The Snoot Reflector & Grid is can be used for bringing out shadow details from small areas, for example, as a hair light. If the most important tool for a photographer is light, then the most important accessory should be a light modifier.
Berton used a short piece of PCV pipe and put it on a cheap light stand so that different heights could be achieved easily.
This DIY adjustable unit will save you a few bucks – white ripstop the project parts were $28 and with mirrored ripstop the total came to $36.
Here are the instructions with the measurements for the PVC and how long to cut them, including the materials needed. If you want to learn more about Light and become a master of it, you must have the proper foundation. In Joseph’s answer, he described that in a fashion shoot, it’s actually a collaboration of different disciplines. Using three light sources, the key light is the main light source where the over all exposure is based on. To separate the subject from the background and to create dimension, the back light is angled at the back.
Thank you Marienella Calderon for the beautiful poses and George Villamor for the flawless makeup.
Photographic lighting is broadly classified into two High Key lighting and Low Key lighting. The picture above was taken inside of a small coffee shop, the subject was mad to stand in front of a door leading to the inner room which was considerably darker thus making a pure black background. One could easily master this lighting technique, only remember that your final image will consist of predominantly shadow regions and only the main subject either in full or part will be illuminated. So the idea is to control the spread of your light source so that it only illuminates the areas you desire. A point to note is that you will either need a professional studio or a considerably dark room or area to work, if you do not have access to such facilities you could just find a relatively dark space and it will suffice.
If you have a fairly large dark room to work with you could do without a black background, else having a black background is very convenient, especially if the level of ambient light is high and there is some light spill happening from your light sources. To get clean noise free images and to eliminate chances of ambient light contamination set your camera to the lowest ISO setting.
It is recommended to shoot in RAW format as it gives you much more control in adjusting highlights and shadows during post processing. If you are using ETTL or ITTL compatible lights then you could easily shift your camera to Aperture Priority (AV) mode, set the desired aperture and do a test shot, examine it in your LCD screen, check the histogram and add exposure compensation if necessary. The other approach is to go the manual way, set the camera to manual mode, since you need no ambient light to register set your shutterspeed at your camera’s sync speed, set the desired aperture value (configure light power accordingly) and shoot.
Black and White is the most widely used mode for low key photography but when the lighting is right even color photographs could be just as effective. Since your picture consists predominantly shadows, all the attention of the viewer is immediately directed to the portion of the frame that is illuminated.


With the heat of August, I thought that nothing will beat making a small beach set photo in the chill studio. The key light is positioned to the left of the frame, slightly behind the main subject and is quite hard.
In this case the main light is simulating the sun, so it makes sense for it to very hard shadows. With only the key light the shadows are so dark that you lose quite a bit of details of the shadowed areas.
Aside the slide, I also placed a blue gel inside the slide mount to make the projected image have a stronger color. I did a small modification to the white balance when I imported the RAW (to make it a bit warmer), and gave it a bit more contrast and saturation. To see more of his work please visit his studio website blurMEDIAphotography, or follow him on Twitter, 500px, Google Plus or YouTube. Stefan Kohler is a conceptual photographer, specialized in mixing science, technology and photography.
When he isn't waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. The photographs that I create are a moment in time, what I see with my eyes through the lens, I share with the world! The Snoot comes with a grid attachment, which will make the small circle of light much softer. The snoot reflector provides a 15° controlled spot of light, with a hard shadow effect that can be used for low key photography. For the configuration that is available in your country please contact your local Elinchrom channel partner. He uses this DIY triple reflector daily for products and corporate headshots for his company. One was used for the main and the other for the backlight while the third light was used to create the gradient background.
The idea is not to totally remove the shadows but to maintain a good ratio between main light and fill light. As much as we need the light to be able to see, the shadow plays an equal role in creating the dimension of the scene.
Due to the presence of shadows, Low key portraits are often very dramatic and do convey a lot of atmosphere and tension.
Pictures taken with high key lighting conveys a happy mood perfect for a rich and lively setting and those taken in low key lighting convey more drama and intensity perfect setting for a horror film kind of scene.
That brings various photographic light modifiers like barn doors, snoots, grid spots, cutters, flags etc to use. Low key shots could be taken outdoors when the amount of sunlight available is relatively low, like in early morning and late evening. What is important is the direction and strength of your light source; it is what determines the mood of the picture.


It takes good knowledge of light, shadows and tones and skill to control shadow detail to make a good low key photograph. In this product shot, I am going to use three lights to simulate outdoor sunlight for a small scale product octopus attack shot. Given this similarity I decided to make a light hearted photo using an action figure I own. The reason for positioning the strobe on the left side is to help bring out the 3d nature of the model. In the first photograph it was a bit too close to the scene and casted a small shadow (see bottom left) obstructing the key light. The grids are in differing honeycomb sizes to ensure that the light sources are of an exceptional quality. Berton says he got the inspiration to make this reflector from the DIY posts that we feature from time to time.
Although this is a topic where you can write an entire book out of it, I’ll try to simplify it and probably cross my fingers and hope that you’ll understand it.
This is essential since the back light should be able to create a good hair line or a rim light coming from the sides of the subject.
He said that it is important to add the light one at a time so you don’t mix them all up and end up with lights spilling all over the scene.
The challenge is to imagine the scene and realize it by manipulating the light and shadow through artificial or natural light. The larger the room the easier it will be to work, you could put some distance between the subject and your background and thus it becomes easier to light your subject without the fear of light reaching the background (light contamination). Do experiment with your lighting (strength, direction and light ratios) and subject placement till you get the shadows to fall exactly where you want them. The light is almost perfectly aligned on axis with the lens and it provides a very soft light.
Sadly, in this photograph, adding the panel did very little to light the subject and the difference is almost unnoticeable. As far as the action figure goes, I made her skin pink, increased contrast on the eyes, and removed the joints in the legs. Reflectors over the years have come in all shapes and sizes, and can be used in many different ways. This is achieved by varying the power of the key light and the fill light; otherwise known as the light ratio.
It is also possible to take perfect low key images using available light, only make sure that you place your subject in such a way that the subject gets at least a couple of stops more light that its surroundings. The tried and true triple reflector is a favorite of glamor and headshots, and this DIY tutorial will show you how to make one for less than $40.



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