When it comes to product and food photography, lighting is critical and can make or break the final image. Achieving the perfect lighting can be a complex process, even more so if you are just starting out with this type of photography.
Learning how light interacts with different surface textures takes a lot of understanding. The different types of light sources and the correct placement of these can significantly impact the final results. Professionals use a range of lighting techniques and tools to create their final images, which takes time and understanding to learn and then put into practice.
New to the market is the Halumin Open Cylindrical modifier, which aims to help speed up the process for both professionals and amateurs alike and help produce high-quality lighting for your product and food photography in a fraction of the time.
Construction and Quality
The Halumin modifier is solidly built, comprising two outer layers of heavy polyester ripstop nylon with an inner of silver to reflect the light and then, of course, a central core of diffusion material. Fully opened, the modifier measures 36" x 36" x 8" and when collapsed down and packed into the bag, 15" x 15" x 8", so it's very portable. The inner staging area for products is 18", so is suitable for a whole host of products.
The first time I set up the modifier took around 4-5 minutes, and this was simply because I was looking at the construction of it and the attachment points. I did watch the videos for attaching the Bowens mounts as I found that a bit fiddly the first time, but once on it, was no problem to replicate. The second time, including attaching the Bowens mounts, was under two minutes.
All of the stitching points are reinforced, so there's no worry about tearing here. Attached along the outer edge of the modifier are several fixing points, which enable the modifier to retain its shape. These are fixed in place via a central Velcro strip and have a rubber seal against the edge to stop any friction and wear over time.
How It Works
The circular modifier supports speed lights, continuous LED lights, and studio strobes and can be used with one or two of each. The light is then circulated around the modifier and emitted from the diffused strip at the inner circumference. This could, in practice, cut down and replace up to four lights for a similar shoot.
The inner diffusion layer has thick Velcro banding, which can be used to further modify the emitted light by bending this to shape depending on what you are photographing and the effect you are seeking. Two large Velcro flags (image four below) can further be added to modify the light.
The quality of light changes depending on where you place your object relative to the light. You can have soft, hard, or rim lighting and a variety of moods simply by moving your subject within the staging area or tilting the Halumin.
Depending on the kit you purchase or if you want to add flexibility for studio lighting to your modifier, two easily fitted Bowens-type attachments can be used, allowing you to hook up some strobes or constant LED lights.
Again, depending on the kit, you can add legs that attach very easily and can be positioned with ease to allow the Halumin modifier to be positioned in a multitude of ways. The legs themselves are extendable, giving further adaptability, and these can also be removed to allow you to attach the modifier to lighting stands.
The Halumin modifier is collapsable, portable, and stores in a small bag the same way a reflector does. The legs can also be stored in the bag, but I carried the legs and Bowens mounts separately. There are also two pouches for your flash guns on the bag.
For quickness, I attached two Godox SL50s and set them to equivalent values. Each object was then placed on a makeshift platform to enable the light to wrap around. I then draped a black t-shirt over the platform; this was simply to cut down on edit time. Having decided to see if it could produce the results fast, as advertised, I gathered as many different items as I could and photographed away. Everything placed within the modifier returned great results. All the images in the gallery were photographed in under 10 minutes. And yes, you may say it looks like it, but the article is about the modifier and not the final images. Other colors of backgrounds and gels can be used, but to see how the light performed, I kept the shoots to a black background.
As you can see in the image below, all of the shots for this article were photographed in a small room with the Halumin either fully vertical or with a slight backward angle. The modifier itself can be positioned in a multitude of different ways. However, I opted simply to shoot in this way to see how it worked with the various different objects I placed either within or just to the rear of it. Although I went for a static approach for reviewing the modifier, it can be used in so many ways, for example, flat-lay, handheld, one light, two lights, and gels. The possibilities are vast.
- Easy to set up
- Easy to use
- Provides great performance
- Small and portable
- Perhaps the price of the full kit is for some, but if you are a product or food photographer, I think it will very quickly generate return for you.
To be completely honest, from the first image captured using the Halumin modifier, I was genuinely excited to see what else could be photographed using it, as everything about it just made the images pop. No harsh shadows and plenty of details are captured using it. Move the modifier slightly, and the light on the object would react pleasingly.
Taking your time with the shoots, unlike myself, will produce great results, add gels, vary the backgrounds, and be experimental, while all the time, your product remains evenly lit, contains great detail, and pops. The lighting and setup of your products take a while. As you will know, this product vastly reduces this and allows you a lot more time to be creative with your shots. I've really enjoyed using the Halumin for this type of basic shoot, as it's made it so easy and effortless. Now, it's time for me to become more creative with it to see what I can do.
Currently, Halumin is only available for US shipping but will be open to worldwide shipping in the near future. If you would like to know more about the Halumin modifier and how it could increase your productivity, you can find more information here.
Halumin modifier images used by kind permission of Halumin.
