This study demonstrates that the absorption and scattering cross sections and asymmetry factor of randomly oriented and optically soft bispheres, quadspheres, and circular rings of spheres, with either monodisperse or polydisperse monomers, can be approximated by an equivalent coated sphere with identical volume and average projected area. This approximation could also apply to the angle-dependent scattering matrix elements for monomer size parameter less than 0.1. However, it quickly deteriorated with increasing monomer number and/or size parameter. It was shown to be superior to previously proposed approximations considering a volume equivalent homogeneous sphere and a coated sphere with identical volume and surface area. These results provide a rapid and accurate way of predicting the radiation characteristics of bispheres, quadspheres, and rings of spheres representative of various unicellular and multicellular cyanobacteria considered for producing food supplements, biofuels, and fertilizers. They could also be used in inverse methods for retrieving the monomers' optical properties, morphology, and/or concentration.