Precision Lighting: Modifiers and Techniques

In this photography lighting workshop, recorded LIVE, Karl introduces you to some of his favourite modifers for precision lighting in the studio.

As he demonstrates projection attachments, Picolites, Fresnels, snoots, and many more, he answers members’ questions about lighting equipment and techniques.

Next, it's time to start shooting. As Karl works meticulously to light a lily using a selection of the modifiers he’s just discussed, he shows you how to put your precision lighting knowledge into practice.

In this class:

  • Lighting modifiers for studio photography
  • Precision lighting techniques
  • Long-exposure photography techniques

Some of the other classes Karl refers to include:

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Question about the fluter: I don’t have one but it sure looks interesting. It looks so large.. reminds me of a Hollywood search light.. in my mind it looks like it should be used from some distance. From what distance are you usually using this type of light?

    1. Hi Gary, yes the Flooter is a medium to large fresnel lighting modifier similar to those used in the film industry (and lighthouses) it uses a chamfered lens to reduce weight but still providing the ability to collimate and throw the light a long way in a relatively precise beam with a soft edge. Elinchrom also do a similar one and Aperture do one for their led lights in a bowens fit that looks like it would fit on any bowens fit light.

  2. Thanks again for such a thoroughly explained lesson 🙂 I was wondering why you always took the picolight when using these precision modifiers. Could you have taken a normal strobe for the same examples?
    Thank you very much.

    1. Hi, thank you. Simply I’ve just got the picolites but there are other a precision modifiers that are available for other brands of lights for example Westcott make an optical snoot. I believe there are also modifiers such as this for speedlites but these are much more difficult to use as generally speedlites don’t have a modelling light to see what is happening.

      1. Bill Zech

        Hi Karl. New subscriber here and really enjoying your instructional material — definitely first rate presentations!. I got a couple of Bowens mount adapters for my speedlights (one from Neewer and one from Godox.). They work fine for using any of my Bowens mount modifiers with the speedlights, so I’ve been able to easily use them as secondary studio lights. Using a cheap Impact brand snoot from B&H gives me decent results as well. Oh, and my speedlights have a brief 2-second rapid burst “modeling lamp” mode to let me aim the lights — not perfect but gets the job done.

        1. Hi Bill, glad you are enjoying our content and thank you for letting us and the other members know about options for speedlites. All the best Karl.

  3. Hi Karl,

    As usual a great lesson! I never thought about using the fresnel to backlight the flower petal. Can the fresnel also be used to backlight (possibly with a color gel) a bourbon bottle to give some glow to the liquid, similar to putting a gold reflector card behind the bottle?


    1. Hi Lucas, thank you. In answer to your question no not really as the light doesn’t really illuminate the liquid it will just bounce around inside the glass bottle making a few highlights. To see ‘light’ in liquid you have to see the light source itself: light bouncing off reflector card or the light source itself which would mean you need to shine the light directly through the liquid at the camera and then of course you have to work out how to hide the rest of the light source that you don’t want sticking out the side or your background.

  4. Thanks again for this thourough tutorial about the lighting.
    I hope your lens is ok.. I screamed when I saw it falling, cause it happened to me before. I damaged a Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS when it dropped on the ground suddenly detached from the camera which was on my shoulder. Even I sent it away to be fixed it’s not as it was..
    Thanks again for your efforts and hard work

  5. Hi Karl, thank you for this class. I was wondering what would be the best choice of modifier between a fresnel and a hardbox to mimick sunlight with sharp shadows? Cheers!

    1. Hi Stan, the light that will simulate sunlight the best is one that approximates the apparent physical size of the sun and emulates the light from the sky at the same time. Often this is as simple as a bare bulb light in a studio as demonstrated in this and the following class – these classes explain the science why. The hardbox will simulate hard light shadows but doesn’t give you the sky light so you will need another light as well. A large fresnel in flood mode will give you the hard light and some sky light. Also run through your ‘Lighting Comparison App’ in your customer home page to see comparisons.

  6. Jimena Barcelona

    Wow! It was a super enriching session! Every second of it was packed with of useful information! Thanks!

  7. Amazing show Karl, thanks a lot for all the information. I usually use continuous light on the projection attachment because my flashes are not so powerful. Cheers!

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