Lighting accessories for portrait photography

The gear you need to get started with making great portraits.

portrait of face with small moustache
Light is crucial when it comes to portraiture, let these accessories and modifiers help you make great pictures of people.Ludvig Wiese via Unsplash

Portrait photography is one of the most diverse styles of photography out there, but every portrait pro has a few go-to pieces of gear to execute a flattering, compelling picture. Light is crucial when it comes to portraiture and these pieces of gear will help you execute during your next shoot.

5-in-1 collapsible reflector

5-in-1 collapsible reflector
A 5-in-1 reflector like this one from Neewer is easy to travel with and can quickly help you shape the natural light.Neewer

A simple reflector can work wonders in so-so lighting conditions. This 5-in-1 version from Neewer gives photographers five surface options to create specific effects. The white reflector is handy for filling shadows on sunny days. . Gold can replicate golden hour shooting or warm up a subject. Silver creates a bright, neutral fill, while black works as a flag that blocks unwanted light and cuts reflections. The whole package collapses down to a fraction if its size, so it's easy to pack.

Ringlight

Ringlight
A ring light will give your portrait subjects a flattering even light and a circular catchlight in the eyes.Neewer

A ring light might seem like a very specialized piece of lighting equipment, but it provides striking results when shooting portraits. The circular source offers a flattering, even light on a subject and a signature ring-shaped catchlight in the eyes. This version from Neewer is great for beginners. It comes with an 18-inch, 55W, 5500K dimmable LED light, a 61-inch stand, snap-on color filters to adjust the temperature of the light, a ball-head adapter, and a universal power adapter. It's also affordable, which is important for a tool you won't use every day.

Speedlite Softbox

Speedlite Softbox
Softboxes come in a variety of shapes and sizes these days, this one is designed to work with a speedlite.Neewer

A softbox is a go-to lighting modifier for many high-end portraitists. These light-diffusing tools reduce contrast and shadows in a scene and can conceal problem skin. In many ways a softbox mimics the light cast by a nice big north facing window. They come in a variety of sizes, but generally speaking, the bigger the box, the softer the light.This small version works with a speedlight and is great for shooting portraits with a single person.

Flash gels

Flash gels
Add a pop of color to your portrait with a color gel.Selens

A gel is a thin piece of colored acetate that can either correct the color of the scene, or add a striking pop of unnatural color into a scene. Gels can be a fun addition to a portrait session as they can add drama and create a more editorial look. This pack is designed to work with a speedlite and includes twenty different filters and a clever gel-band attachment to keep them attached to your flash while you work.