Why Lighting Modifiers Matter

If you are someone who has worked only with natural light, one of the most foreign parts of artificial lighting might be the vast array of modifiers available. How much of a difference do they really make? This great video demonstrates why your choice of modifier matters and the difference they can make in your work. 

Coming to you from Mark Wallace with Adorama TV, this excellent video shows how different lighting modifiers create different looks, as Wallace demonstrates through the use of a shoot-through umbrella, silver umbrella, octabox, and an octabox with a 50-degree grid. The beauty of lighting modifiers is that they give you so much more control over the look of your images and the way your subject is rendered, giving you real practical advantages and a ton of creative flexibility. And while Wallace shows the range of looks from some of the most common lighting modifiers here, you can get into some neat and creative equipment as you move into more esoteric and specialized modifiers, such as beauty dishes or parabolic umbrellas. Beyond the creative looks, specialized modifiers and accessories also give you much more control over where the light falls and where it does not, which is crucial to controlling the overall look of a scene. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Wallace. 

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1 Comment

Kirk Darling's picture

I don't think anyone gets involved with artificial photographic lighting without soon realizing that modifiers matter.

The remaining question will be: How MUCH do they matter? For instance, there are a hundred versions of a beauty dish, and photographers tend to form battle lines over one or the other. But how much do the differences really matter (that is, matter to audiences)?

Just because a connoisseur can detect a difference, does that make a difference? And if a difference makes no difference, is it really a difference?