Master the light : diffuser lamp 1

Master the light : diffuser lamp 1

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We will talk about diffuser lamp in this article, as a reminder, these are the different stuffs that you will mount in front of your strobe flash, there is a lot, here I present you some of them, the rest will comes later.

In this series of articles we will focus on the light in portrait, as a lover of the fashion photography, the control of the light is essential in portraits, you can create emotions, suggest things which one does not see in first look.

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Introduction :

I must first tell you about the hot spot, it's the center of your light, and therefore the brightest part. You have the choice to put it at the level of the face of your model, and mesure to do not make this area over-exposed, or to shift it on a none visible area of the photo and to use the zone around to illuminate the model.

A little reminder, it’s generally recommended to put its light as high as possible, I would do articles talking about whole shoots, where I will explain how I place well the light more in detail.

Let's start this series by my favorite diffuser lamps, the advantage of often using the same stuff will be more comfortable.

Let's go !

Shade dish :

The shade dish is my favorite one, you can use it in almost any situation, it’s light, small and gives you a hard light. So you will get beautiful sharp on skin and clothing.
We must take into account how your diffuser lamp is going to look like on the face of your model, this one has the peculiarity to create a hard, but beautiful, transition between the shades and the lights.

If you want to use 2 strobes, this one can very well light up the front of your model as the main light, the side, the back, but also the background !

It’s usually sold with a diffuser, so if your light is too hard, put the diffuser in front and it will soften the shadows. There are also grids that are great for focusing your light, and creating more dramatic images, very handy for suggesting or erasing the background.

Shade dish only : the strobe is next to me on my left about 2 meters high.

Beauty dish :

The beauty dish has the same features as the shade dish, except that it is much larger, so the area covered is wider.

It has the advantage of having in the center a piece that can soften the hot spot, so this area with is pretty uniform, which is perfect for portraits.

You will sometimes have the choice between a white or silver interior lining, the reflected light will be different depending on the chosen color. The white will give a soft texture to the skin of the model, while the silver will give a cold tone and a sharping texture.

Grid and a Diffuser can also be added to a beauty dish, the grid will focus the light on a small area, which will highlight the face or part of the body of your model and darken the background. The diffuser is used in case of the light gives you too much highlight, if you put it the light will be softer.

Small precision on the placement of the beauty dish with the grid, with other modelers,  I used to recommend to put them as high as possible, here it's better to place it at the level of the face of your model to have pretty shadows .

Just like the rectangular softbox, if you use the grid I recommend you to use a second light to give more relief to your model.

If the beauty dish is your main light, you have to put the second in a more discreet way so that it is only there to suggest.
Conversely, if the beauty dish is the secondary light, you can put it has a backlight or on a different area than the main light.

Beauty dish with grid at the top right, a little behind the model. A rectangular softbox with grid is on the left to emphasize the silhouette.

The rectangular softbox:

A softbox gives several types of light depending on the shape or if you put the diffusers.
I would tell you about the different softboxes in future articles, there is the square, rectangular and octagonal.

Its main function is to have a soft light, in case you remove the diffuser, it will have the functionality as an umbrella, wich means a wide and hard light.

The rectangular has the advantage of covering a wide area on the length, but thin on the width, so it is perfect to give a good value of the body on its length or width. If you put it on the side you can illuminate the body and darken the background.

If the rectangular softbox is your main light, pay attention to the shadow on the face, it will tend to be unsightly, that's why I recommend you put a second light or a white poly on the opposite side to illuminate the other part of the face, and give more relief to your photo.

Left: Rectangular softbox with grid on the left and beauty dish with grid on the right, at the back of the model.
Right: Rectangular softbox only on the back.


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