What’s your favorite Light Shaping Tool?

Written by Jens-Linus Lundgren-Widén on . Posted in Lighting tips

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© Ki Price, © Miguel Jacob, & © Roy Rossovich

Photography is light. In order to capture the feeling you are trying to convey, you need to be able to shape light. We asked 8 photographers to choose their favorite light shaping tool and explain what they like about it.

Profoto offer an array of Light Shaping Tools that enable you to be more creative and to turn your ambitions into reality. Whether shooting commercial ads with complex multi-flash setups or portraits using only a single monolight, all photographers aim to recreate a certain feeling when capturing an image. And that feeling is determined by the light. The fact that light is important for the outcome of a picture comes as no surprise to any committed photographer. In fact, photography means “drawing with light” in Greek. But in order to draw with light, you need to be able to control it – that is what light shaping is all about.

Just as a painter uses different paint brushes, a photographer needs different light shaping tools in order to create different lighting effects. With the Profoto OCF Grids you create dramatic and focused light, with the Magnum Reflector you shape with power and finesse, and with the Hard Box you create the hardest light possible.

We asked 8 photographers to choose their favorite light shaping tool and explain what they like about it.

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Think outside the softbox

Written by Jens-Linus Lundgren-Widén on . Posted in Fashion photography, Lighting tips, Off-camera flash, RFi, The light shaper

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The fact that the softbox is such a common tool doesn’t mean you can’t be creative with it. To prove this we asked Andrea Belluso to do four different fashion setups using nothing but softboxes.

We all know the softbox. When it comes to Light Shaping Tools, it might very well be the most popular and most widely used. But the fact that we see it and use it so often can sometimes make us forget what a versatile and creative tool the softbox actually is.

First of all, there are many different sizes and shapes of softboxes to choose from. Secondly, you can position and direct the softbox in many different ways, which will create very different lighting effects. Put it to the side of your model. Put it above. Direct it straight at your model or feather it and use the fall off. Almost anything is possible with a softbox.

To prove this we asked light shaping guru Andrea Belluso to do four different fashion setups using only softboxes in an out of the box kind of way.

Never one to back down from a challenge, Andrea came up with four unique solutions. He tethered up with his Phase One XF and TetherPro USB 3.0 SuperSpeed and set to work. He used the softbox as side light, he used the softbox as top light, he used it to create a hard light, and he used it as back light to create an even softer light.

How did he do it? Keep reading and we’ll go through each setup one at a time.

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What’s Different When You’re Overpowering the Sun with an Umbrella?

Written by Jared Platt on . Posted in Lighting tips

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What’s the Difference? is a series of video lighting tutorials. Each episode responds to a single question. In this episode, Jared Platt is overpowering the sun with the help of an umbrella. The entire series, including all videos, articles and lighting diagrams, is available at our website. And feel free to leave a question to Jared in the comment section if you have one!

There are many reasons to choose one Light Shaping Tool over another. Most of the time it’s the size or the shape that determines.

In this lighting challenge, however, we came up with a completely different reason to choose our modifier: power!

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What’s the Difference Between Ambient Light and On-Camera Flash?

Written by Jared Platt on . Posted in Lighting tips

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What’s the Difference? is a series of video lighting tutorials. Each episode responds to a single question. In this episode, Jared Platt tries using on-camera flash to overpower the sun. The entire series, including all videos, articles and lighting diagrams, is available at our website. And feel free to leave a question to Jared in the comment section if you have one!

Some places in the world have a limited range of tones. Cloud cover and fog and even heavy smog tend to take the edge of the extremes. This makes capturing an image with a limited latitude much easier.

I have fantasies about living in such places. But then I also remember that I might have to wear a coat to stay warm. So I quickly dismiss the day dreams.

In times and places with limited contrast, a flash is used to add catch lights into the eyes, fill in subtle shadows or provide more volume with a stronger direction of light.

But in the harsh light of a dry, clear blue sky below (or above) the 40th parallel, you are going to experience the limits of your camera’s latitude regularly, and feel the challenge of lighting your shot just to balance the intensity of the light.

We took on this challenge by taking our bride and groom out into the city in the intense afternoon sun. During this challenge we compared a completely ambient shot to one using a simple on-camera flash set up.

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What’s Different When You’re Using a Collapsible Reflector As A Fill Light?

Written by Jared Platt on . Posted in Lighting tips

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What’s the Difference? is a series of video lighting tutorials. Each episode responds to a single question. In this episode, Jared Platt tries using a Collapsible Reflector as a fill light. The entire series, including all videos, articles and lighting diagrams, is available at our website. And feel free to leave a question to Jared in the comment section if you have one!

On location lighting should be simple and lightweight. Regardless if I’m shooting a quick corporate portrait, a senior portrait or even a wedding portrait session, it mustn’t get too complicated.

When I’m operating on my own – or even with just one assistant, the amount of equipment I bring on a shoot is very limited. So the art of economizing lighting gear is crucial.

In the light of this, we set out to compare a portrait shot with and without a Collapsible Reflector as a fill light. Why? Because the Collapsible Reflector is one of the simplest, most lightweight tools we can use to shape light!

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