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Amazingly soft light in a female portrait.

Reproduction of natural light environments using small flash heads and large light modifiers.

Enhancing the beauty of an elegant and sophisticated female portrait through the use of soft, diffused light, in all locations and under any light conditions.

Quality of light – of any sort – is the characteristic that is most evident to ordinary observers, and is of even greater value to those who possess a heightened sensibility towards this fascinating natural phenomenon.

One of the wonderful dynamics of light establishes that the range of tonal transitions (general softness of light) is directly proportionate to the size of the light source; thus large light modifiers (often very close to the subject), including reflector ceilings or white walls, translucent photographic panels and umbrellas, large soft-boxes and related accessories, can be used to obtain light that is progressively softer and more rounded.

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Example of illumination using a 110cm translucent umbrella, Lastolite Joe McNally Triflash with three Nikon SB-190 flash heads. Nikon D3 + Nikon SU-800, Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8G, 1/2000sec @ f 2.8, ISO 200. Model: Emanuela.

Translucent panels.

In the first two images below, the principal accessory used is the Lastolite Professional Joe McNally Skylite Kit translucent panel (Code LR81145JM), mounted on a 100x100cm screen and supported by an independent crossbar to guarantee increased overall flexibility. This particular light modifier provides a superior level of diffusion, thanks to its double translucent fabric layer that captures around 1.5 e.V of light energy.

MSOX_17
Example of illumination using a 100x100cm translucent panel with two Cactus RF-60 wireless flash heads. Nikon D3 + Cactus V6 TX, Nikkor 70-200mm VRII f2.8G, 1/80sec @ f 2.8, ISO 1250, Fluorescent WB. Model: Emanuela.
MSOX_28
Detailed image of the flash heads mounted on the accessory bar and equipped with “FULL GREEN” colour correction filters, which are essential to ensure chromatic balance between the subject (illuminated by the flash heads) and the lamps on location (mercury vapour lamps).
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Image showing the photographic set ready for the previous image.
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Example of illumination using a 100x100cm translucent panel (key light) and 30x120cm Lastolite Professional Hotrod Strip-light softbox (rim light). Nikon D3 + Cactus V6, Nikkor 70-200mm VRII f2.8G, 1/80sec @ f 2.8, ISO 1250, Fluorescent WB. Model: Emanuela
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Image showing the photographic set ready to take the previous picture

Octagonal Softbox.

Increasingly popular thanks to their unique shape and subsequent reflection projected in the eyes of the subject, the octagonal softbox is available in various sizes (from 60cm to over 200cm) and is equipped with sophisticated accessories such as internal deflectors and front grids.
The following three images were created by the sole use of the 120cm Lastolite Professional Ezybox II Octa softbox (Code LL LS2721) with an internal and external diffusor screen, Lastolite Ezybox II Quad Bracket adaptor (Code LL LS2530)

MSOX_12
Example of illumination using a 120cm octagonal softbox. Nikon D3 + Cactus V6, 4 Nikon/Cactus flash heads, Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8G, 1/250s @ f 7.1, ISO 100, Cloudy WB. Model: Emanuela
MSOX_19
Image showing photographic set ready to take the previous picture.
Example of illumination using a 120 cm octagonal softbox and natural light. Nikon D3 + Cactus V6, 4 Nikon/Cactus flash heads, Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8G, 1/250s @ f 7.1, ISO 100, Cloudy WB. Model: Emanuela.
Example of illumination using a 120 cm octagonal softbox
and natural light.
Nikon D3 + Cactus V6, 4 Nikon/Cactus flash heads, Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8G, 1/250s @ f 7.1, ISO 100, Cloudy WB.
Model: Emanuela.
The light source separated into its main parts.
The light source separated into its main parts.
Example of illumination using a 120cm octagonal softbox and natural light. Nikon D3 + Cactus V6, 4 Nikon/Cactus flash heads, Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8G, 1/250s @ f 11, ISO 100, Cloudy WB. Model: Emanuela.
Example of illumination using a 120cm octagonal softbox
and natural light.
Nikon D3 + Cactus V6, 4 Nikon/Cactus flash heads,
Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8G, 1/250s @ f 11, ISO 100, Cloudy WB.
Model: Emanuela.
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Detailed image of the back of the Ezybox II Quad Bracket, capable of holding up to 4 sliding flash heads and an optional radio receiver to share the synchronisation impulse, by means of the included connection wires.

Giant umbrellas.

Probably the most practical and economical light modifier, as well as being already the one most used with continuous lighting; the photographic umbrella continues to be very popular among amateurs and professionals alike. Today, umbrellas are available not only in superior materials and with a higher quality of construction, but above all in sizes previously never even taken into consideration, including 150cm to 230cm.
The following images were created using a translucent Lastolite Professional Mega Umbrella (Code LL U7907F) with a diameter of 180cm; light yet sturdy, with a standard attachment point for studio flash heads, or for portable flash heads by using specific adaptors, such as the Lastolite Professional Joe McNally Triflash (Code LL LR2457JM) and the Lastolite Professional Quad Bracket (Code LL LS2535).

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Example of illumination using a direct 180cm translucent umbrella (Butterfly technique) and a translucent panel beneath the face of the subject. Glow effect on the left of the image created in post-production. Nikon D3 + Nikon SU-800, 3 Nikon SB-910 flash heads, Nikkor 70-200mm VRII f2.8G, 1/125sec@ f 2.8, ISO 400, Cloudy WB. Model: Emanuela.
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Image showing photographic set ready to take the previous picture.

The original article was written by the author in Italian and has been translated for the purpose of the MSoX website.

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