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Fstoppers Recommended Gear: Light Modifiers

photoflex octodome nxt Fstoppers Recommended Gear:  Light Modifiers

Photoflex Octodome Kit There is one light modifier we use on almost every shoot and that is the small Octodome. When paired up with a monopod or Litereach the Octodome is the perfect on location semi soft light source. We use these at every wedding and almost every location portrait. Not too harsh, not too soft, just perfect.

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photoflex nxt medium softbox Fstoppers Recommended Gear:  Light Modifiers

Photoflex NXT Medium Softbox When in the studio it is really important to have well made softboxes that can withstand heavy use. Photoflex makes several softboxes but we like the NXT models because they are made to withstand the hot temperatures of constant lights while still being perfect for our strobes. The Medium Softbox will give you that soft light similar to an umbrella while containing the spill with its recessed face and sharp edges.

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Photoflex nxt Half dome Fstoppers Recommended Gear:  Light Modifiers

Photoflex NXT Halfdome When we need to light large areas or introduce soft highlights or kickers, the Photoflex Half Domes are really the best choice. These come in several sizes as well (the smallest ones are nice too) and again these can be used for video which offers the unique look you often see in our studio interview footage.

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Photoflex Octodome Large Fstoppers Recommended Gear:  Light Modifiers

Photoflex OctoDome 7′ Octabank The large 7′ Octodome is the perfect octabank for lighting full body portraits evenly in the studio. In the case of the iPhone Fashion Shoot, we used the Octodome many times for large on axis fill which helps pull detail throughout your entire subject. It’s not the easiest box to use outside the studio but the quality of this octabox is really spectacular.

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Spot grids Fstoppers Recommended Gear:  Light Modifiers

7″ Studio Spot Grids Every now and then we need hard but very directional light. When paired with a reflector, these spot grids allow you to use hard light without all the spill found with other modifiers. These are great on set for placing highlights on backgrounds. When used as the key light and paired with a large soft fill light, these grids can create an awesome fashion portrait light too.

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beautydish Fstoppers Recommended Gear:  Light Modifiers

The Beauty Dish Everyone always asks what makes a beauty dish different from a softbox. The answer really comes down to spill control and overall harshness. The beauty dish is a bit like a fine wine in that it’s results can be rather subtle to the untrained eye but there is a reason all the fashion and beauty photographers use them. It’s not always as soft as a med/small softbox but it does maintain a softish look while still giving you the direction of a small reflector. This is one of our favorite lights for sure.

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photek softlighter Fstoppers Recommended Gear:  Light Modifiers

Photek Umbrella Softlighter Everyone has heard of the Photek Softlighter and it really is a great item to have in your bag. It might be the softest light in this list simply because it uses 100% reflected light instead of baffled light. When placed high above your model it can also give a very classy portrait that can easily be translated into a fashion look just like King Street Studios did in their Fashion Week Video. We use this for fast studio lighting on the go or on location.

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honl grid Fstoppers Recommended Gear:  Light Modifiers

Honl Speedlight Grid Many times we prefer using small speedlights instead of studio lights because often we don’t need 1000 watts of power and also we may not have a constant power source. It’s great that Honl is making accessories for speedlights because we do have to come up with some slick modifications in order to use many of the above modifiers with our smaller speedlights. These are built really well, cheap, and easy to throw into your backpack.

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photoflex multidisc Fstoppers Recommended Gear:  Light Modifiers

Photoflex Multidisc Kit We can’t say this enough, “Sometimes the natural light around you is almost perfect for lighting your subjects!” I say almost perfect because sometimes all you need is a little reflected light to edge out your subject or some fill to open up some unwanted shadows. This kit is the best because it includes a really helpful reflector stand. Whether in the studio or on location, having a reflector locked into place can help balance out that almost perfect photo.

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lastolite hilite Fstoppers Recommended Gear:  Light Modifiers

Lastolite Hilite The Hilite is the most expensive item on this list but we actually own 3 of them. These are the best light source/background for high key lighting because with just one speedlight/strobe you can evenly blowout the background for awesome studio and stock looking images. These are perfect for your wedding photobooth, personal “in home” photo sessions, family shoots, baby shoots, and just about anything else where you need either a HUGE soft light or pure white background. It’s amazing how small these fold up and how easy it is to light them with just one light. Before investing in an expensive background system, you may want to consider this first.

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dynalite photoflex speed ring1 Fstoppers Recommended Gear:  Light Modifiers

Photoflex Speed Rings In order to use most of these modifiers you are going to need a speed ring that holds the softbox open and lets it mount to your brand of flash. We use Dynalites in the studio and Nikon speedlights on location but these should work with any brand of flash heads and speed lights. Just make sure you pick out the correct version when you decide to buy one because they will not work universally.

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manfrotto light stand1 Fstoppers Recommended Gear:  Light Modifiers

Manfrotto Air Cushioned Stands I used to think light stands were just light stands but once you buy a bunch and they break you realize they can be a real liability. Lee and I are big fans of the Manfrotto Air Cushioned stands because they are built really well and they won’t fall and smash your fingers or worse, break your equipment. I’d recommend either the 3 pack of 7.75′ stands or the 12′ riser ones for the most versatility. If you are looking for a good boom stand, check out the Manfrotto 420B.

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