Diffusing a Light Source to Make it Larger

Behind the scenes at portrait lighting workshops with Speedlight flash master David X. Tejada


The Portrait Workshop Series

If you're visiting for the first time, we're presenting here a dozen photos taken at portrait photography workshops by the noted commercial photographer and Nikon Creative Lighting System expert David X. Tejada.

To get the most from his tips, techniques and comments, be sure to take a few moments to check out our notes on flash, metering and the CLS before viewing the photos.

Room Service

The supersilk—David's oversize (60 inches wide, three yards in length) ripstop nylon diffuser—does more than diffuse light: it enlarges it.

"My job is often to make a relatively small light source larger," he says, and in this photo the supersilk, stretched over a doorframe, does the trick. The light source is an SB-5000, and it illuminates the entire supersilk from its position inside a room to the right of the model. The light from the Speedlight's 1x2-inch flash panel, with its diffuser in place, fired through the supersilk, effectively increases in size and coverage.

In this photo the blue background comes from the full CTB (Color Temperature Blue) gel on the SB-5000 behind the model, set a little above shoulder height. The slight haze/mist in the background comes from "a spray can of atmosphere—canned smoke."

To see more of David Tejada's photography, visit his website at

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