Using Various Lighting Equipment In Your Digital Photography

Whether you take pictures in a studio or in the great outdoors, you will find that there are many pieces of flash accessories and equipment that can be extremely useful for digital photography. The more you learn about this equipment, the more you will be able to determine what is useful for your own photography and what is not. Choosing the right flash equipment will be very important for your digital photography.


Create Your Own Equipment

There are many things that could be in your home right now that can be turned into very useful flash equipment. You never know what you may find in your home that could be used, and in many ways, you will find experimenting with different things will be the best way to better your digital photography. Here are some of the household items that you could put to use along with helpful tips on how to use them.

Cardboard
Did you know that cardboard can be a useful tool in digital photography? In fact, it can be used in many ways in conjunction with your flash. A plain white piece of cardboard makes an excellent reflector. A colored piece of cardboard can be used as a reflector and can change the whole hue of the image. In addition, a large piece of cardboard can be an excellent way to block out the light.

If you want to get really creative, you can cut out shapes into the cardboard to allow the light in through those shapes. It is a great way to create interesting shapes on images or in the background.

Foam Board
This type of board can be used like cardboard as a reflector. Since the board is more rigid than cardboard, it is great when you need a large scale reflector across a whole image.

Aluminum Foil
If you want a reflector that reflects sharp and high contrast light, then you will need to use aluminum foil. This foil will reflect the light much more sharply. To use aluminum foil, simply cover a piece of cardboard or foam board with the foil and then use the board as a reflector.

Umbrellas
There are studio umbrellas that will be discussed later, but you can also put your household umbrellas to good use. They are great for trapping light around the subject when you want the whole image to be illuminated and umbrellas will certainly help to eliminate shadows. Be careful of colored umbrellas, though, since they can create unusual color casts.

Studio Quality Equipment

There may come a time in your digital photography when you will want to make use of studio style equipment. This type of equipment will be more expensive, but it will be designed specifically for the purposes of digital photography. This means that the equipment will be designed to provide the optimal conditions through tried and true photography methods. If you make the decision to move to studio quality flash equipment, then you will want to consider the following.

Light Tents
These tents will be made of a soft white material and they will often unfold to resemble something like a lightbox. Light tents are generally very small, so they are not for photographing people, but instead are used for objects. Since light will only be allowed in the tent through one opening, you will have complete control. Light tents are a great way to create soft, all around light without shadows and without odd reflections.

Studio Umbrellas
Studio umbrellas will closely resemble standard umbrellas, but they will be much larger and they will be made of a specific material. Generally, studio umbrellas are made of a silver Mylar material that will reflect light well. These umbrellas are very useful for trapping light and keeping it around the subject. They also work well at reflecting light for the image. In addition, you will find specialty umbrellas called shoot through models. These umbrellas will be made of a very thin and sheer material. These umbrellas can be used as reflectors or light trappers when you only want to make use of some of the light. Shoot through umbrellas can also be placed over the camera flash to create an extremely diffused image.

Studio Lights
In a studio situation, you will need much more than just flash lighting to create the right elements. This is why professional photographers make use of studio lights. These lights work on a track or on free standing units. They provide a variety of ambient lights to create the right softness or for eliminating shadows. Specialty studio lights, such as modeling lights, are designed specifically for portraiture.

Slave Flashes
When you need more of a flash element than what is built into your camera, then slave flashes could be the option to up the ante on your digital photography. These flashes are called slave because they work off of the main flash that you use. They use a sensor that detects when your camera flash fires and then they fire just a split second later. Be aware that slave flashes will not work well if you are using your camera pre-flash mode.

Reflectors
Reflectors are designed to make sure that the light from the flash is reflected onto the subject. Reflectors vary in type. The ones that include silver aluminum foil will reflect the light in a sharp, high contrast manner. Reflectors made from a white material will reflect the light in a more diffused manner. When you need light to hit a subject but not in a harsh, direct way, you will need to use studio reflectors.

When it comes to digital photography, you already know just how important lighting is. In addition, now you know the different methods of using the lighting to your best advantage through the proper lighting equipment. Whether created in your own home or purchased, lighting equipment can be versatile and extremely helpful in any situation.

Top image by bredgur

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