I like to work with plain speedlites. Usually a speedlite is zoomable which gives you the ability to form the light. But often this is not enough. More light modifies are needed. If you want to restrict the light you can attach a lot of DIY items to a flash. Starting with a piece of paper and ending with a bunch of straws. Sure they work even if you have to reensemble them every time you use them. If you need reliable stuff DIY is not an option. As for the gels I decided to go for the Honl Photo Professional Lighting System.
I got the following list of items:
Let's start with the carrying bag. It is large enough to store all the modifiers mentioned above in it. With the integrated snap-hook you can easily mount the bag to your camera carrying system and have all the modifiers with you if needed.
The speed straps are made to create a Velcro surface on your flash to mount all the modifiers and gels on. You just wrap them around you flash and you're done.
The gobo has white and a block side. You simply attach it to the flash using the speed strap. Usually it is used to prevent light spreading in areas you don't want to have light in. For example they are useful to light the background but hide the flash from the camera. Otherwise you'll get unwanted flares in the captured images.
A grid behaves like is snoot but does not provide a hard light falloff. As you can see on the example images the grid provides a soft fading out light. The grid is available as 1/4″ and 1/8″ version. The 1/8″ version provides a smaller light circle than the 1/4″ version. I do not recommend to use a combination of gel and grid at the same time if you mount the gel below the grid. The will cause the gel to melt if the flash is powered high enough. I tried this ;-) But is you mount the gel in front of the grid everything is fine. Also take care to mount the grid with enough space between the grid and the speedlite. If you don't this might damage your flash too.
The snoop basically creates a circle of light with hard edges. The size of the circle depends on the size of the snoot. There is a 5″ and a 8″ snoot available. Like the gobo the snoot is two colored. The inner side is white and the outer black. The kind of edge falloff of the light circle will change according to the selected inner color. The snoot is also usable as a reflector. This gives you the ability to enlarge the size of your light source. While I only own the black/white version there is a back/gray and a black/gold version available.
Here is how an image with the bare flash looks like.
The next images demonstrate how each modifier affects the light of the speedlite. The first five images show the affection on a subject while the next 10 images show the light falloff on the wall one time in tele and the other time in wide angle mode.
I like the modifiers a lot. They are sturdy, very handy and allow the easily control the light. I can highly recommend them.
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