Holiday Sale! Secret Bundle + 30% Off

Your content will be up shortly. Please allow up to 5 seconds
Time Out With Tanya

5 Speedlight Flash Modifiers You Wish You Had

By Tanya Goodall Smith on April 16th 2015

Welcome to Time Out with Tanya, where I’ve put my fast paced graphic design career on hold in favor of adventures in motherhood. I’m capturing every moment on camera, and you can come along if you’d like. Sign up for my weekly email here, so you’ll never miss a Time Out.

I have a confession to make. When it comes to flash, I only own a couple of old Canon Speedlites. Someday, when I win the lottery, I’ll buy the Profoto B2 250 Air TTL Location Kit, but for now, I’m keeping my flash kit mobile and inexpensive. Sometimes I wish I had some different modifiers to play with (I’ve been known to just tape a 3×5 white card to my 430EX to diffuse the flash and call it a day. Totally ghetto fabulous!) and I know you’ll wish you had these, too. I got my hands on a few of these Speedlight flash modifiers at WPPI last month and would add any of these to my kit. See many of these modifiers in action in the SLR Lounge Lighting 101 Workshop Video.

Mag Mod

mag-mod-basic-kit-flash-modifier
All of the products in the Mag Mod lineup are drool worthy. I’ve had my eye on them since their initial Kickstarter campaign back in the day.

Mag-mod-magbounce-flash-modifier

The Lin & Jirsa and SLR Lounge Workshop crew use them, plus several of my wedding photography friends have ditched all their other flash modifiers for Mag Mod. The unique stackable magnetic design makes them incredibly fast and easy to install on your flash unit, plus they are lightweight and durable. Mag Mod is at the top of my wish list. Learn more about their newest flash modifiers here: MAGMOD ANNOUNCES TWO NEW AND EXCITING FLASH MODIFIERS | THE MAGSPHERE & MAGBOUNCE

Fstoppers Flash Disc

fstoppers-flash-disc-portable-speedlight-softbox
The Fstoppers Flash Disc Portable Speedlight Softbox has a 12 inch diameter and fits most hot shoe mounted flash units. It has a silver lining to more effectively direct light. It comes with a handy carrying case, is inexpensive, lightweight and portable. See this guy in action in this article: UNDERSTANDING FLASH MODIFIERS | LIGHTING 101

Lastolite

lastolite-speedlight-modifier
I have the Lastolite Joe McNally Ezybox Softbox, and it works great, especially if I’m using my flash off-camera and able to hold it really close to my subject. I need an assistant for this or a Light stand (a human Light stand works better in this instance but costs more, LOL). This little softbox produces a soft light with a fairly large spread. Large enough to light a face. It folds up nicely and comes in a handy carrying case. It ends up being about the same size as a folded up reflector when in the case.

Flashbender

Flashbender-light-modifier-lighting-101
The ExpoImaging Rogue FlashBender looks like an interesting little modifier; just like the ghetto fabulous index card taped to my flash, only better. The advantages of this product over my piece of cardstock are that it’s larger, and the unit can be bent to shape and direct the flash. No tape required. Pretty cool!

Westcott Apollo Orb

westcott-apollo-orb-speedlight-modifier
I also own the Westcott 43″ Apollo Orb and it’s a fantastic, large, portable softbox. It’s the one I take on location for headshots, photo booths, etc. It folds up just like an umbrella, so it’s really easy to set up and take down. Plus, it barely takes up any room in storage. The silver interior and diffusion panel on the front allows you to create a lot of soft diffused light, even with just one little Speedlight. I also purchased the grid for this softbox, which you just velcro to the front, and it works great. This modifier is inexpensive and a great value, since this kit comes with a Light stand and a shoe mount. I love it!

The only drawback is that you can’t tilt it, so I cheat and just tilt the hot shoe mount and let some light leak out the bottom of the orb when I have the diffusion panel on the front. For the inexpensive price of this modifier, that little detail doesn’t bother me. You could also use an assistant to hold your flash at an angle for you.

For over 9 hours of instruction on how to shape, control and modify on-camera flash, make sure you check out Lighting 101 Foundation, and Light Shaping. Do you have a favorite speed light modifier? Please share in the comments.

Tanya Goodall Smith is the owner, brand strategist and commercial photographer at WorkStory Corporate Photography in Spokane, Washington. WorkStory creates visual communications that make your brand irresistible to your target market. Join the stock photo rebellion at workstoryphotography.com.

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. hariri sudin

    i use the magmode i still dont get some of it still cant find the perfect shot using it…

    | |
  2. dave birch

    here’s the solution I use for tilting my Orb (and it let’s me use a second flash + moves the flash to the center of the Orb) http://www.phottixstore.com/store/flash-accessories-7/phottix-multi-boom-16-flash-bracket.html?options=cart …worth every cent!

    | |
  3. Thomas Horton

    That flash disk looks very interesting.

    | |
  4. Greg Townsend

    I want to give a huge thumbs up to the Rogue Flashbender. It’s a must have for the name alone. I have several of these and find them really invaluable.

