Modification Good

You hear me talk about flash modifiers a lot here: today I thought I might show you what some of them actually look like. In particular, some of the ones that let me direct or colour the light (tomorrow, I’ll mention more, and talk about softening the light).

A grid restricts the spread of the light from your flash. Here’s a grid (a Honl Photo grid: I use Dave Honl’s excellent small flash modifiers constantly. They attach using simple velcro and are small, sturdy, light, and affordable: a pretty good combo):

The grid is my most often used modifier. After all:

I want to direct where the light goes, which clearly implies that I also want to direct where the light does not go.

The grid helps me do that. You can even see it in the picture: the flash is firing but it’s not blinding us. I can light a subject without also lighting up the wall.

Next, the snoot. Here’s a snoot (another Honl device: the reflector rolled into a tube is a snoot):

See? Even more directional than the grid. Great for very selective lighting.

One more modifier today: the gel. Here’s a gel:

Now we have a purple flash!

Another device is the Gobo (“Go Between Objects”):

That is in fact a bounce card with the dark side used. Here’s the bounce card with the light side used:

You can see both keep light from certain areas; one also reflects to the opposite side.

Finally today, here’s a photo taken with a gel and a snoot. Can you tell?

Tomorrow, more modifiers for you!


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It’s all about…

….what you do not light.

Here is a shot of impromptu model George, who was on the course:

David Honl and I lit George from the side with a single 430EX flash using a Traveller 8 softbox, during the”Advanced Flash” workshop Dave helped me teach Saturday in Toronto.

This shot illustrates the “it’s more important to think about what you do not light” principle you often hear me mention.

The following shot illustrates another principle: “light from the sides, fill from the front”. Here, we are lighting George with two 430EX speedlights, each with a 1/4″ grid, from the side. Another gridded speedlight is aiming at the background, and a final speedlight, in a Traveller 8 softbox, is aimed at his face.

We used manual flash for all these shots, and the flashes were connected to pocketwizards via Flashzebra cables.

Since we are using only flash (ambient plays no role), the settings are the standard 100 ISO, f/8, 1/125th second.

All these shots can be set up in just a couple of minutes, as Dave is explaining here to some of the students in this packed workshop:

If you were one of those students, I hope you’ll add some comments here about what you found most useful or most fun. I know many of you read this blog daily!