Drying coatings undergo internal dynamic densification and rearrangement, which are challenging to discern with optical techniques due to their multiple scatterings of light. Experiments such as diffusing wave spectroscopy (DWS) and laser speckle imaging (LSI) leverage these multiple scatterings to reveal the in situ dynamics of the coating. In such experiments, the knowledge of the sample volume that can be accessed and therefore studied is fundamental, especially in cases of micrometer-scale coating thicknesses. In this paper, we present a robust and reliable method using transmission geometry to calculate the parameter 𝑙∗, defined as the transport light mean-free path, which is strongly related to the volume of the sample that light explores in DWS and LSI experiments. We show how this dynamic parameter can be measured for liquid and solid film samples and, crucially, in the case of time-evolving samples, such as drying coatings of paint or ink, which has not been previously explored. We present a series of model ink samples and discuss the evolution of their densification during drying through quantification of dynamic 𝑙∗.