It is incredibly difficult for a beginner to photograph in a studio. Here it would be better to figure out the camera settings, but then all of a sudden you still need to correctly set up and put the light on. And the administrators climb with their “What do you want? Softbox or portrait? But light is indispensable: by controlling light sources with power, shaping nozzles and position, we get a high-quality photo.
What are the nozzles, how do they differ? When is it better to take a stripbox, and when is it better to take an umbrella? What is the best way to highlight the background? We answer all these questions and figure out what accessories for studio lighting will help diversify your shots.
What are studio light attachments?
Accessories for light modifiers
Tips and Conclusions
What are studio light attachments?
This is the name of nozzles that have layers of dispersion. As a rule, this is one or two layers of white translucent fabric. Yes, softboxes are essentially made of fabric on a shaped frame.
Types of softboxes
— Rectangular and square softboxes. Timeless classic. There are different sizes. The larger the source, the softer the light.
— Octobox. Octagonal softs. These are often the largest studio attachments. They are loved for the interesting shape of the glare in the eyes and the fact that they can be used to illuminate a large area.
— Stripbox. This is a long rectangle, but, unlike the classic rectangular softbox, it is rather narrow in width and elongated in height.
— Round softbox. Gives interesting round highlights in the model’s eyes.
— Outdoor softbox. Allows you to highlight the object from below.
Often among photographers and studio employees, softboxes are called square or rectangular attachments, which confuse beginners who begin to consider octoboxes and stripboxes as a separate type of light. In fact, they are all softboxes. Just a different shape.
What to shoot with softboxes
- For a classic soft-light portrait, a rectangular or square softbox is the way to go. The larger they are, the larger the area will be illuminated and the softer the light will be.
- Use the stripbox for a full-length portrait or to emphasize the silhouette with backlight. A large rectangular softbox or octobox is also suitable for a full-length portrait.
- Stripbox allows you to get spectacular narrow highlights when shooting objects. The main thing is that the surface of the object reflects light well (glass, plastic, glossy car body, etc.).
- The Octobox is ideal for taking pictures of multiple people. It can be used to photograph a couple in love, a family with children, a music band or a group business portrait. Naturally, the larger the octobox, the more people it will illuminate.
- Octobox allows you not only to take a full-length photo of the model, but also to light up the background around it.
- Any large softbox is suitable for shooting large objects. For example, cars.
- A round softbox is good for portraits as it gives neat round highlights. They come in small sizes, so they are suitable for on-camera flashes, which is ideal for reportage shooting.
- Floor softbox allows you to highlight the object from below. Can be used for experimental portraits with unusual light, product photography, interior lighting.
Attachment that gives a soft, diffused light with light, accurate shadows. Sometimes an umbrella spreads the light so much that it makes it necessary to increase the power of the flash pulse.
There are two types:
— To the light. Most often it is an umbrella made of white fabric. When shooting with such a nozzle, we direct the light source at the model or object, and the open umbrella obscures the lamp. It turns out that we shoot through an umbrella, because of which the light is scattered. The principle of operation is the same as that of a softbox.
— Reflection. Reflective umbrellas are black, and their insides are gold, silver, or white. When shooting on a reflection, we direct the light in the opposite direction from the subject. The flash bounces off the inside of the umbrella and illuminates the model.
The color of the inner surface of the reflective umbrellas affects the color of the light. If you need warm light, then use a golden umbrella. For cold, silver is suitable. Neutral color temperature is created with a white umbrella. You can adjust the white balance in post-processing.
To fix the umbrella on a tripod, you need a special mount that allows you to insert the “leg” of the diffuser there. Some attachments are sold with a hot shoe mount for on-camera flashes. There are also models with lamp sockets.
It is worth noting that one of the most budgetary light modifiers. For example, an umbrella in the light can be bought for 350 rubles.
What to shoot with umbrellas
- Use an umbrella to capture a gentle female portrait with soft light.
- Its lightness allows you to quickly and easily move the light source, so you can take pictures of active restless children with an umbrella.
- Small umbrellas weigh little and are cheap. They are often the first budget light shaping attachment that a beginner photographer can use on location. In addition to an umbrella, you only need a tripod, an umbrella mount and a direct light source — even an on-camera flash will do.
- Reflective umbrellas, especially large ones, create a wide and soft beam of light. This allows you to simulate natural lighting in the studio.
An umbrella is an ideal attachment for a beginner, as it gives a neat black and white pattern. It is difficult to spoil the portrait with an umbrella — the shadows from it are quite light, with a smooth, subtle gradient turning into midtones and highlights. It is difficult to get black holes instead of eyes from an umbrella, hard, sharply defined shadows near the nose.
It allows you to get light of medium hardness, since at first it “beats” into the metal, and then it scatters over a white or silver surface. On the one hand, this gives a soft light, but the shape and relatively small size of the source make it directional, which increases its contrast.
