grid Tag

I don't want to get too McGyver-ie on you guys, 'cause I'm sure we've all seen the countless disasters of DIY (Do It Yourself) projects, especially in the photography field. People making soft boxes out of cardboard and tinfoil, for example. Some of these contraptions make sense, some don't come close, some require just as much money making your own crappy version of the original item (not to mention a week's worth of hours constructing it), and even in the end, if the duct taped frankenstein of a project actually does what it's supposed to, it will never scream "professional" and you would have to be an idiot use it on a professional photo shoot in front of a paying client. However, every once in a while, a little savvy with mods to existing and legitimate photo gear can workout in your favor, save some money, and produce great results. My off-camera lighting journey started in overdrive. It was go big or go home when it came to integrating lights in my shoots, meaning I started out and exclusively used larger studio strobes for my work (as opposed to using speedlites, also called hot shoes). Not that it was a regrettable choice, I love the big lights and I still use them for 75% of my work, but I invested heavily and exclusively into those lights and light modifiers. When it came to that other 25% of the time, when I'm not shooting commercial work or I don't need the horsepower from big lights, I wanted to use the way more convenient, smaller, and lighter speedlites. So I bought a handful of speedlites a couple years back for just those occasions. Aside from the initial expense of the speedlites, I also had to take into account all of the light modifiers. If I wanted the same type of control that I have with my strobe lighting set, would I have to go all out and purchase the speedlite variation of all the strobe medication gear to accomplish this? I owned like... 12+ light modifiers specifically to fit my studio strobes. I initially had no problem shelling out money for the strobe light modifiers, as big lights and big modifiers gave me awesome light, and I was willing to pay for it. Once I started researching speedlite specific light modifiers, my jaw dropped to find they cost just as much, if not more, money for them! I couldn't believe it. I knew that speedlites were very popular, but man, the photo market is all to wise to that fact, and all of us photogs are paying for it. Markup on small light gear for those tiny little speedlites is out of control.

matty_7.1.10_ 165 So, what do you need to use when you are looking for softbox-like light quality without having light spill all over the place? The answer is simple, the gridded softbox. It gives you the same control over light as normal grid spots that you'd throw in front of a normal barebulb light, but now with soft, beautiful light. I've always loved using grid spots on my barebulbs, but the light can just be so harsh on a subject's face, especially when it is one of the key lights. The gridded softbox works on that same principle, controlling the light and only letting it hit a small portion of a subject, but now you can get those pleasing contrasts and skin tones you can't get very well with barebulb lighting. That's typically my problem too, wanting that gorgeous, soft light on my subjects (usually female), but having trouble trying to keep the light off of other elements of the photo. It's not an easy task, that is, until now. Notice the photo below, my subject is literally 2-3 feet away from a black sheet used for a background, yet no light is spilling onto it. Even though it is a black sheet, if you were using a normal softbox for a light modifier, you'd have light spill onto the sheet and you'd get a little grey tint to the background. The grid added to the softbox directs the light on just my subject... a very good thing in this case.