Side-by-side Comparisons of Basic Studio Light Modifiers 1

Have you ever ever questioned what distinction studio gentle modifiers make to your portraits?

Are you even satisfied that they make a distinction within the high quality of sunshine? I assumed I’d do some experiment to point out you the consequences that a couple of primary studio gentle modifiers can have in your portraits.

For some, the correct modifier could make a picture nice, and the incorrect modifier may break it.

Technical phrases

Firstly, if you’re new to synthetic lighting, let’s have a look at some technical phrases.

Flash – an digital synthetic gentle supply which supplies out a short, sudden burst of sunshine. A flash is also referred to as a strobe in North America.

Reflector – a panel that bounces gentle again in the direction of the supply and is available in silver, gold, black, white, cloth or different materials.

Gentle modifier – an object hooked up to the entrance of the flash to vary the standard and impact of sunshine getting into the digital camera.

Shoot – by Umbrella – an umbrella fabricated from translucent cloth that permits gentle to go by it.

Diffusion – a cloth that scatters gentle evenly because it passes by, thereby making the sunshine softer and with much less glare and harshness.

Softbox – a closed chamber normally lined in white or silver cloth, obtainable in numerous shapes (equivalent to a sq., rectangle, umbrella, octagon). A softbox confines the sunshine from the flash and releases it by a diffusion materials, thereby permitting extra management as to the dimensions and unfold of sunshine that reaches your topic.

Grid – normally made out of cloth strips of fabric which are sewn collectively to kind a 3D grid that’s hooked up to the sunshine modifier. A grid restricts the main target of sunshine, making it extra directional, permitting the photographer extra management. It additionally limits or restricts the spill of sunshine onto different areas.

The studio gentle modifiers used on this article

Let’s begin with the lighting diagram as proven beneath. My set-up consisted of two lights and the next:

Side-by-side Comparisons of Basic Studio Light Modifiers 2

Side-by-side Comparisons of Basic Studio Light Modifiers 2

  • a darkish wall
  • a big silver panel reflector on digital camera left
  • a flash excessive up on the digital camera left to provide a little bit of hair gentle – I wasn’t after an enormous separation from the background as I used to be utilizing a lightweight coloured couch that separates the background and the topic already. I additionally wished a fairly darkish, moody lighting, so I lined the flash with a couple of layers of diffuser cloth. Doing this reduce gentle out and restricted it to the topic fairly than hitting the wall
  • a flash on digital camera proper onto which I hooked up numerous modifiers
  • studio gentle modifiers: flash hood, translucent umbrella, umbrella softbox, 90 x 60 softbox, diffuser cloth, grid

You can too shoot with one gentle, in fact, see right here for a newbie’s tutorial on how one can create dramatic portraits with one gentle.

Side-by-side Comparisons of Basic Studio Light Modifiers 3Side-by-side Comparisons of Basic Studio Light Modifiers 3

Left: #1 Shoot-through umbrella going through away. Proper: #2 Shoot-through umbrella going through towards.

#1 Shoot-through umbrella going through away from topic

For the above-left picture, I used an umbrella as a shoot by with the flash going through away from the topic. You’ll be able to see there may be nonetheless gentle hitting the topic’s face, however the shadows on the left aspect of the face and the neck are much more pronounced and harsh. The sunshine was not in a position to attain the reflector to the left of the topic in any respect.

#2 Shoot-through umbrella going through towards topic

Examine this with the picture on the correct. I turned the flash and umbrella 180 levels in order that the flash was going through the topic and shot from behind the umbrella. The shadows are a lot softer, extra gentle has reached the topic, and you can too see the sunshine hitting the couch on the far left which implies the reflector was doing its job of bouncing some gentle again.

Side-by-side Comparisons of Basic Studio Light Modifiers 4Side-by-side Comparisons of Basic Studio Light Modifiers 4

Left: #Three Naked flash with hood. Proper: #four Umbrella softbox

#Three Naked flash with hood

For the above-left picture, I shot utilizing simply the digital flash and the hood that comes with it. As it’s fairly small, it restricts the unfold of sunshine slightly and focuses it extra on the realm you might be lighting.