    First they are very portable and can be shoved into a variety of camera bags with almost zero impact on space

    Second they are incredibly lightweight especially on the camera. With some on strobe light modifiers I seriously worry that they will break my flashgun from the hot shoe as I move about.

    Third they can’t break. I do a lot of event and street photography and so often carry two cameras, one on each hip. The Flashbender’s being made of canvas won’t suffer if they get a knock as I’m moving about. They also are unlikely to knock over anything I pass too close to (vase, ornament, small child!) as they lie flush against my leg when that camera is not being used.

    Forth they are actually great light modifiers. The reflective surface area is deceptively large and so produces a large light source. As they are bendable and hold their position they can be shaped to put light just where it’s required. This can be done almost instantaneously by bending the Flashbender into a specific shape to get the desired effect.

    And lastly you can roll the thing up into a tube and create an instant snoot.

    I also use the Lastolite (anything with Mr. McNally’s name on it has to be good) but as a lightweight walkabout flash modifier the Flashbender can’t be beat IMHO.

    So top marks for the Rogue.

    | |
    • Shelly Seward

      Hi there, so would you recommend the Rogue Flashbender for wedding photography? I am doing a simple wedding for my cousin and there will be low light at the reception.

      | |
  5. Lauchlan Toal

    Some interesting modifiers here, I might have to look into some of these for when portability is needed. For studio and location work where I don’t need to move around, I recently picked up an Elinchrom to speedlight adapter and an Elinchrom softbox, and I’m really enjoying the flexibility of having so many more options available. Plus it’s like buying full frame lenses for a crop camera – you’re covered for when you decide to upgrade. ;)

    | |
  6. Richard Reed

    Phottix Multi Boom 16″ Flash Bracket and Varos II BG combo is a good option if you need to tilt that Orb on a stand.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CDPFMJO/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=BFJ51IC4W5IX&coliid=I1PIMU9M7U1RMB

    | |
  7. Ed Rhodes

    i love my fstoppers flash disc

    | |
  8. Rob Harris

    Wouldn’t the back of the F-stoppers Flash Disk be used for setting a white balance standard in one of your photos? You could take a photo of the white/grey/black side of the disk for using the eye-dropper to establish WB in Lightroom or Photoshop for all the photos taken with the same lighting as that shot. Anyway, still looks like some nice stuff to have for those with GAS.

    | |
  9. Shu Yen Kor

    I use magmods too. They are awesome!

    | |
  10. J. Dennis Thomas

    Sto-Fen Omni Bounce as been my go to forever. I’ve tried all the gimmicks; Fong Dongs, Flashbenders, etc… The Sto-Fen works perfectly. And doesn’t look stupid.

    | |
    • Tanya Goodall Smith

      I think not looking stupid is a huge priority. Thanks for sharing!

      | |
    • Stephen Jennings

      Perfectly for? All these products are a different way of achieving certain light, the little diffuser dome might be nice but it’s not the same thing as a flashbender or softbox.

      | |
    • Max C

      Most Photographers don’t want to walk around with those huge modifiers on their flash. Some are bigger than the camera and flash; even bigger than our heads. We look ridiculous. My choice is Magmod; it is effective, durable and don’t make you look like an idiot.

      | |
    • robert s

      level one user- nice plug @max c

      I dont like magmod. I prefer the flashbender and the fong dong cause I like to walk around looking stupid

      | |
    • J. Dennis Thomas

      I hated the Fong Dong from day one, because it didn’t work nearly as well as advertised. Plus the damn thing always caused my flash head to flop over.

      And yeah, I ain’t gonna lie I don’t like having big ol’ stupid looking things on my flash. I’m all about streamlining.

      Also if you’ve ever had to shoot a red carpet of some sort of celebrity thing, pray you don’t get stuck behind someone with a big goofy thing on their flash.

      Sometimes I just bounce the flash off the palm of my hand. Kinda like a flashbender without the silver (unless you cover your hand in foil.

      Here’s one of my favorites though, the cigarette pack flash diffuser: http://www.instructables.com/id/Cigarette-Packet-Flash-Diffuser/
      That’s punk rock!

      please note that this is tongue-in-cheek and don’t get all tweaked over it…

      | |
  11. Mathieu F

    The Flashbender is my personal favourite for run-and-gun event photography.
    I have not tried the fstoppers flashdisc, it seems interesting albeit a little pricy.

    For travel/on-location lighting Westcott 43″ collapsible umbrellas are my favourite.

    | |
  12. robert s

    an 8″ softbox costs $105

    and a 43″ softbox WITH stand costs $150

    must be because the name tag costs $85 to make and sew on the side.

    | |
  13. Nick Viton

    Hey T, check out the PCB Mini Boom Offset Arm to allow for some tilt for your Orb.
    http://www.paulcbuff.com/mba.php

    | |