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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pro Light With Flash Modifiers

Use these key accessories to refine the output of your portable speedlights

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce
With models sized for most available flashes, Sto-Fen's Omni-Bounce is a small, but effective diffusion device that fits right over the head of the flash. The pocket-sized Omni-Bounces are very affordable, and they're also available in green for proper white balance under fluorescent lighting and gold for added warmth. List Price: $19 (most Omni-Bounces); $17 (Omni-Bounce Green/Gold); $29 (Omni-Bounce Green and Gold Set).

Westcott's new Rapid Box softbox system for on-camera flashes opens and folds much like an umbrella, making it very fast to set up and use. The shallow depth of the design is ideal for working from tight areas, and each includes a one-stop diffusion panel and an adjustable shoe mount that's compatible with most modern flashes. Currently available in three sizes, the 10x24-inch Strip provides the benefits of a standard low-profile softbox, while the larger 26-inch Octa and 20-inch Octa Mini feature an octagonal front panel for better catchlights and a more even light spread compared to rectangular softboxes. An optional Deflector Plate also is compatible with all three for converting the softbox systems into an open-face reflective beauty dish for fashion and portraiture. List Price: $169 (20-inch Octa Mini, 10x 24-inch Strip); $199 (26-inch Octa); $23 (Deflector Plate).

Westcott Rapid Box 10x24-inch Strip
Flash heads often incorporate swiveling and tilting designs in order to bounce light output from walls or ceilings. This results in a much more natural overall light spread with less shadows, for much more flattering candids and portraits.

When shooting outdoors or in larger spaces, however, bounce can be ineffective or even detrimental because you're pointing your flash away from the subject. Tools that shape, channel or bounce the light from your flash will give you control over the direction of your light output even when shooting outside. Popular tools for directional control include reflectors, bounce cards, beauty dishes, grids and umbrellas, as well as flags and gobos, which actually control light by blocking it.

ExpoImaging Rogue Starter Lighting Kit
ExpoImaging has a large selection of light-modification tools specifically designed to enhance flash output, including a number of versatile kits like the Rogue Starter, Rogue Portrait and Rogue Master Lighting Kits. Each system combines several bounce and diffusion tools, like the FlashBender Reflectors, which act as bendable, but stiff white reflection panels that can shape and channel reflected light much like a snoot. (They also can be used as snoots by twisting them into a cone.) The Rogue Master Kit offers four diffusion and bounce panels, a honeycomb grid and two gel kits. Estimated Street Price: Begins at $99 (Rogue Starter Lighting Kit).

Beauty dishes are popular for fashion photography and portraiture because of the soft, flattering effect of bounced light and the beautiful circular catchlights that the round open-face fixtures produce in the eyes. Flashpoint offers the 6-inch Q Series Beauty Dish Reflector in "A" and "B" sizes for accommodating most popular flash models. They also have a larger 12-inch Beauty Dish Kit for Shoe-Mount Flash, which comes with a bracket, deflector, honeycomb grid and fabric diffuser. Estimated Street Price: $54 (Flashpoint Q Series 6-inch Beauty Dish Reflector); $89 (Flashpoint 12-inch Beauty Dish Kit for Shoe-Mount Flash).


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