should have moved these out of my frame while shooting but in my defence, I had my hands full holding the diffuser and taking the shot. So I cropped and cloned out my problem areas and this is the result.




The diffused images should be better but I’m conflicted here. My husband likes the first image without a diffuser best. What do you think? Click on the images to enlarge for better viewing and comparison. πŸ™‚


34 thoughts on “Before and After Diffusion

  1. I actually like the third one best. Although the light spot in the right top corner is a little distracting. I’d probably see if I could brighten the center of your flower and voila ! I hadn’t heard of a diffusion filter before. Interesting….

  2. I have to say that I agree with your husband. I like the original image best – maybe you could clone out the buds in the right foreground, but overall I love the sharpness of the flower and the bokeh. Lovely lilies πŸ™‚
    Jude xx

    1. I like that composition best too, but I had trouble cloning out those buds which was why I cropped. Sometimes you just wish you had got it right when shooting. Oh well thanks for the feedback even if you agree with my husband. πŸ™‚

  3. I think each has its advantages and disadvantages. Depending on what you are hoping to show or to see the chosen method can enhance or detract. With the contrasting light the shape of the flower is better revealed. With the diffuser one could say the picture is flattened out concealing the sculptural shape. Yet at the same time the details that would have been lost in the contrasting lighting are now revealed. Nice images !

  4. This is a very hard shot to take and having been in the same position, I’d say get a remote cable release (if you haven’t already got one), turn your image stabiliser off when you’ve got the camera on a tripod (if you haven’t done that already) and you’ll get a much steadier tripod shot. And of course, you really need a windless day or a very, very fast shutter speed for flower photography outdoors.

    I like the third image the best on this occasion, but think you might have done better to get all 3 blooms in the frame on this particular cluster of day lilies. I used to spend ages looking for just the right flower which I could isolate from the background when doing flower photography and I quite literally made thousands and thousand of photos trying to score a balanced composition. Sometimes a diffused image can get a little ‘flat’ so increasing your contrast gives a little more depth. I like the first natural shot’s depth (within the flower) which I suspect is what your husband likes too.

    Flower photography is not as easy as people think. I still think it’s hard to photograph flowers on a very sunny day. I try and choose flowers later in the day, in a slightly overcast sky or put a light umbrella over the flower so that you get an artificial shade……… even standing with the sun directly behind me so that my body created some shade can work out ok.

    I really admire photographers who are successful in bright sunlight.

  5. Beth, that is a hard one. i do love the 1st image, the color is a beautiful hot orange, but the diffused picture is lovely… I cannot pick. I love them both !

  6. ps; I like the first shot also , all natural with a kewl depth of field settin and the right amount of dark an light , is way kewl πŸ™‚ so i agree with hubby! yep yep.. πŸ™‚

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