As a young photographer, I used to think a beautiful flat light, that gave smooth skin tones was the best way to capture a portrait. I invested in a bunch of large diffuse light modifiers, such as softboxes, beauty dishes, and octoboxes, and shot photos of people with the smoothest and flattest lighting I could muster. Although, as time progressed, I learned the greater importance of telling a STORY with your photographs, rather than just making them look pretty or clean. This is when I learned about grids, bard doors, and negative fill in order to actually shape the light and not let it spill all over the photo environment. Thankfully, Profoto has debuted a series of videos to teach photographers about the most effective way to use light shaping tools.
There are many assets and skills a GOOD portrait photographer must have. One of the most important? Learning how to tell a story by shaping your light. So, if you haven't already, I highly suggest learning all about light modifiers including grids for softboxes and beauty dishes (great tutorial below).
Here is another helpful Profoto tutorial: What's the Difference Between a Snoot and a Softbox?
Aside from creating a dramatic light on your subject, modifiers keep you from spilling unwanted light on your backdrop or environment, giving your photos an unpolished appearance.
Another great one: The Difference Between Grid and No Grid
Would love to see your portraits below using modifiers to tell a story by shaping your light. Post in the comment section below!
Make sure to check out more of Profoto's tutorials and videos. A lot of pretty interesting and helpful content: https://www.youtube.com/user/ProfotoGlobal/videos