Choose the Best Lighting Modifier for Your Photography

There are SO MANY lighting modifiers out there. I should know – I’ve tried most of them!

Which modifier is best for your photography? How can you compare them quickly and easily WITHOUT spending a fortune? Simple: use our Lighting Comparison Visualiser tool.

In this video, I conduct an epic beauty shoot, testing out every single modifier I own. Then I use the Lighting Comparison Visualiser to demonstrate 40+ different lighting effects using 20+ modifiers, showing you the pros and cons of each.

From softboxes to octaboxes, flooters to snoots, parabolic umbrellas to Pulso Spots, we cover hard and soft light, contrast, skin tone and texture, shadow sharpness, catchlights, crispness, and much, much more.

Lighting the shot

So. Many. Modifiers.

A truly epic shoot

Over the course of two days, we shot our intrepid model Brittany using every single modifier in the studio.

It was fascinating to see the different effects we could achieve as moved from one modifier to the next.

Using a graduated filter

Karl photographing Britt using a snoot

Of course, some modifiers can produce multiple effects depending on how you adjust them. For example, parabolic umbrellas typically have hard, soft, and mid positions, each of which gives a slightly different feel.
Setting up the trampoline and lighting on location

Para 222 in the 'soft' position

Developing the Lighting Comparison Visualiser

Once we’d wrapped up the shoot, it was time to collate all the images and develop the visualisation tool. 

We made it super-easy to compare the effects of different modifiers with a side-by-side display for both head-and-shoulder and full-length shots.

The final fashion image

Bare bulb vs Para 88 in 'hard' position

Thanks to the incredible consistency of Britt’s poses, playing with the Lighting Comparision Visualiser feels a bit like experimenting with different presets or filters in post-production.

But what you’re actually comparing are genuine variations in lighting, captured in-camera.

The final fashion image

110 deep umbrella vs Pico Fresnel

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Whether you’re looking to buy, rent or borrow a modifier – or wondering which of your existing modifiers might best suit the needs of a particular shoot – give this awesome tool a try.


  1. This section is about choosing the best light modifier for your photography and it has a link to a handy comparison tool that I really like. However, it seems to be focused on how to choose the best light modifier for this specific subject or similar (a flawless female model). A visual aid like this for subjects better suited to a different set of modifiers would be killer. Just within the realm of portraits, you’ve got male models, elderly people, children, highly blemished skin, highly wrinkled skin, and so on. I suspect a Para 133 or hard beauty dish, for example, is going to hurt more than help when used on a lot of everyday people, correct?

    I think exploring this would be very helpful to many users, because most people who are learning probably do not have access to every modifier, and are probably not booking models.

  2. johnleigh

    Ive only just seen this post and video I somehow missed last year!
    Having watched the whole thing and played with the results in the visualiser tool it was great to see this and the work that went into producing.

    Im a speedlite guy due to space, budget etc at a small home studio and appreciated seeing the look and feel of the different modifiers like this — im guilty of aqcuiring multiple softboxes, umbrellas, snoots, fresnel so have plenty to work with but always dithering when i have a model in front of me because I want to use them all still .
    Most actors and models want a “variety” of looks so I do end up using several – in some ways I wish I could just focus on one or two but on the other hand I love mixing it up.

    Finally, seeing your comparisons is more than super helpful as not only great to see those results and looks, but that its confirmation that even with my modest and smaller size gear and setup I can obtain similar results

    1. Great to hear John hopefully it will also be a useful future reference. We are going to expand the app out into other genres too.

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