Comparing 7 Common Light Modifiers

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Guest post by Robert Mitchell. Hit the bottom of the post to see his links.

When assembling a lighting kit, it’s very difficult to know which modifiers are best for the type of work you want to do, and sometimes you don’t know or are discovering what you want to shoot. There are reflectors, umbrellas, square and rectangular softboxes, octabanks and a wide variety of accessories to shape and alter the quality of light.

So how do you know what’s best for you?

In many cases you don’t. If you have no experience then you don’t have any preferences formed and most of the tech talk is of no use to you and makes little sense. One person’s preference may not at all be what you like and it may not work within your budget.

I’ve chosen 7 common light modifiers of varying sizes and shapes, and I’m using modifiers that are , for the most part, inexpensive. Nothing very small and nothing terribly large. This is not an in-depth review, nor is it a light modifier showdown.

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How To Build A Focusable Parabolic Reflector

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Focusable parabolic reflectors may not be your first lighting modifier as they are big and require a lot (A LOT) of power, but once you start using them it is pretty hard to go back. To top that, they are also pretty expensive. The medium branded ones are around $800 while a top brand like Broncolor will set you back about $2,400.

If you still want to drive test one of those and at the stage where you have more time than money, Dennis Christian put a tutorial together on building one from scratch (or almost scratch….).

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How To Choose The Right Softbox For The Job: Understanding Softbox Size Vs Soft Light

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As Gavin Hoey explains in this informative video tutorial on softboxes, soft light is generally preferred over a hard light when shooting portraits. There are a number of light modifiers that can help achieve soft light, but one of the most commonly used is a softbox. When choosing and setting up the correct softbox for the job, size and distance from the subject will make a huge difference in the softness of light it will distribute. [Read more…]

How To Build And Use A DIY Scrim (Made From A Portable Clothes Hanger)

I have been planning around trying to build a DIY scrim for about a month now but couldn’t think of a frame where I could start my project. First thing I thought of was making it out of PVC pipes (sadly PVC pipes are not as easy to get here), then thought of using wood for the frame. I put it aside for a while until I found the perfect frame for my new project.

A scrim is not a stand alone unit and you want a light source behind it – either a strobe, a strong continuous light or even the sun. The scrim will diffuse that light (and eat quite a bit of it during the process) into a beautiful soft light.

Normally when I go to the local mall I visit the Japan Store because almost everything there is for P88 ($2USD) and there is a LOT of stuff to choose from, so I was looking around the other day and found a portable clothes hanger for around $5.50 USD. WIN! This would be the perfect frame for my next project. (If you don’t live in the Philippines, fret not, they are pretty cheap in the US too)

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6 Awesome Home Studio Tips: Backdrops To Lights And More

The folks at the slanted lens are anything but low value so it was kinda surprising to see that many of their setups are actually low-budget DIYs. The short below shows six of those tricks including a plumbing backdrop hanger, a ton of budgety lighting solutions (some of which we have covered in the past, but their softbox is pure budget geniusity) and my favorite, another use for a tarp.

[6 Tips for Setting Up a Home or Office Studio via theslantedlens.com] [Read more…]

A Big, Cheap, Solid And Foldable DIY Softbox

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Many people have asked me about the DIY softbox I made a year or so ago — lovingly nicknamed “the ghettobox” — so here it is, finally: The ultimate guide to making your own 30” softbox (that’s about 76cm, you could make it even bigger, though!), that — very important — is solid and portable. Yes, you heard right, you can fold it flat but it’s still solid. Plus: As a bonus you can also hang it from somewhere to save floor space. [Read more…]

Low On Budget? Consider A Desk Lamp + Softbox

1:18 New Beetle Car Model (by andygame)If you read this blog long enough, you know I am a big fan of small strobes. They are portable, relatively cheap, can squeeze some intense light and great for on the go. Key words for this post are relatively cheap.

While you can buy used SBs on eBay for a bit over $100 or a LumoPro for a similar price, you are still in for more than a $100 for lights.

Just saw photog Andy Game setup which has a great answer to the money issue. [Read more…]

Doitall Flash Thingy

flash super bounce + softboxHow about creating a thingy that is a bounce card, a softbox and a super bounce card. Nice isn’t it?

Martin Kimeldorf is a regular inventor here on DIYP (with inventions like Portable Backdrop Mount System, the Kimel Bouncer and the dual vertex gel system he is one of the more prolific mind I know). I was not surprised when he came up with a design to the problem presented above. It is a bit rugged and DIY looking, but it does the job. It’s also a great project to get inspiration from, both on what you can do with a flash and how you can do it.

Its all Martin from after the jump.

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Making a Softbox Just Got Easier

studio_photography_best_softbox_ever.jpgIf you’ve been reading DIYP for a while now, you know that I am a fool for home made softboxes.

DIYP has featured all kind of softboxes, ranging from small light weight camera strobe to big studio photography strobes. Some are minutes to build and some are hours. Here is a list of some of the better softboxes we’ve had here on DIYP:

The Best Softbox Ever (Image is from this project by Nick Wheeler)
Two Great Weekend Projects – Striplight and Softbox
Even Better Softbox Part One – The Build Process
Even Better Softbox Part Two – The Test Results
a home grown softbox
Flash Mounted homemade DIY Softbox

One of the trickier parts of growing a softbox at home is the planning. The delicate work done by professionals to calculate the lengths of segments. The gentle work of trigonometry to calculate the angels. Light-less nights spent in dark basements with calipers.

(Actually it is the drawing of the the
individual pieces before you glue them together that is the real hard task)

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Two Great Weekend Projects – Striplight and Softbox

photography softbox and striplightDo you know those weekends when it is just to hot to get out of the home? Well just for those weekends we have a great weekend project. Actually we have two weekend projects.

The first project is a Foamcore softbox. We’ve had those before, even for small flashes. But this one comes complete with build and assembly instructions by Paul Both. To top sugar with cream (or light with diffusion) Paul also made a nice strip light – again complete with plans and chocolate syrup. (The designs were made for the 580EX2 and 430EX Canon flashes, but will fit any flash with minor adjustments).

Paul said the role of inspiring muse for this creation was Nick Wheeler who made the best softbox ever, just a little while ago.

Download the plans for the softbox here and for the striplight here. Read on for assembly instructions (flickr set here).

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