Light Modifiers and Portraits: Choosing What’s Best For You

Updated: Feb 21

You have decided that now is the perfect time to shoot portraits with an advanced lighting setup but do you know how to go about it?

For any photographer, lighting techniques do come in handy and are a must to consider. However, if you do not have the right tools to shape and direct the light from your source, you might end up with poor quality shots.


Light modifiers are just one of a number of these tools that really come in handy. If you are looking to add this tool to your shots, here are a few things to help you choose the perfect modifier.


’'The larger the modifier, the softer the light.’’

Photo umbrellas are versatile, with shoot-through and reflective versions. Parabolic umbrellas are available with diffusion socks as well offering an even softer light modification. These umbrellas produce a broad output, but without much direction.


To gain more control over their light source without sacrificing portability, many on-location photographers choose to use the Rapid Box. This light modifier acts as a beauty dish with its optional deflector plate in place, producing a specular light output. These modifiers set up instantly, with an umbrella-style frame and are lightweight yet durable.


For a broader output with less light falloff, you can use a deep parabolic softbox as an overhead light. These large, heavy-duty modifiers are perfect for in-studio beauty and portrait photography. There are particular types that offer two diffusion panels and two mounting methods for precise light control.



The most traditional light source that is most ideal is a professional rectangular softbox. These light modifiers are durable and perfect for in-studio photography. Some of them come with diffusion panels and have available grids for the ultimate in directional control.


Looking to buy, rent or borrow a modifier or wondering which of your existing modifiers might best suit the needs of a particular shoot, choose one based off what you are trying to achieve.

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