Many people are familiar with standard modifiers such as softboxes or grids, but I often get a lot of questions about the specialist studio lighting equipment I use in my studio and what lights I use to create certain emotions and effects.
Here I’m going to give you a run-through of some of the kit I have in my studio and explain how they work and how I use them.
Also found in lighthouses, fresnels have a ridged or stepped glass lens that creates a strong, concentrated beam of light that can be cast a very long way.
The design of these lights produce a lovely fall-off of light and they also have the ability to focus to a tight spot or spread to a larger, softer light.
I have a few different types of fresnels in my studio, including large, medium and small sizes.
The largest of these is the broncolor flooter, which I often use to create background glows or spotlight key parts of an image. I also have the smaller Pulso Spot 4, which I’ll discuss in more detail later.
Finally, I also have fresnel attachments for picolites, which are small lamp heads commonly used by product photographers. These specialist lights have multiple attachments, including fresnels and projection attachments.
Projection attachments are specialist modifiers that allow you to create very precise patches of light. By adjusting the four blades within the attachment, it’s possible to create everything from circular to rectangular patches of light.
These modifiers also have the ability to focus and defocus the light, giving you very precise control over the final effect.
I commonly use picolite projection attachments for product photography, but if I’m shooting anything that’s on a larger scale, for example portraiture or fashion, then the broncolor Pulso Spot 4 is useful.
Pulso Spot 4
Unlike the other modifiers I’ve discussed, the Pulso Spot 4 is a single unit and the lamp does not have the ability to detach.
This particular light can be used as both a fresnel and projection attachment, although I personally prefer to use it as the latter.
Using the projection attachment on the Pulso Spot 4 I can control the light to
create circular or rectangular patches of light, or even use gobos to make specific patterns of light, like dappled light through trees, or straight lines of light like through blinds.
To learn more about photography lighting, take a look at our extensive range of classes and articles covering everything from softboxes to parabolic reflectors. These include both theoretical explanations as well as practical demonstrations. Below is just some of the most popular content covering different types of modifiers.