The technical benefits of lighting modifiers from Improving Your Photography and Portraits with Lighting Modifiers by Robert Vanelli

Benefits of Using Light Modifiers

There are many benefits of using light modifiers. We can take a small light source such as the speedlight and make it large. With the right modifier and positioning of the light, we can shape the light to make a heavier person appear slimmer, or the opposite, add a little volume to a slimmer person. We can smooth the skin of an elderly woman to make them look a little younger, or modify the light to intensify a man’s muscles. Understanding the purpose of modifiers and what they do will help you transform from thinking technical to becoming creative.

Now, I hear a lot of people wanting to get better at portrait photography, so they ask their children to sit in on some of the sessions. If you’re a parent, you totally understand that’s not going to work, especially if you’re trying to learn something new for the first time. So, my suggestion is set up either like a mannequin or even an egg to help you understand what the light is doing. Then when you start to feel more comfortable, then bring in your children or bring in a friend for their special portrait session.

Don’t be afraid to experiment, because the only way you’re going to get really good at this stuff is by practicing over and over again. And after you take these shots, if they’re bad shots, don’t delete them. Look back at them and analyze what worked and what didn’t work so that next time you start working on your lighting techniques, you’ll know, hey, I can try this new technique and it’s always going to work for me. Or, I’m going to avoid some of the mistakes I made last time.