We present a novel method to estimate an approximation of the reflectance characteristics of optically thick, homogeneous translucent materials using only a single photograph as input. First, we approximate the diffusion profile as a linear combination of piecewise constant functions, an approach that enables a linear system minimization and maximizes robustness in the presence of suboptimal input data inferred from the image. We then fit to a smoother monotonically decreasing model, ensuring continuity on its first derivative. We show the feasibility of our approach and validate it in controlled environments, comparing well against physical measurements from previous works. Next, we explore the performance of our method in uncontrolled scenarios, where neither lighting nor geometry are known. We show that these can be roughly approximated from the corresponding image by making two simple assumptions: that the object is lit by a distant light source and that it is globally convex, allowing us to capture the visual appearance of the photographed material. Compared with previous works, our technique offers an attractive balance between visual accuracy and ease of use, allowing its use in a wide range of scenarios including off-the-shelf, single images, thus extending the current repertoire of real-world data acquisition techniques.