Achieving perfect light on location is one of the primary challenges versus the controlled environment of a studio. For the ultimate in on-location lighting, monolights are relatively portable, affordable and easy to use. (See our coverage of high-powered monolights suitable for outdoor use. Also check out the article featuring battery-powered monolights in our sister publication, Digital Photo Pro.)
If you’re working with flash, modifiers are extremely helpful for fine-tuning flash output. Modifiers help you control the light through diffusion, shape and directional control, and color correction. Diffusers reduce and spread the light from your flash for a softer effect and less contrast. They’re especially useful for portraiture and for fill lighting.
In the studio, you can bounce flash off the ceilings or walls. For outdoor shoots or really big spaces, bounces, snoots and grids, and beauty dishes help you refine your flash output to blend seamlessly with the ambient light or to create dramatic effects. Modifiers that bounce light are reflective and allow you to redirect the angle of your flash output. Snoots and grids create a spotlight effect, shaping and restricting the flash output to a specific area of your composition. Beauty dishes reflect light for a soft effect and create flattering catchlights in your subject’s eyes, ideal for portraiture.
Essential for outdoor work or mixed-lighting environments, gels let you change the color of light from your flash. Use them to match your flash output to the ambient light or for creative effect by adding color contrast to the scene.