This photography accessories will make you a Pro
Better Flash Lights
What is better than one light? Two. Two lights allow you to create depth and dimension in your images. Essentially all photography is two dimensional. But the problem is we attempt to showcase a three dimensional scene in that two dimensional frame. As you can imagine that is a tough ask. To effectively create that illusion of depth and dimension in your images you need to be able to separate a subject from the background using light.
With a single light you can play around and make some interesting compositions. But essentially, you will be limited in your creativity. With two lights you increase your options exponentially.
You can use one as your key-light, the other as your fill-light and the third could alternatively fill the role of a background light and a backlight. A million different combinations of these three lights will allow you to shoot high-key, low-key, contrasty, professional portraits, high-fashion model shoots and every other type of imagery you can think of.
Okay, so apart from external light, what else you need to get to have a complete set of the essential and best accessories to make you a pro photographer?
Buy some Modifiers
Light modifiers are basically light shaping accessories. You attach them to your light source and you shape the light. Just because all photography revolves around light, the more you can shape it the better your images will be. These are some of must-haves as an advanced DSLR photographer.
- Softboxes – softboxes are basically contraptions that come in several different sizes and shapes, with an opaque compartment which allows the fitment of a light source inside and a translucent front end that works to diffuse the light. Inside a softbox you get an option to use a reflective material for increasing the intensity of the light. Softboxes are quintessential modifiers that most photographers use to create flattering portraits. Check out the best selling Lighting Controls & Modifiers on Amazon.
- Grids – while we speak of grids we need to understand where they come from. Grids are basically a type of snoot. A snoot is a type of light modifier that allows you to channelize light in a narrow beam. The whole purpose of using these light modifiers is so that you can illuminate specific areas of the image and nothing beyond that (unlike softboxes). That means grids and snoots create a hard light for more intense looking portraits. Grids, snoots and of course gobos are therefore ideal for the purpose of directing the light on to specific areas of a scene. Essentially these all create hard and directional light.
- Umbrellas – photographers have been bouncing light to make it softer and thereby more flattering for their subjects. The idea is to reduce the intensity, creating a softer light. Directing the light towards ceiling or walls was born to that effect. Umbrellas simply make that a bit easier to manage, the result being a lot more predictable. An umbrella, has a reflective inner side which reflects light back on to the scene.
Light stands / multi-use stands
Light stands or multi-use stands are extremely useful. They allow you to setup your lights, your softboxes, your umbrellas and your backdrops. They basically function as an arm that holds up the light at an angle you want for the shot. They do the exact same thing for light modifiers. For quickly setting up a backdrop for your portraits or other photos stands are the perfect accessories for your studio.
Hand-held light meter
Ever wondered why even with the best of technology our cameras often fail to nail the metering for a scene; especially when they are confronted with a tricky lighting situation? That’s because of a fundamental flaw in how these cameras meter a scene. You see digital cameras use a method known as reflected light for measuring how much light is there in a scene. So it’s not about how much light falls on a subject that determines the required exposure value but how much of it is reflected off from it. Sounds kind of lame isn’t? That’s why professionals opt for hand-held / external light meters.
So what gives? Well, the thing is external light meters don’t consider the light that’s being bounced off from a scene, but rather the light that falls on a scene to determine the corresponding exposure value, which is more accurate.
Additionally, it is possible to sample a very small section of the image and accurately meter based on that. This is something that is impossible to do with a built-in light meter as even with spot metering turned on the sample size is often 3-5% of the frame, which is still pretty large. Additionally, if you change the lens the sample size can get bigger which will affect the accuracy of the results.
Get yourself some Motion Controllers
Photographers are devising newer and more awesome methods to capture stills with the promulgation of digital cameras the competition has gotten a whole lot tougher. One such tool are motion controlled. Motion controllers like dolly or crane systems, anything basically that can be operated using a remote control or a by pre-programming in a controlled motion are great for shooting some really interesting stills. But why end it at stills? You could use these stills to create stunning hyper-lapses; which is what these are mostly used for. Hyper-lapses are similar to time-lapses except in this case the camera does not remain rooted to one spot. Instead it moves about. The problem of visual jerk and changing composition is negated by the use of these motion controllers.
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