For a photographer, the equipment at hand can make or break a shoot. Making sure you have the right lights and accessories for a particular product or headshot is key.
You can’t bring every single one of your lights on the road with you, so choosing what light modifier to bring can be a big decision. Regardless of the type of light source is being used for the shoot, using a light modifier can be really helpful in directing the light in the way we want it to go.
Different ones can affect your image differently. Here’s how:
When using an umbrella as a reflector, the light effectively bounces off of it and lights large areas of the shot. Because of the shape of the umbrella, the shadow has a much more feathered appearance.
However, if you are using a translucent umbrella, the shoot-through umbrella will act as a diffuser. Instead of focusing light, it scatters it allowing for much softer light and shadows.
Very often, if we have natural light then we don’t need big studio lights for a shot. This is where thespeedlite comes in. It is a great accessory for when you just need light as an accent piece on an image. You can place the speedlite as close or as far to the subject as you want, in order to change the portrayal of light.
A grid is used to keep the light focused in a specific direction. This modifier is perfect when you want hard-light on your product but want to keep the light from the background out. The grid keeps it intact. Grids come in various sizes - 10’’, 20’’, 30’’ - the lower the number the more focused the light, while the higher the number the more spread out the light will be.
4. Metal Reflector
Adding a reflector onto a light source produces a more concentrated light. Because of its shape, a reflector disperses light further away, highlighting the product more evenly. Reflectors tend to create a more harsh light, so play with the angles when working with this accessory.
Remember, it is better to have more equipment with you than less. So before you leave for that photoshoot, make sure to grab the right light modifier that suits you!