Great results but that price definitely made me wince. Hate to say it, but $200-250 seems a lot more fair than $400.
Hey Marc. Thanks for your feedback. You think it’s expensive and that we are trying to gouge on the price. What I can tell you is we considered price a lot when designing Halumin and selecting materials. Navigating manufacturing involves a long string of choices that effect the end price. When weighting retail price we also had to consider durability and performance. Ultimately it seemed better to make a great product that will hold up after lots of use than to make a cheaper product that won’t last. The reality is that it cost more to build it better with better materials. I would love to be able to sell it for $199. Seriously, the topic of price is ongoing but we are not a huge company with huge volume. We also did not want to put a product out that we would not be happy to use ourselves. We made Halumin a solid product that can pay you ROI on time savings. Less setup at each session will pay itself back with use.
So if you should be able to use it you basically need the two speedrings and the two legs so you can at least get it of from laying on the floor and the cool 850$ for a light modifier that is a one trick pony. I am making a living as a food photographer and I would not get close to this kind of product unless they gave it to me. I am not saying it can not be useful but everything can be useful in a product/food shoot and yes I like the idea of a curved strip light but I like many things in life and a lot of them is a lot less then 850 dollar. I am not saying you where paid for this product placement but I really hope you where and I hope you where paid lods of money.
Hi Karl thanks so much for your feedback. You are looking at all the accessories and probably questioning why anyone would need such a tool. The price seems high when comparing it to many of the traditional modifiers on the market. You are justified in asking questions. As Halumin’s inventor, let me try and clarify a few things. It just might not be for you, and I’m not trying to convince you of anything, just want to make sure your comments are answered. Firstly, we made decisions in the process of designing Halumin to value durability and functionality as a priority. This effected what we could sell it for but making something that will last was important to me as a professional photographer that has been frustrated by plenty of gear that did not prioritize this. Secondly, it was actually designed to be a new way of working lighter and faster using speedlights and no light stands in most cases. Once we got into it, some of the pros and business we tested it with wanted the ability to connect it to studio strobes and LEDs . So it’s maximum time savings can be achieved when using it with speedlights. You can do quite a lot with just the H18 by itself. I actually tested it like that exclusively for a year and just kept the H18 and two speedlights in a bag. Halumin is a self contained lighting environment that you can keep in your car and always have the ability to get beautiful lighting wherever. It’s a freeing experience working like that. Beyond that, if you work solo and want more control still with gear you can keep contained in the case, the Freestyle set with the 2 accessory legs give you the ability to configure it in a variety of angles while still powering with speedlights or you can attach those to stands if you desire. You only need the SLAs if you are going to use studio strobes or LEDs. That’s what those are for. Feel free to checkout some of the videos on YouTube to get a feel for it. Im working to get a lot more of them up so there may only be a few that would interest you. In a lot of use cases, using Halumin with speedlights is a faster way to get a beautiful image. And it’s really well made. Perhaps it’s not for you and that’s understandable as well. I do appreciate you expressing your concerns though.
$269 for a mount to be able to use the modifier that costs $399....Hmmmmmm...
Thanks for thinking of the idea, I'll probably grab one from AliExpress in a couple of months for about £80.
You think the pricing is high compared to other simple modifiers on the market. Is it unlikely you would answer a question for me? Sincerely what best describes your opinion?
The price is too high because:
a. It is an attempt at a cash grab for a cheaply made item.
b. It is something I don’t need for my work and it would not save me any time.
c. It seems overbuilt and I would buy one if they made it more cheaply so it could be more affordable.
d. I don’t get what a photographer would need it for so it doesn’t have much value.
I'd say none of the above. I'll give you an analogy.
If I decided to manufacture and sell cars they might be pretty good vehicles, but as I don't own a plant to produce them or a supply chain to obtain the resources needed they would prohibitively expensive, even if they are nicer than say a Nissan.
On the other hand, Nissan could produce the same car for a fraction of the price and effort, they have the plants and the resources.
In this case Godox, Neewer, Selens, Andoer etc are Nissan.
Thanks for your POV. Its helpful to understand where you are coming from. Its true that a big company could make it cheaper in volume but the innovation has to occur first. The biggest risk and heaviest lift is always with the first to make something new. They say the three I’s of business. Innovators (the people that make ideas) Imitators (the people that copy those ideas) Idiots (the people that copy those ideas way too late) To say it’s a more attractive to buy for you if the cost it lower is entirely accurate for many people. But it does not mean its overpriced right now. It’s early and those that use it early will be the first to weigh it’s value.
I specialize in Food and Product images and believe that you've priced the modifier out of the market. Funny, rates have been in a downward spiral for a number of years but the equipment has gone up in price in the same period. This reminds me of the "Investment Group" that bought Capture One, they change the pricing structure, loyalty programs but haven't developed many new features except for editing on an iPad. Why do companies try to recoup R&D investments in the following quarter and the post record profits? Just my .02