off-camera flash

MagMod creative lighting system + speedlight modifiers

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(This post contains affiliate links. You can read my FTC disclosure here.)

I've posted before about off-camera flash and how I use it, but today I'm talking about one specific aspect of my off-camera flash arsenal -- Magnet Mod!  They are the sturdiest, strongest, most powerful flash modifiers on the market.  Read through this post, and I think you'll soon agree with me!

I started using Magnet Mod products about a year ago, and I am in awe of the versatility they give me, how quick they are to set up/change, and how easy they are to use. I used them at nearly all my weddings in 2016 and am looking forward to playing with them more in 2017 and challenging myself to do more with them.

MagMod grids in action wedding First Dance
MagMod grids in action wedding First Dance

So, a little bit about how the MagMod system works: all the pieces are rubber or silicone and contain magnets to easily connect all the pieces and adapters.

First you start with the MagMod grip which is designed to stretch over the top of any speedlight.Then there are multiple accessories that all perform different functions.My most used adapters are the MagGrids, which can stack and narrow the beam that comes from your flash.The more you stack, the more narrow your beam of light becomes. 

MagMod creative gels at fall wedding reception
MagMod creative gels at fall wedding reception

Next, there is the MagSphere, which is a white silicone orb sort of that softens light, but kind of throws it in every direction as well, giving you much better coverage and even light than it does using the bare-bulb flash (or even the omni-bounces that are popular with speedlights).

MagMod creative gels at summer country club wedding
MagMod creative gels at summer country club wedding

The next thing I purchased was the creative gels because I love experimenting with colored light for portraits and weddings.I’ve always loved the way that uplighting looks in the background of photos at a wedding reception, and the gels help me to kind of create that look without actually being at a wedding, and for portraits on location.There is also a set of standard gels that helps you to correct the color of your flash, and a set of artistic gels with a few more colors outside of the normal color wheel.

MagMod grids stacked in use at wedding reception
MagMod grids stacked in use at wedding reception

There are quite a few pieces that I don’t yet own as well, and those are the MagBounce which is kind of like a tall, rounded clamshell/bowl shape that serves as a sort of bounce card, but again is softer and more versatile.These things are super sturdy and virtually indestructible.On occasion, I have seen photos of the MagGrips breaking, but MagMod is great about replacing them.I’ve also seen people that have thought they lost a grid or something, and then they find it the next day stuck to the side of their car!Haha!!

MagMod creative gels for relaxed senior session
MagMod creative gels for relaxed senior session
downtown night shoot with MagMod creative gels
downtown night shoot with MagMod creative gels

The other pieces that I’m interested in as well, but don’t yet own are the MagSnoot and the MagBeam (with complimenting gobos called MagMasks).One of the kits I purchased also came with rubber transmitter bands which are great for strapping your Pocket Wizards or other transmitters to your speedlights.I’ve been known to always use the PW straps hanging from my light stands or strapped on with a ball bungee cord, but the transmitter bands are safer and more reliable!

First time using MagMod creative gels purple
First time using MagMod creative gels purple

I hope this post has inspired you to give the MagMod systems a try!They are a bit of an investment, but after using them a few times, you’ll quickly realize that they are an indispensable part of your camera bag.Happy shopping & shooting!!

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Most photographers start out as “natural light” photographers. This means that they use only the light available to them to photograph their subjects. They will often use natural reflectors, such as sidewalks, white walls, mirrors, etc to help “light” the subject, or will sometimes use a photography reflector as fill light without adding any artificial light. I started my photography career head-on with a mix of both natural light and flash photography. My first light kit included two studio strobe lights, and along the way I added speedlights to the mix, and eventually ditched the studio lights all together. My current lighting kit includes 3 speedlights — two I generally use off camera for portraits, and for wedding receptions I use one “on camera” and two off-camera. My off-camera lights are triggered wirelessly with a radio signal using Pocket Wizards. The on-camera light is important for receptions because it ensures that I always have some light in front of my subjects, but the two extra flashes in the corners always give me a little extra oomph, plus hair light and/or rim light. For portraits, I typically cross-light with my Westcott Rapid Box octobox in front at about a 30-45 degree angle, with a gridded speedlight slightly back and to the side of the subject for a sort of rim/hair light. I have TONS of light modifiers that I love to use to shape the light, and my favorite tool right now is the Magmod lineup (referral link). I use the Magsphere, grids, and creative gels to completely control the direction, color, and shape of my light. They have been a HUGE asset to my camera bag! I also love my Westcott Rapid Boxes. I have both the strip light and the larger octobox. The Eachshot handheld magic tube light is one of my newest favorite tools — it’s a continuous light that doesn’t work great for groups, but is awesome for detail shots or individual portraits when you don’t want to drag out a bunch of equipment or you’re in a hurry. For formal family groups at a wedding, I typically still fall back on my reliable old shoot-thru umbrellas so spread the light nice and evenly and give me amazing coverage with just 3 speedlights. I cannot imagine not having my lighting setups available to me at all times. I know that in the winter or in inclement weather, I can easily shoot indoors with no worries about whether or not I will have enough light. Most of the wedding venues I photograph in have very few or no windows at all, plus most of the action happens after the sun sets, so I know that I need to have artificial light at my disposal. Off-camera flash covers all my bases, and my clients know from my portfolio that I can work in any type of venue or lighting situation and still create amazing images for them. Basically, I am never afraid of the dark! :)

Gridded speedlights at wedding reception with MagMod

Gridded speedlights at wedding reception with MagMod

wedding reception off-camera flash

wedding reception off-camera flash

If you're still unsure of where to start as you add off-camera flash (OCF) into your repertoire, I'd be happy to help out!  I offer one-on-one mentoring starting at $150/hour (minimum of 2 hours); I take a look at your portfolio, go through your equipment list, and help you decide what tools and settings you need to achieve the look you're wanting.  Happy shooting!!