It took only a few Facebook chat sessions for us, the Outdoorphoto Media Department, to come to an agreement that Charl, That Guy With Glasses, will test our Profoto light modifiers to show our readers the difference. After a failed attempt to shoot at tasha’s cafe at Menlyn Maine (I think the light stands and modifiers might have scared them off a bit) we got permission from the head honcho to commence our shoot inside of the main building.
A big thanks to the lovely Dimitra Alex who did my make-up and Meagan who styled my hair.
The Beauty Dish
The Beauty Dish gives off contrasting light, which is great, if not the best for head-shots. But, if you are shooting more than just someone’s portrait, you will need to combine the beauty dish with additional lights to counteract the light fall-off which isn’t great on the rest of the body.
The Profoto OCF Silver Umbrella is definitely the easiest out of all 3 Profoto light modifiers to transport and setup. It’s also lightweight and the most affordable as you don’t have to buy any grids or ring attachments. When close to the subject, the Silver Umbrella gives off harsh light, but you can achieve softer light by simply moving it further away from your subject. Compared to the conventional white umbrella, it also gives you more shots out of your battery pack, making this modifier the sensible choice.
In effect, the Profoto Octabox fits in somewhere between the beauty dish and the silver umbrella with the look it provides. Think of its look as a fusion between the umbrella and the beauty dish – providing contrast, yet fills out the entire subject. For a professional-looking shoot on location, I’d definitely go with the Octabox (provided you’ve got an assistant).
A reflector is most people’s go-to light shaping tool for on-location shoots. It’s compact and weighs next to nothing, all you really need is a pair of extra hands to hold it. I personally find that reflectors to deliver inconsistent lighting as the slightest movement from the person holding it changes the way in which the light hits the person’s face. Also, you need quite a bit of light to bounce to really make it effective. However, a reflector works really well if it’s placed underneath the model’s chin and doubled up with the beauty dish for that clamshell setup and evenly-lit effect.