Many portrait photographers strive to create very soft, diffused lighting for their female subjects. And most of the time, this is a good call. But I've discovered that a strong directional light from a grid modifier can produce dramatic effects that diffusers cannot.
And you can do so without spending a lot of money. For example, the The RogueGrid2 Flash Grid 3-in-1 Stacking System for electronic flashes is $39, includes stacking grids and color gels. I used this system with a speedlight to create the portrait above.
The grid was placed to the photographer's left creating a harsh, directional light. A diffused panel was positioned on the right to serve as a fill to soften the shadows and balance the overall effect.
For a weekend project, you can make your own DIY grid modifier. The article, How to Make a DIY Grid Spot Out of Straws With Tape Instead of Glue, shows you step by step how to design a grid for your flash, and for just a few dollars.
You might also be interested in a free eBook from Rocky Nook titled, Rocky Nook's Guide to Flash Terminology. It explains 43 practical flash terms, including Grid, Bounce Flash, Brolly, Cold Shoe, Forced Flash, Gobo, Hot Shoe, Ring Light, and many more. You can keep it as a reference resource on your smartphone or tablet.
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