My 5 Favorite Light Modifiers as a Professional Photographer

As you possibly can see, lately, I’ve been doing an analysis of all of the gear I’ve within the studio. This time, I checked out a dozen or so gentle modifiers that I personal and chosen my high 5 favorites. Somewhat surprisingly, they’re removed from what “typical” light-shaping instruments are.

There are loads of light-shaping instruments I’ve and use within the studio. Should you’re searching for a breakdown of every device I’ve within the studio, a separate article is coming. On this one, nevertheless, I’ll speak you thru my favourite ones, those I actually wished, and those I take all over the place if I can. The costs vary from $3,000 to $10, and solely two out of 5 are made by Profoto. Are you able to consider it? I take advantage of modifiers that aren’t made by Profoto. Probably the most attentive and nasty commenters should be checking the identify on high now. For everybody else, let’s dive in.

Gel Filters

This can be probably the most great tool in my toolbox. Whereas I not often get it out for one thing the place I don’t have inventive management, I just about at all times use it for private initiatives. Shade is without doubt one of the foundations of my work, as my type is characterised by a dream-like, virtually theatrical setting. One of many issues generally present in theaters is colourful gentle. There’s virtually no likelihood some kind of colourful gentle will not be used in some unspecified time in the future. Live shows, performances, and exhibits are practically completely lit with vibrant and vibrant, colourful gentle. I favor lighting the background with varied colours in probably the most uncommon methods to realize what I need. It’s not unusual to see me lighting the topic with gels as properly. I take advantage of each Profoto and different gels. Some years in the past, I picked up the OCF I gels and located them to be extremely helpful, as they arrive in pre-cut shapes and present the f-stop loss because of every colour. For instance, a blue gel will lose round 4 stops of sunshine, whereas a yellow lower than one cease. Naturally, the Profoto gels are costly, particularly the OCF II model. For this reason I am going to the closest stage and sound store and choose up some heat-resistant gels from Rosco or Lee. They’re a little bit costly, however being heat-resistant means I can put them on a Professional-Head and never fear about them melting. OCF gels will soften as quickly as you activate the modeling lamp on a D1, D2, or any Professional-Head.  

Profoto ProFresnel Spot and Barndoors

I might be sincere: a yr in the past, I by no means thought I’d be buying this actual light-shaping device. Not till I noticed one on the market for next-to-nothing (by ProFresnel requirements, it was, I promise), proper round Christmas, and proper round fee for a job arriving. I splurged and acquired it. The rationale I did was that I knew all too properly how superb the sunshine from it’s. Being a Fresnel, it concentrates the beam like no different light-shaping device and throws that beam far-far away. The sunshine can journey ridiculously lengthy distances, that means that it’s a nice on-location device. I can save battery life by utilizing a Fresnel. It weighs 9 kg, and it’s a nightmare to hold, however I nonetheless take it on location. Within the studio, that is the sunshine modifier I take advantage of together with mylar foil, mirrors, magnifying glasses, and as a key gentle. As a result of the beam is so sturdy and optically concentrated, it’s straightforward to regulate it to create eye-catching reflections, shapes, and patterns. Under, you possibly can see how I used a Fresnel behind the mannequin as a rim gentle after which mirrored the beam to make use of as a key. 

Profoto 3’ Octa

This can be a modifier that you must personal. Whereas I’m not an enormous fan of softboxes, I do use this extra usually than I assumed I’d. Whereas not a fan of ultra-soft gentle, and as somebody who not often will get a big octa out, I do fairly just like the smooth however crispy gentle {that a} 3’ offers. Used on the proper distance, it combines subtle but additionally arduous qualities of sunshine. This softbox is primarily used with a grid, as I like to regulate the spill of my gentle. I’ve used it for quite a lot of functions, from kicker to key and every little thing in between. The softbox is sweet with the baffles, however for those who take them out, you additionally get a fairly fascinating consequence. What you get is a comparatively arduous gentle that’s fairly crisp, good for creating magnificence photographs, in addition to trend work. It does present all element within the face, which will be fairly unflattering. Nonetheless, you need to attempt taking each baffles out of your softboxes and taking pictures bare-bulb, equivalent to within the picture beneath. One other concept is to take the outer out and depart solely the internal.

Mirror for $10

Purchased initially to construct units, it’s now used to replicate spots of sunshine on the mannequin. It’s virtually like an optical snoot, within the sense that it displays a really arduous and direct gentle. For instance, the sq. you see within the image beneath was created utilizing a mirror. In essence, it’s like an additional gentle supply for no cash. Whereas reflectors are cool they usually certain are capable of present “an additional gentle supply,” they aren’t a alternative for a superb mirror. It may be used for reflecting daylight as properly, which makes it a really helpful factor to have round your studio. The truth is, there are loads of mirrors that I take advantage of within the studio, typically, even a number of on the similar time. It’s maybe some of the enjoyable issues I do lighting-wise. Costing subsequent to nothing, it has enabled me to create photographs that appear and feel costly. 

Godox Para 128

A go-to for something magnificence, this true parabolic softbox by Godox is an effective companion of mine. I’ve used it each for commercials and for inventive assignments. It’s fairly a flexible gentle modifier, with good throw and lightweight high quality. One factor concerning the para that stands out is the power to provide crispy however smooth gentle. By that, I imply merely that whereas it produces a light-weight that exhibits good element, it does it in a really flattering approach. It’s a sensible key in addition to a fill gentle. There’s a purpose so many photographers choose a para over the rest. It’s an costly however worthy of funding modifier.

Closing Ideas

As you may have understood, something generally is a gentle modifier, so long as it interacts with gentle. It may be any floor, any object, or something that achieves your aim. Not too long ago, I started to experiment with crystals, bottles, and different objects that modify the visible outlook of the picture. There isn’t any judgment of 1 being a “gentle modifier.” There’s merely curiosity and an open thoughts that is able to attempt something that appears cool. I strongly encourage you to look exterior the softbox or not less than experiment with the quantity of diffusion within the softbox.