Diffused light photography camera settings

Diffused lighting is best for most types of photography, but how do you diffuse light and adjust your camera settings to match?

Diffused light minimises hard shadows and makes a photo more appealing. You can soften light with objects like a window between the sun and your subject or a shade over a bright lamp.

How to diffuse light

Softboxes standard in photo studios help diffuse light. But you don’t need special equipment to soften the light. Placing your subject with a window to their side lets natural light fall softly and reduces shadows. You can also use a sheer curtain or lampshade to reduce harsh lines.

For outdoor photography, avoiding midday sun is a common photographer tip. Try to shoot during ‘golden hour’ to avoid the intense overhead sun. Golden hour when the sun is rising or setting is ideal. But if you have to shoot with harsh sunlight, using a white sheet or the shadow of another person will help.

But even with the right tricks to use diffuse light, using the right camera settings are important for getting the perfect shot.

Camera settings for diffused light shots

Start with these camera settings and adjust as needed, especially if you’re shooting outdoors.

Shutter speed

Start with a shutter speed of 1/125. This fast shutter speed will help you capture sharp photos. Every lens is different, so make adjustments as needed.


With a lot of light shining on your subject, keep your ISO as low as you can. Between 100-200 is a good place to start. If your ISO is too high, your images will look grainy.

White balance

Adjust your white balance in-camera to cloudy or shade. You can also do a custom white balance or adjust the white balance when editing your shots.

Use photo editing software

Diffused lighting is preferred when you want to avoid harsh shadows. But when the light is filtered, colours can lose their vibrancy. You can add colour back using photo editing software programs like Lightroom and Photoshop and adjust your white balance if you forgot to during your shoot.

Get more photo tips for photographers and learn how to create the best diffused light photos with Lightroom and Photoshop.