Home Photography How to Use a Snoot in Photography: The Complete Guide

How to Use a Snoot in Photography: The Complete Guide

by kyngsam

What’s a snoot in images, and how are you going to use one for gorgeous pictures?

That’s what this text is all about.

I’m going to take you thru every thing it is advisable to find out about snoots – together with what they’re, why they matter, and the way you should utilize them to seize gorgeous pictures.

So in the event you’re able to turn into a snoot professional…

…then let’s get began.

What’s a snoot?

A snoot is mainly a tube that goes over the entrance of your flash unit and creates a tough, concentrated beam of sunshine.

a snoot and a snoot-shaped Rogue FlashBender
Two examples of snoots mounted to flashes.

A snoot lets you mild your primary topic – with out lighting the encompassing scene. And this may be nice for dramatic, low key photography.

Now, you’ll be able to choose up a snoot from loads of off-camera lighting producers. (Extra on that in a second!)

However as a result of snoots are easy, you’ll be able to truly make your individual, which is what the following part is all about.

Making your individual DIY snoot

You may make your individual snoot utilizing fundamental family objects. You simply must make a tube that matches over your flash!

There are some design parts you should think about, although. As an example, you’ll desire a color-neutral materials, as a result of in case your snoot contains intense colours, you would possibly get undesirable casts in your pictures.

Bearing this in thoughts, listed below are the 2 easiest choices for creating snoots:

  • Cereal field: Reduce the field into an oblong prism with a gap at both finish. Add black tape across the outdoors of the snoot to stop mild from leaking out.
  • Pringles tube: Reduce a gap in a single finish of the Pringles tube for the flash to suit inside, ensuring the tube sits straight in your flash (so that you get a transparent, directed beam of sunshine).

In both case, you’ll be able to modify the kind of mild the snoot creates by making the snoot longer or shorter.

Simply keep in mind:

The longer the snoot, the smaller and extra concentrated your supply of sunshine can be.

Shopping for a snoot

The opposite choice is to purchase a snoot, and there are many good snoots out there so that you can select from.

Here’s a nice snoot you’ll be able to seize at a fantastic value.

That mentioned, given how simple it’s to make an efficient snoot your self, in the event you’re going to purchase one, you might have considered trying it to have some form of additional performance.

That’s why I extremely suggest the Rogue FlashBender, which can be utilized as a snoot, a reflector, or a softbox.

(In different phrases: You get your cash’s price!)

When to make use of a snoot in images

A snoot generally is a extremely great tool within the studio.

Broadly talking, a snoot produces arduous mild, which creates a lot of shadows. A snoot additionally creates a lot of contrast between your topic and the background (assuming the background isn’t lit independently).

Let’s check out a couple of instances the place you would possibly wish to use a snoot:


Have you ever ever used a flashlight on a darkish evening to mild up your face in a spooky manner?

In that case, you’ve primarily spotlighted your face – and broadly talking, you’re doing the identical with a flash and snoot.

Now, you’ll be able to go for that spooky impact with a snoot, however you can even direct your mild in several methods for various highlight results. You possibly can spotlight numerous elements of your topic whereas holding the background darkish, which tends to look each gorgeous and dramatic.

Low key impact

Low key photography includes partially underexposing your photographs for a largely black picture.

Like this:

low key snoot photography
That is an instance of low key mild produced by a snoot.
Canon 5D Mark II | Canon 135mm f/2L | 1/60s | f/5.6 | ISO 640

And a snoot is the right software to create this sort of picture.

Merely direct your mild on the primary topic, whether or not that’s a still life or a mannequin’s face. And make sure the mild falls off earlier than hitting the background for that darkish, dramatic, low key look.

Rim mild

You need to use snoots to create stunning rim lighting – which is any type of mild that hits the sting of your topic.

And probably the most helpful types of rim lighting is the hair mild.

Through the use of a snoot to direct rim mild (i.e., hair mild) onto the again of a mannequin’s head, you’ll be able to add depth and curiosity to a photograph, with out impacting the entrance of the topic or the background.

