What did you do during the pandemic? With most of the industry at a standstill, sports photographer James Quantz started a new company, Pro Light Mods, and designed a prototype of his "Maxi Brute softbox". Not only are they super awesome, but any photographer can pick one up now!
Having once created my own light modifier, I understand the frustrations, headaches, and overall risk it takes to bring something to market. Maybe that's why I'm so impressed with these softbox covers from Pro Light Mods. We've all seen those awesome sports images that look like they were taken under massive stadium lights. Short of renting a ton of expensive HMI lights (Moleenos, Maxi Brutes, or Dinos) from the grip house, most of us would probably just shoot our subjects against black and composite in some stock assets to create the effect. But now, you can easily achieve this stadium lighting setup in camera without any post-processing necessary.
Pro Light Mods are basically a blackout baffle that fits on the front of your softbox. Depending on the size of the "Mod" you buy, you can either get 4, 5, 6, 9, or 12 projection holes to create a variety of back lighting looks. Each Light Mod is designed to perfectly fit a set softbox size while still remaining pretty universal among different brands of modifiers. At the moment, you can purchase 4x3, 2x3, and 3x3 sizes, but in the near future, stripbox sizes of 1x4 and 1x3 will be available.
So, who exactly are these modifiers for? Having played around with them for the last week, I can see a use for these in many situations. Obviously, if you photograph athletes, having a few of these mods tucked away in your softbox cases is a no-brainer. I'm willing to bet tons of senior portrait photographers are also going to offer this lighting setup for their little league and high school portrait sessions. However, I think photographers who shoot other genres of photography and video could find these useful as well. With your modeling lamp turned on, these mods create a super-modern background light that will soon be more common on video productions. If you shoot high fashion or like making impactful Instagram art, there is definitely an argument for owning at least one of these as well. My mind is also thinking how awesome these could look behind a couple during the first dance at a wedding. There really are so many interesting possibilities.
At the moment, you can pick up one Pro Light Mod for around $89 to $109, depending on the layout. If you already own a softbox, then you are good to go, but with an inexpensive Godox softbox, you can easily build an entire system from scratch for less than $150.
As you can see in the photos above, one of the coolest elements about the Pro Light Mods is you can achieve this stylized look directly in camera without the use of Photoshop at all. This means your creative team and talent can all admire the photos on set right after they are captured. It also means you can snap a handful of still images and then instantly film some b-roll or video footage with the same exact setup. Add a little fog from a portable smoke machine or spray some atmosphere aerosol in a can, and you have a pretty convincing final image.
As someone who loves do-it-yourselfers and creative photographers who take their little home-grown projects and offer them to the public, I really love what James has done with this product and applaud him for sharing this with the larger photography industry. After I received my order of Mods, James reached out to me to share a few of the next accessories he has planned, and all I can say is "wow!" If you want to support James and this new grassroots business and hopefully help bring the next level of development to market, swing by Pro Light Mod's website and pick up a Mod or two. If this even looks half as exciting as it was to me, I'm sure you are going to love these things!