Photography Beauty Light Comparisons

Karl Taylor, a talented commercial photographer, knows his lighting gear. In this demonstration, he uses some of his favorite light modifiers to show their range of effects:

Taylor prefers the quality of light he gets from using Broncolor’s parabolic reflectors. These deep, umbrella-like light modifiers are versatile. The light can be focused at varied distances from the reflector to achieve different effects. For example, when the light rod is fully extended only the outer edges of the modifier throw off light. When the light is moved close in to the modifier, the light is shaped like a starburst and produces a light with higher contrast. The modifers can also be used with diffusers to create specialized softboxes.


For comparison, Taylor asked a model to pose for several images. She stood next to a large piece of white polyboard, which bounced fill light back onto her right side. He then shot portraits systematically, starting with a beauty dish and moving on to parabolic reflectors of different diameters and an octabox. For each of the parabolic reflectors, he took three shots with the light extended at various positions. His test shots used the following modifiers:

  1. 70cm beauty dish
  2. Broncolor Para 88
  3. Broncolor Para 133
  4. Broncolor Satellite Staro
  5. 150cm octabox
  6. Broncolor Para 222


Taylor’s light modifier trials show that the type and size of light has a huge impact on the look and feel of an image. When shopping for beauty lighting, keep your intended portrait style in mind. Quality of light makes a big difference.

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