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Let’s take another look at modifiers

Lesson 16 from: Understanding Light & Light Modifiers

Mark Wallace

Let’s take another look at modifiers

Lesson 16 from: Understanding Light & Light Modifiers

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

16. Let’s take another look at modifiers

Why are there so many light modifiers, and which modifiers are the best? Mark walks through the most common modifiers and explains why you may or may not need each one.

Lesson Info

Let’s take another look at modifiers

we've come full circle. And so what I'd like to do is to ask that question one more time. Why do we need so many light modifiers? We've got a bunch of them back here. And so I've made this graphic to answer that question. I have so many modifiers. Well there are things that we want to consider when we're looking at a modifier. And so budget of course is a big consideration. So you might not have $1,200 for a single light modifier, but you might have $100 to get something that will work until you can save up enough money to grow your library of light modifiers. The other things that were looked at before catch lights. So if you're a portrait photographer, of course you're going to want to make sure that you have catch lights that are pleasing. So you're gonna choose different shapes and sizes exactly for those. If you're into product photography, fashion photography, you're going to want to control the speculum highlights to show how fabric is shining or dresses move or how somebody's s...

kin looks pleasing and not sort of shiny and uncontrollable. Of course, if you're shooting things like large groups are in big spaces, you need to worry about the effective size of the light so that's going to impact, which modifiers you use. And of course we have other things like directional versus diffused light or getting the most you possibly can out of your life if you're shooting outdoors from great distances or in arenas or in concerts or in church is something like that? You might want something that just gets light a long way away and then you might also be really picky about your light. So you need to control the spill of that light or control the shadows. And so what I've done is behind me here, I have a bunch of different light modifiers. And let's go through thinking of all of those different criteria, because the sad truth is there is no one magic, like modifier that's going to do everything that you want. And that is one reason why there's so many. And so if we look at some of these different light modifiers, we have this parabolic white um reflector here. This is great for throwing light a long way, but not being too speculator. So this is something that you probably wouldn't use unless you're shooting uh in a large space or you really wanna punch light onto a large background, It's really a specialty light modifier. Um and it's one of those that if you need it, you know, you need it. It's not when you pick up and say maybe I'll I'll use this if you have a problem that you keep running into that, you need to solve that sort of falls into that category of a sort of a specialized light modifier. The same is true of this guy. This really is for throwing light a long distance in a very directional way. And so again, this is one that's fantastic if you need it, but you probably won't need this a lot. So, this is one of those specialty light modifiers in my book. Then you have light modifiers. Like a good old soft box. This is something that, you know, if you only get one light modifier. Well, this is one of those that you might want to only get. So this has a grid on it. It's a great size. So this is 39 inch square for me when I'm looking at soft boxes, I usually tend to get vertical soft boxes, not square soft boxes because I'm shooting either portraits and a vertical soft box will work just for that. Or I'm shooting mid or full length and I'd like to have my soft boxes a little bit longer. Some photographers like to get square soft boxes and then stack them maybe one or two or three with the light in each and then they can create vertical or whatever shape they want. It's up to you. But definitely if you're trying to figure out which light modifier to get. I would start with a soft box. If you can afford it and the shape is up to you, I would do a vertical rectangular shape soft box, then you've got things like these guys right here. This is a silver, very large beauty dish. It's something that is fantastic. If you're a portrait photographer, we're gonna be playing with a grid on a beauty dish. So we have this right here. This is the same thing, but white. Again, this is something that would be using to be very directional to have some nice catch lights to have effective size very large. I don't know why I have this still in my hand, I guess I can put that down for a second. Um So that's sort of what these guys are. I think when you're talking about flags, that's something that you would get later in your photography career when you start to notice little things that bother you like. Ah there's some light over here that I just want to get rid of in the beginning days, I used to use cardboard boxes for flags. There's nothing wrong with that. You can just get some cardboard and hold it up and paper clips or whatever you need. But if you really need to use something that's gonna be used a lot, then I would look at different sizes of flags. Again, it's up to you, we have back here five and one reflector. This is silver and white and translucent and gold and black. So that's what this is. Once you unzip it and stuff, this is another absolutely must have a light modifier because you can use it to fill in light to the side to the bottom, You can wrap it around, you have nice flat or speculate or translucent. You can use this for so many things and they're not really very expensive. And so this is another one of those, I think you must have light modifiers. So a soft box, a five and one reflector is really great. And before I forget this standard reflector here, the reflectors should just come on your lights. A lot of people just take them off and never use them because they think all the lights too hard, I shouldn't be using that. I should add umbrella or soft box or whatever. Don't give up on these. I spent um a few weeks one time and I created a video for adirama tv I believe where I just shot with the reflectors that come standard on my lights and I was able to get some really amazing results. So that's something that everybody has and a lot of people just don't use. So that also falls into the category of must have light modifier, luckily most lights come with those reflectors