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We describe a method to characterize spatial or temporal changes in the optical properties of turbid media using diffuse reflectance images acquired under broad-beam illumination conditions. We performed experiments on liquid phantoms whose absorption ͑ a ͒ and reduced scattering ͑ s Ј͒ coefficients were representative of those of biological tissues in the near infrared. We found that the relative diffuse reflectance R depends on a and s Ј only through the ratio a ͞ s Ј and that dependence candoi:10.1364/ao.42.003063 pmid:12790458 fatcat:ue2iaglki5cmxd3p7unrph6464