By Shanna Doherty
Are you looking for a simple, elegant way to have light modifiers for your speedlites? Fed up with lugging big, complicated rigs around on location? Tired of MacGyvering fragile Frankenlights? Look no further, MagMod is here to save the day.
What is MagMod?
If you have ever used external flashes, light diffusers, gels, Velcro, tape, or grids, you will want to keep reading. Until MagMod was launched as a Kickstarter in 2014, most photographers had to use messy, cumbersome flash accessories to get creative lighting effects. Many had to make their own setups using hair ties, Velcro and large pieces of flimsy colorful gels and diffusers attached to the end of their flash units. These improvised rigs tend to fall off your gear, get damaged in transit and make you look like an amateur to your clients. It was a time-consuming, ugly mess.
MagMod offers well designed, smart products to get the effects you need. With the use of magnets, silicon rubber durability, grids and gels, you can get the look and style in a quick and easy fashion on the go or in the studio. They’ve created an easier way to use your speedlight flashes like a studio strobe system anywhere you shoot.
The silicone rubber used in all MagMod products is a thick, high quality, built to last material. The magnets are directly installed within the silicone casing. And don’t worry: the magnets will not damage your flash or memory cards!
The strong magnets offer secure connection and stability you can rely on. No need to worry about things falling off or getting lost during a shoot. With the use of magnets in the grip and modifiers, they quickly and easily adhere to the flash head, so you can focus on photographing and the composition of your subjects.
MagMod’s compact, flexible, stackable, sleek, reliable, easy-to-use modular design system offers photographers more control over light when they are out shooting.
The MagGrip is universal for most external flashes. The base grip is silicon rubber that fits over the head of most flash units. You can stretch it over the end of the flash for a strong, reliable fit.
MagMod Grid and Gels
The MagGrid 2 and MagGel 2 modifiers can easily attach to the MagGrip. One major benefit of using the magnets system is how quickly you can change the gear around. You can get light where you want it with the MagGrid’s tight 40° beam pattern. The filters can be swapped out in the MagGel Slot and put back onto the flash head in no time. The gel sheets are made from a rigid polycarbonate—no flimsy gels here, folks. You can also stack them on top of each other for even more control over the light, density, color, or hue.
The MagSphere is a versatile flash diffuser. It is a soft, omni-directional bare-bulb light source that works perfectly as an on-camera diffuser or small bounce card. The MagSphere also has its very own integrated gel slot.
The MagBounce has a simple, functional form that offers soft light, like a soft box. It efficiently diffuses light without decreasing output.
Lastly, the MagSnoot offers even more control of the direction of the light you want to use. You can have a tight spotlight effect or squish the cone down to offer a wider range of light. It collapses into four different stages to give you four unique beam patterns and has a slot for the MagGels as well.
To show the variety the system has I’ve done some light tests using the gear in a few different ways.
I decided to try the system out during an event shoot at a nightclub. Could I really take this gear out into crowded San Francisco nightlife and use it efficiently? The answer is yes. Taking the MagMod system to the club for a night out on the town wasn’t a drag at all. Apparently, MagMod likes to party.
At first I just used the MagSphere and loved the results.
I wanted to push the system even further. The quickness and ease of changing the MagMod Creative Filters let me manipulate the club scene to put fun light where I wanted it. I was able to have creative lighting on the go.
Using the MagSphere with one MagGel color filter installed in it and the other flash, off camera, with a different MagGel color, I was able to cast my own colors on the DJs and dancers.
And while shooting through the night, I was able to fit all of the gear in a small bag.
At one of the events I had a fellow photographer pick a couple of filter colors out and asked her to play around with the MagGel with MagGel Slot. She switched out the colors in the MagSphere, too. She said the gear felt nice and secure on to the end of the flash.
For a more studio-like setup, I used both flashes off camera. I had one flash with a color filter and another flash using the Snoot with and without a filter. Again, I cast an overall color I wanted in the room and used the spotlight effect of the snoot to emphasize the subject.
By swapping out and changing the gear in different combos, you can easily create a dramatic overall look.
To see the effects you can get by using the different combinations of the equipment, check out these images showing how the room changes with the use of the MagGels and MagShere.
As you can see from these examples, there is no end to the combos and uses for this product. The best part is this gear is multi-functional and be used in the studio and out on location shoots.
The only downside was that it made my flash, while on the camera body, a little top heavy. But when considering all the benefits, it’s not a big deal at all.
With everything I can use the MagMod system for, with all the types of photography I do, it is worth the price. It’s very reasonable for such a useful product. High fives all around!
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Shanna Doherty is a photographer with creative flare and an artistic eye. She has photographed weddings, portraits and events for more than 16 years. Shanna believes that displaying detail is crucial to portraying the feeling of the event to the viewer. She utilizes themed environments with the use of filters and props to create different layers for perception. Shanna’s mediums include digital and film, and her images embody humor, playfulness and spontaneity. See more of her work at her website, https://www.shannadoherty.com/.