as standard. It's really cool. All right, let's talk about these guys over here, we have umbrellas. Umbrellas are fantastic. Umbrellas are similar to soft boxes with one exception and that is the light is shooting into the umbrella and coming out so it's reflected light. It's not as punchy as light. That's directional. So you need to have a little bit more power to get the same amount of output from them. Also depending on the umbrella light can spill everywhere. So you don't have the control that you do with the soft box. And so these umbrellas, you really need some umbrellas. If you're gonna be shooting portraits are trying to fill a background of white backdrop, something like that. You don't need an expensive soft box to do that. You can just shoot into an inexpensive umbrella like this. This is an echo umbrella. It's very inexpensive. This is a great umbrella to have just to shoot into, to maybe throw some light on the background to do a really tight portrait to do school portraits, that kind of stuff. And so this is uh under $100 for sure, very small, very portable. You don't need to have a giant soft box or Octa box to do a lot of the work that most photographers do. This is I would say must have light modifier. Get some umbrellas. When you get into doing more controlled portrait work, you might want to look at some of these deep umbrellas, you'll start to see when you start working with these, you can control the light much better. The speculum highlights are different. The shadows are a little bit different. You're sculpting the light in a much more controlled way. The deeper your umbrella is, the downside is the budget is different. These are more expensive than just normal umbrellas are. And then over here we have our round and around ish modifiers. And so these are our two boxes are I think these have 16, 12345. Yeah, so these have um Like eight ribs. ribs, something like that? So they're not Octa exactly. These are 16 ribs, I think. So the more ribs you have the rounder it is but these are both gonna work pretty similar to each other. Except for this guy here is parabolic. This guy is not going to get more punch from that than this. This has more options for removing diffusion panels and getting directional light. And so this, this guy right here. This light motive is a lot more expensive than a rodeo looks like this. But they work both of them pretty similar to each other for me between the two of these and these sort of parabolic modifiers. I love the light motives because they have the ability to control the light in so many different ways. You can get so many different looks from the same modifier. If you have the budget, then this would be one of those things that I would add to my list of must have modifiers. Um, if you're doing a lot of work consistently commercial work, catalog work, that kind of stuff. This guy is big enough to handle the job of all of that stuff. And then we have again, more soft boxes over there of different shapes and sizes, which we've already talked about. So, those are the basics when you're looking at which modifier should I get. Don't stress out over that. Look at the type of photography that you're doing and then ask yourself these questions. Do I need hard light or soft light? Do I need a large light source to do large groups or can I get away with a smaller light source? Because I'm really close. My effective size is gonna be the same by getting close than using a giant modifier. Far away. Are you in a small space? Well then light is gonna be bouncing around. Do you need to control that? Which means you might have to have uh a soft box instead of an umbrella or you might have to have some flags instead of just letting the light bounce all over the place. Look at the type of photography that you want to do and then apply the principles of light that we've learned to help you choose which modifiers to use. Okay, so I hope that helps you out when you just sort of baffled by what to buy and what to look for. Really start with the principles of light, the quality of light and go backwards. Don't start with the light modifier and say, oh, that's awesome. Everybody has one. I have to have it because if I get it mm I can get good stuff but you really don't know why go the other way. So I want soft photos. I want hard light photos. I want sculpted photos. I want this or that and then choose the modifiers that do that. Just like you would, if you're choosing tools for your toolbox, you don't just go to the hardware store and go tools look great and just grab all of them. Well some of you do, but what you normally do is like uh I have a screw that needs to be adjusted. It's a Philips, head screw, I need to go buy a phillips head screwdriver and you have a tool that's specific to that thing. Then you throw it in your toolbox and then one day you're like uh I need to fix this door jam, you need a chisel or something and you go by that tool and you start adding one by one until you have all the tools you need to do all the specific jobs that you want to do. And it's the same with light modifiers. We're gonna put all of this into practice. Now in the next two sessions, we're going to sort of reverse engineer some of my old photos that quite honestly I forgot how I shot them. So I'm gonna see if we can recreate them. And then also going to talk about some of my favorite light modifiers and I'm gonna shoot with those to see what we can get. So let's do that right now

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Bonus YouTube Videos.pdf
Frio Grasp Mini Discount.pdf
Pop Quiz.pdf
Sample Photos for Pop Quiz.zip
Tether Tools Pro Kit Discount.pdf
Tether Tools Starter Kit Discount.pdf
Understanding Light and Modifiers-presentation.pdf
NanLite_WALLACE5.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

user-a07413
 

Wow, Impressive with lots of information on light modifiers. Lots of variations of use and the bonus material. Mark is very good as a teacher. Glad I purchased the subscription plan so I can see the other Mark Wallace classes. Now to go to work and use the information.

Paul
 

I've heard much of this before, but this class really does a good job explaining and demonstrating the principles and techniques it covers. Mark is certainly quite knowledgeable, and he makes the material accessible and easy to grasp. It does cover quite a lot of ground, and while others may go into more detail, I think this class is great for building a good foundation.

Mario Furtado
 

Mark and his crew did an excellent job in this class. Now I am eager to see Go-To Lighting Setups and Studio Lighting Essentials. Congratulations.

Student Work

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