Top 10: Photography Light Modifiers For Creative Portraits

in Photography + Gear


When you begin to study and learn about how to control the light, you might wonder how much light reaches to your subject and where you want the light to fall. You’re certain to encounter lots of phrases and puzzling range of equipment you’re not really acquainted with. In this article, we’ve put together some of the most popular equipment and lighting modifiers that most photography professionals and enthusiasts today make use of to control the light coming from a hot-shoe flash or perhaps the studio light.

01. Softbox

16-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraitsA softbox is actually a rectangular device that has a translucent material lining the opening. It generates soft even lighting that is sometimes used to soften blemishes in portraits. The more gap there is between the light and the diffusion surface, the less obvious and a lot more softer the effect. These functions make the softbox extremely versatile in controlling light and shadows on reflective surfaces.

02. Barn Doors

17-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraitsIt’s made of four adjustable metal flaps arranged inside of a square and attached to a mount which fits to your strobe light. Each of these flaps can be moved so the light from the flash can be shaped or shielded from a particular direction. This is usually used to prevent light from spilling or to block the light from hitting the lens.

03. Snoot

18-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraitsA snoot is a tube like material that is placed or attached on the flash head. The tube restricts the light right into a narrow beam. This isolates the light right into a specific area. In case you’re wondering, using a grid has a more pronounced effect of restricting light compared to a snoot.

04. Grid

19-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraitsA grid attaches to your light source and places a grid-like or honeycomb structure in front of it. The grid forces the light to travel inside of a straight direction as it passes through it. A grid is normally used as an accessory to the snoot. It’s essentially a type of honeycomb filter that further tightens and softens the light circle.

05. Umbrellas

20-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraitsThe umbrella’s unique benefit is portability and mobility. It is possible to bring many umbrellas on an outdoor shoot without having difficulty. When opened, they create beautiful soft light, by converting your light (speedlight or simply a much stronger monolight with battery pack) to a much bigger light source. The two main basic kinds of umbrellas used to diffuse light.

  1. Shoot-through Umbrella
  2. The umbrella is placed between the flash and your subject. It’s known as a shoot-through because light is diffused as it passes through the umbrella’s translucent material.

  3. Reflective Umbrella
  4. With this type, the flash is targeted away from your subject and towards the umbrella. The diffusion comes about when the light bounces on the umbrella towards your subject.

06. Gobo

21-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraitsGobo basically means “goes before optics” that is now used to refer to either a flag or cookie.

  1. Cookie
  2. A cookie can be anything that is positioned between your flash and your subject. Shadow patterns are produced from the light passing through the cookie as well as the subject. The most typical use of cookies is usually to create captivating light and shadow patterns for making the backdrop of a portrait more lively.

  3. Flags
  4. Flags are widely used to block light from hitting a particular portion of your subject. These are generally rectangular in form and opaque. Almost anything can be use as a flag including illustration boards provided that light can’t go through it.

07. Gels

22-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraitsGels are colorful plastic type light modifiers that properly alter the color of the light originating from your flash. The most typical gels are the orange ones that simulate tungsten lighting, as well as green ones that replicate fluorescent lights. Gels are rated based on what specified Kelvin temperature the light is going to be changed to.

08. Reflectors

23-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraitsReflectors are different in size based on the volume of light required as well as the height and width of your subject. A reflector takes light that will usually spill out to the sides and redirects it forward to the subject. Without the use of a reflector a large quantity of usable light could be wasted. The color of the reflector will show up from the light reflected into the subject.

  • Gold – produce warm tones
  • White – creates neutral color effect
  • Blue – show cool tones
  • Silver – creates neutral tones but brighter than white

15 Dramatic Portraits in Controlled Lighting

Here are 15 creative portraits via Flickr captured with the use of these light modifiers and shaping tools.

01-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraits01. Through The Looking Glass II By doctorfaust23

02-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraits02. Pro Photographer At Work By Shayne Gray

03-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraits03. Alyssa By vahnilah

04-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraits04. Angry Man – After By Shineylewis

05-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraits05. Watermelon Smash By Alan Tom

06-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraits06. Kate (3) SOOC By Mattoz22 (matthewosbornephotography)

07-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraits07. Monster By ClaudioAversa

08-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraits08. God Of Gamblers By rage_krisnha

09-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraits09. Framed By PeteTsai

10-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraits10. Royrat By nicolasbphoto

11-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraits11. L’ami des enfants By /xavier

12-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraits12. Getting Out (An Urban Escape Attempt) By Andrew Kufahl

13-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraits13. Sunset At The Beach By path*doc

14-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraits14. The End Of Creativity By Studio d’Xavier

15-top-10-photography-light-modifiers-for-creative-portraits15. The Aqua Bunch By aquaphotoboy

Further Readings On Photography Tips

1. Simplified Helpful Photography Guide With Photo Cheat Sheet
2. Wedding Photography Service: What Camera Lens To Use?
3. 6 Photography Techniques To Reduce Camera Shake Without A Tripod
4. Top 10: Tips For Better Baby Christening Photography


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