FAQ About Strobes and Lighting Accessories
Sure, you may know the ins and outs of your camera, but without good lighting, the resulting shot will fall far short of your vision. In a controlled setting like a studio, strobe lights and lighting accessories channel light to enhance the photo and flatter your subject. Learn how these tools can help you create the photo you want.
What are strobe lights?
A strobe light acts like a flash for your DSLR. Unlike a built-in or attachment flash, a strobe light isn't meant to be physically connected to your camera. You can place it under, over, or beside your subject depending on the lighting effect you're going for. For example, using strobes for a studio portrait shot can bring out more detail on the person's face and soften the skin, as well as tone down shadows in the background.
What are the main types of strobe lighting accessories?
Simply pointing a powerful light source toward your subject won't guarantee the perfect shot. Nifty tools like an umbrella, softbox, or reflector help you control the character of your light for a more aesthetically pleasing effect.
A versatile and portable tool, an umbrella helps spread and smooth out light, as well as fills in any remaining shadows cast by the main light source. Typically used for portraits, it can be used with the inside or outside facing the subject to bounce off light and create a softer look. It comes in various shapes, sizes, and colours, depending on what best suits the subject and situation.
Like an umbrella, a softbox diffuses light to create a soft and even effect; however, it's better at controlling the light's shape and direction. It can be used as the primary light source to mimic natural-looking light, or as a secondary or fill light to take the edge off any harsh shadows. Any time you need to soften the lighting such as in fashion, food, product, portrait, or wedding photography, a softbox can come in handy. The variety of shapes and sizes gives you the option to shape the light according to your subject matter.
A reflector is a way to redirect light to enhance a scene, as well as bounce it off to brighten areas on your subject's face that would otherwise be in shadow. It comes in white, gold, and silver colours, or a combination of the 3 hues, and a variety of shapes. Many can fold down compactly for easy storage and transport.
What are the main types of camera flash accessories?
Like strobe lighting, the built-in or attached flash on your camera pointed directly at your subject can wash out the picture. Tools like a honeycomb or grid, or small versions of a softbox or reflector can affect the way light strikes your subject matter.
Grid or honeycomb
A grid, often constructed in a honeycomb pattern, attaches in front of the flash to focus the light. Depending on the size and depth of the grid, you can create a variety of spotlight effects, whether you're bringing attention to just a part of your subject or a spot in the background.
Small softbox and mini-reflector
Small softboxes and mini-reflectors are specially designed for use with your on-camera flash, effectively converting your flash into a softer light source.