The Confusion Behind Modern Light Modifiers for Strobists

ISO 400, 1/100th f2.8

ISO 400, 1/100th f2.8

What do you get when you cross an umbrella, a parabolic umbrella, a softbox, a beauty dish, and an octabank together? You get pretty much every well marketed light modifier that have been coming out in the past couple of years. Yes, there are some traditional softboxes or beauty dish, but they’re not looked at as the best of the best. Those modifiers instead are a cross between so many things.

This makes it so much tougher for the introductory strobists trying to understand how light works and how it falls, but it makes the understanding of it confusing for the experienced shooter too. Many of the more experienced strobists probably have an arsenal of light modifiers–umbrellas, softboxes, etc. They work well and have for years, but there is a very new generation of light modifiers out there that almost promise to be an all-in-one solution.

And for serious lack of better terminology, we’re going to call it the Light Source.

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How to Get Softer Light in Portraits



Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art Lens Review images (13 of 13)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 1.4

By definition, soft lighting has to do with the quality of the shadows. Generally, the darker the shadows and the less details that you can see in them, the harder the light. The lighter the shadows and the more details you can see in them, the softer the light. Many photographers and portrait subjects love being shot in soft light. Soft light indeed can beautiful but creating it in various situations can be tough.

Here’s how.

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Why You Should Upgrade from a Built-In Flash to an External Speedlight

4808_SB-700-AF-Speedlight-front Many think of flash as a tool you use only when there isn’t enough available light to shoot with. If it’s dark, simply pop up the built-in flash and make the photograph. Never mind that the photographs don’t look especially good. The direct, hard lighting a speedlight delivers may not produce fine-art, but at least it ensures that we got something usable. However, flash can be an incredible creative tool especially when you have the flexibility of an external flash to work with. It’s an investment that provides more than just power, but choices that can improve the look of a photograph. Continue reading…

How to Make the Most of One Light Source

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Replichrome Astia on Fujifilm rendering (1 of 1)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.4

Lots of photographers try to make things simple when it comes to lighting by working with a single source of illumination. And to be honest, we don’t blame them. When you work with lots of lights, you’ll need to learn ratios and have a better idea of how you want the illumination from the lights to work. So working with one artificial light is usually one of the simplest and most portable way to create images.

Here are some of the best ways to do just that.

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How to Make Strobe Light Look Natural


Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Olympus EM5 Link Cosplay shoot (11 of 23)ISO 200

When it comes to light, your images don’t need to look like there was flash added to them. In fact, some of the best photographers try to not fight natural light, but augment what it can do with flash by adding just the right amounts in specific spots. Doing this takes a lot of shooting and experimenting followed by careful analysis of what you actually are doing to make the changes in camera look like what you want them to.

And to do this, you don’t need anything extraordinary or amazingly fancy.

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KickStarter MagMod is a Magnetic Speedlight Modifier


When I heard about the MagMod, it piqued my interest. Originally announced on Kickstarter, the project is already well past it’s goal on Kickstarter and rightfully so. The Magmod is a magnetic flash modifier which eliminates velcro, straps and adhesives. The Modifiers are made from a single piece of silicone rubber and it’s one size fits all. They say it works with anything from the Nikon SB600 or an old Sunpack Auto30DX to the the Canon 600EX and Nikon SB900. The MagMod comes with a modular flexible honeycomb grid and a MagGel kit.

More details are after the jump.

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Review: Profoto RFi Softboxes (4×3′ & 3′ Octa)


Profoto recently released their new line of softboxes called RFi (which stands for: Recessed Front – Improved) and they are compatible with almost every major manufacturer by using the appropriate speed ring for your chosen brand of lights. They also come in 12 different sizes and four separate models: rectangular, square, octagonal and strip. Profoto has designed these new boxes with a recessed front which allow the photographer to better control their light output and use additional accessories such as grids, diffusers, and strip masks. I’ve had a chance to spend some time with two of the new RFi softboxes and the D1 Studio Kit, the following is a summary of my thoughts on these light modifiers.

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