For the perfect outcomes, hold the rim mild a bit to the facet and out of body.

After all, a rim mild is just half of a lighting setup, so that you’ll wish to use it at the side of different lights. That manner, you’ll be able to seize a portrait like this one:

snoot for a rim light effect
A hair mild helps create a better-quality portrait photograph.
Canon 5D Mark III | Canon 135mm f/2L | 1/200s | f/3.2 | ISO 100


Whereas photographers typically hold their off-camera lights out of the body…

…there could also be occasions once you need the lights to seem in your pictures!

Particularly, you should utilize a snoot to create lens flare, as proven within the photograph beneath:

snoot in photography to create lens flare
Snooted strobes can be utilized to create lens flare when pointed towards the digicam.
Canon 5D Mark II | Canon 17-40mm f/4L | 42 seconds | f/5 | ISO 250

Now, you’ll be able to create this creative impact with a number of light modifiers (or only a bare flash).

However a snooted flash will enable you management the sunshine, so the supply seems to be some form of avenue mild, slightly than a flash unit.

The way to use a snoot successfully

When utilizing a snoot in images, you’ll wish to take into consideration a couple of key elements, together with:

  • The path of the sunshine
  • The space of the flash
  • The size of the snoot
  • The brightness of the flash

These will dramatically impression how your pictures end up – so in the event you’re trying to actually fine-tune your snoot images, ensure you pay cautious consideration to the following few sections.

Route of the sunshine

Serious about the path of sunshine is vital in all types of images, however it’s important when working with a concentrated beam of sunshine.

By positioning your snoot behind the topic, in entrance of the topic, or off to the facet of the topic, you’ll get dramatically totally different outcomes – so earlier than taking a single shot, ask your self:

What am I hoping to realize with this snoot?

And place your snooted flash accordingly.

Distance of the flash

The space from the flash to the principle topic has three results when used with a snoot:

First, the farther the flash is from the topic, the much less vivid the sunshine turns into. For those who place your mild behind the room, you’ll get a darker picture (although you’ll be able to all the time regulate your publicity to compensate for the diminished mild depth).

Second, the farther the flash is from the topic, the tougher the sunshine turns into. For those who’re searching for a softer impact with extra gradual shadows, you’ll wish to hold your snooted flash near your topic – whereas in the event you’re after a tougher impact with abrupt transitions from mild to shadow, then you definately’ll want to extend the space between the flash and the topic.

Third, as the space between the flash and the principle topic will increase, the sunshine radius turns into bigger. This lets you mild extra of your topic – so if you wish to mild your topic’s total physique, transfer the snooted flash again, whereas if you wish to mild solely your topic’s head, you’ll want to maneuver the flash in shut.

Size of the snoot

Snoots can come in several lengths, with longer snoots providing a extra concentrated beam of sunshine, and shorter snoots producing wider lighting results. Relying on the snoot size, you’ll be able to create a exact highlight impact, or you’ll be able to widen the flash beam to mild the whole scene.

Some snoots are literally adjustable, and in the event you make DIY snoots, you’ll be able to create a number of of differing lengths.

Brightness of the flash

After all, the brightness of the flash additionally must be thought-about.

You see, the sunshine you’re creating with a snoot goes to be arduous mild. The topic can be lit, and the background will possible be darkish.

However in the event you want to present some background element by way of ambient mild, you’ll be able to scale back the depth of the flash and enhance the exposure in your digicam.

The bottom line is to verify the realm lit by the flash is appropriately uncovered, then regulate your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO accordingly.

How will you employ a snoot in images?

smoke with direct strobe light
The smoke on this photograph was picked up by directed mild from a strobe.
Canon 5D Mark II | Canon 135mm f/2L | 1/200s | f/7.1 | ISO 160

Utilizing a snoot in images offers you loads of creative choices.

A snoot is a straightforward, low cost, and efficient manner of doing one thing totally different together with your images.

So ensure you keep in mind the ideas and methods I shared on this article…

…and begin working towards with a snoot instantly.

Have you ever tried photographing with a snoot? How did it go? Share your ideas and pictures within the feedback beneath!

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