The sunshine spills solely as the sunshine leaves the hood. Shadows on the face listed below are nonetheless outlined, and never as easy as I’d prefer it, however it’s a lot better than on #1, the place the shadows are a lot darker and harsher.

#four Umbrella softbox

Within the above-right picture, I used a deep umbrella softbox permitting me to face each the flash and umbrella away from my topic. The umbrella is silver-lined which bounces all the sunshine again in the direction of the topic by a diffuser cloth. The ensuing gentle high quality is softer and extra evenly unfold as a consequence of bouncing and diffusion.

Examine this to picture #2 that used solely the shoot-through umbrella with out the bounce. Discover how the sunshine high quality is gentler on the pores and skin and extra evenly unfold, with softer shadows on the neck and underneath the nostril.

Side-by-side Comparisons of Basic Studio Light Modifiers 5Side-by-side Comparisons of Basic Studio Light Modifiers 5

Left: #5 Softbox With out the Diffusion Panel. Proper: #6 Softbox with diffusion panel.

#5 Softbox with out the diffusion panel

I switched to a 90 x 60 rectangular softbox for the pictures above. The one on the left is an instance with out the diffusion panel that covers the softbox. Taking pictures your topic with out the diffusion panel is like taking pictures with a hood, as per instance #3 (the hood additionally has a silver lining), solely the softbox is bigger.

The sunshine is flashed away from the topic onto the silver lining of the softbox and bounced from the silver lining in the direction of the topic with out having to undergo a diffusion panel.

#6 Softbox with diffusion panel

Evaluating each pictures above, do you discover the softer high quality of the sunshine on the topic’s face on the picture with the diffusion ‘on’? It’s a refined distinction, however I can see it. Look even nearer and also you see the sunshine with out the diffusion is cooler and barely harsher. It comes immediately from the silver lining of the softbox not having gone by any diffusion.

This distinction is noticeable on the couch; the one on the left is a contact sharper and the one on the correct darker and even. Examine the topic’s left eye (on digital camera proper) – the shadow on the left picture is stronger and deeper than the one on the correct.

Such is the modifying impact of even only one diffuser cloth!

Side-by-side Comparisons of Basic Studio Light Modifiers 6Side-by-side Comparisons of Basic Studio Light Modifiers 6

Left: #7 Softbox with the grid. Proper: #eight Gridded softbox with the ability adjusted.

#7 Softbox with grid

I hooked up a grid to the sunshine set-up above in order that it’s a silver-lined softbox with a diffusion panel plus a grid hooked up on the entrance of the diffusion panel. This setup is named a gridded softbox.

Discover simply how a lot of the sunshine has been reduce out. Gentle will get targeted on the face, and there are only a few spills of sunshine on the garments, arms and outer areas of the area photographed.

The ensuing picture is quite a bit darker, moodier, and hotter in tone. Nevertheless, I really feel that is too underexposed, and particulars on the costume get misplaced, after I wished these to point out. The inexperienced wall appeared too black, and the costume appeared to mix an excessive amount of into it.

#eight Gridded softbox with energy adjusted

On the above-right picture, I stored the gridded softbox on and adjusted the flash energy to my liking so as convey again the small print I wished. This new flash setting illuminated the face extra and introduced highlights again onto the hair and eyes. It additionally allowed a contact of sunshine on the background too.

Lastly, the tip product I had in my thoughts used a textured background, so I added this texture to my darkish inexperienced wall in Photoshop. For a step-by-step information on how one can add textures and artistic overlays, see this submit. For my part, the refined texture provides extra drama to the picture and suits in higher with the darkish and moody lighting I used to be after.

Side-by-side Comparisons of Basic Studio Light Modifiers 7

Side-by-side Comparisons of Basic Studio Light Modifiers 7

Did you discover this side-by-side comparability on gentle modifiers useful? Please let me know and in addition share your studio lighting experiments within the feedback beneath.


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