What to shoot with a beauty dish
— Any portraits. Adjust the height and position of the source to achieve different effects and moods in the frame. For example, if you place a light with a beauty dish behind your model and point the light downward, you get a dramatic portrait with deep shadows.
— The beauty dish gives good contrast, so it is often used for fashion shoots.
— The beauty plate is suitable for beauty photo shoots with an emphasis on the hairstyle or makeup of the model.
Nozzle for hard light. Due to the shape and material with a reflective surface inside, it forms the light into a beam. Thus, it turns out to be directed, that is, it shines strictly where you have shown. The analogy is simple — imagine an actor on the stage, behind whom the beam of the spotlight “runs” with the help of the illuminator.
What to shoot with a reflector
— Reflectors give hard shadows on the face of the model, show the texture. This is ideal for dramatic or dark portraits. In addition, it can be used to focus on the relief of the body or wrinkles.
— Hard light, emphasizing brutality, good for male portraits. Or for women, where it is important to convey a decisive character and a bright temperament.
— To highlight the background, use the background reflector. This is a tube with a diagonally cut edge, as it were. This shape is needed so that the light is directed strictly in one direction (on the background) and does not fall on the model and the lens.
— Use a reflector to add backlight to the model.
It is sometimes called a cone reflector. Hard light modifier. Nozzle in the form of a cone, which forms a narrow, directional beam of light. The nozzle is quite difficult for a novice photographer and an inexperienced model, since you need to understand well where the light beam hits and stay strictly in it.
What to shoot with a tube
- Highlight a meaningful detail on an object or background. The narrow opening of the tube will not allow light to affect objects around.
- Create a spotlight effect on the stage.
- With the help of a tube, you can get an interesting portrait with contrasting light. But remember that with its help it will not be possible to qualitatively illuminate the model in full growth.
Accessories for light modifiers
They direct the light, make it more accentuated. Increase the hardness of the light and narrow the light beam.
— Honeycombs on reflectors. They are a round metal nozzle that really resembles a honeycomb.
— Honeycombs on softboxes. Fabric square grids. Usually fastened with Velcro. They come in different cell widths. The smaller the honeycomb cell, the narrower the beam of light at the output.
Why use honeycombs
— By directing the light in a certain way, you can illuminate only the model, and leave the background untouched.
— If you combine a beauty dish and a honeycomb, you can get a spotlight effect.
— Put emphasis on a particular object or subject.
— Make chiaroscuro on the model’s face more contrast.
Reflector modifier. This is a nozzle with four movable black barriers. Putting them on a reflector, you can control the light flux and direct it.
Why use curtains
- Adjust the width of the beam that illuminates the background.
- Manage backlight more carefully.
Gobo masks are stencils through which light can be passed to create a light pattern on a model or background. They can project abstract patterns and mimic sunlight through windows or blinds. They are plastic, glass, metal.
There is a special nozzle for gobo masks. Its design is unusual in that in the middle there is a lens and a lever that allows you to adjust the width of the beam of light, and at the end there is another lens and a lever that focuses the light so that the picture is clearer. A simpler alternative is a metal holder.
But to shoot through a stencil, it is not necessary to use a gobo attachment — any hard light source that can be attached to a plate with a pattern will do. In addition, you yourself can create a stencil of any shape and use it in shooting.
Translucent gel sheets (sometimes plastic sheets) that change the color of the light. They are sold either in the form of square or rectangular sheets that can be fixed to the light source with adhesive tape, or in the form of iron plates that are mounted on reflectors.
Why color filters are needed:
- Point the color filter reflector at the background to change its color.
- Illuminate the back of the model with a reflector with a filter to get a colored back.
- Color the background, model, create colored spots with the help of a tube to which the filter is attached.
Tips and Conclusions
- Soft light is provided by softboxes, hard light by reflectors, and medium light by a beauty dish.
- The smaller the light source, the harder and more contrasting the light.
- The closer the source is to the model, the softer the light.
- Use color filters to colorize the background, model, make color checks or spots.
- Honeycombs and curtains allow you to limit the luminous flux, make it more directional. In this way, you can make the light harder, as well as put emphasis on the details. For example, to highlight an element of decor that is important for the plot.
- Do not change the attachments yourself — ask the studio administrator. In the event of a breakdown, you will have to pay for a damaged source, the price of which can exceed tens of thousands of rubles.
- Shoot with one light source to begin with and try different attachments to see the difference. Start with a soft light — it’s easier, as there is less chance of getting ugly hard shadows and highlighting imperfections in the model’s skin. The simplest attachments for a beginner are an umbrella or classic square or rectangular softboxes.
- Project any pattern onto your model or background with gobo masks, or make your own stencils.
- The tube and the beauty dish, due to the narrow beam of light, give a high cut-off contrast on the model. You can get some interesting light with them, but you need to control exactly where it falls and where the model is. The easiest way to do this is to turn on the pilot light at the source — this is a constant light that shows where the flash will “hit”.