The 5 Best Light Shapers for Fashion Photography

I tested 5 light shapers in my studio so I was able to talk about the differences during my lecture fashion photography on July 2th. Let’s have a look at the results!

The Fashion Camera

I only used one light shaper at the same time and I did’t used any reflectors. The light shapers where all at the same distance of the model and my camera settings where the same (s 1/125 – f/7.1 – iso 125). Made with a 50mm (f/1.4) and 100mm (f/2.8 L) lens.

The Fashion Camera

The Beauty Dish White surprised me the most, because in the 4 years since I bought it, I used just a few times. But for these portraits I loved the hard shadows an high contrast. A silver beauty dish would make it even harder, but I think the white one is more beautiful. There is a dark shadow under her chin. To avoid this you can use a reflector screen in white or silver to bounce the light to lighten up the shadow. (100mm f/2.8 L lens)

The Fashion Camera

My all time favorite. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably saw me using this huge softbox very often! The Profoto RFi 5″ Octa Softbox is an octagonal light-shaping tool that is great for portraiture and fashion work because the light will ‘wrap’ around the subject. The shadows are soft and because of the big size (150cm) you can use this light shaping tool on it’s own to lighten up a model from head to toe. If I want to create a beautiful but soft light, I definitely go for this one. Sometimes I use a second light with the Strip Light Softbox to create a more dynamic light. When the softbox is very close to the model, the light will be soft, more distance between the model and the softbox means more contrast! (100mm f/2.8 L lens)

The Fashion Camera

The Profoto Umbrella White S is very easy to work with and to transport because of it’s small size. This one from Profoto is really sturdy for its small size and lightweight. The White Umbrella will create and diffused and even light with soft shadows. Great for shooting portraits on location! Did you know: the closer the umbrella is placed to your model, the softer the shadows will be. (50mm f/1.4 L lens)

The Fashion Camera

Another favorite, and so different from the Softbox Octa: the Profoto Umbrella Deep Silver L. This light shaping tool has a deeper and more parabolic shape than the average umbrella. Thanks to this deeper shape, I’ll have a better control of the light spread. It allows me to focus and shape light by sliding the umbrella shaft in its holder. The glass fiber rods make the umbrella reliable and sturdy. This silver umbrella provide a light that combines a soft shadow with beautiful highlights. Perfect for a portrait or fashion shoot where you would like to work with a good contrast. It will also work great with shiny fabrics because this combination of soft and hard light is amazing for the structure in materials to pop out! (100mm f/2.8 L lens)

The Fashion Camera

My favorite hair light, the Softbox Strip Light 30×120 cm + grid! This light shaping tool is perfect to use as a hair- or background- light during fashion shoots. Behind the model, this softbox provies the right amount of highlighting to add more ‘volume’ to the model. For this photo above, I used the softbox as my main light in front of the model. The narrow width keeps light off the background, that is also why the background is darker in this photo than in the photos above. It can be used both horizontally as vertically to create sharp shadows. A grid will provide more contrast and I’m able to shape the light even more! (50mm f/1.4 L lens)


Watch my video in Dutch about these light shapers!

Thanks to model Eva Cordia!