Gaffer tape is the go-to for custom lighting effects, but photographers less inclined toward the DIY can now achieve a similar effect with a new diffuser. Broncolor, a Swiss lighting company, announced a new line of edge mask softbox panels earlier this week (via DPReview).
The panels, added to an existing softbox, block out the light in the center, allowing light to only pass through at the edges. Placed behind the subject, they’ll create a rim of light around only the edges of the subject, like this backlit car.
The rim lighting effect highlights the subject’s shape, making it a unique lighting pattern to use for portraits, classic cars, and more. With the lighting pattern separating the subject from the background, the edge light technique is also often used with a second fill light for a less dramatic effect.
The edge mask panels are designed to temporarily replace the traditional all-white diffuser. Since the special effect has limited uses, the panels are easily swapped out.
The panels are available in a range of sizes from 35 x 60 cm to 120 x 180 cm.
The question is whether the convenience and professional look is worth the cost, with the different sizes ranging in price from $54 to $113. A roll of gaffer’s tape costs $6, but unless you pick up a second similarly priced diffusion panel, you’ll be doing a lot of re-taping to achieve the effect more than once.
Broncolor also introduced a new 110 cm parabolic umbrella, a quick method for adjusting the focus of the light for a parabolic effect. The new umbrella is priced at $120.