Choosing 3rd Party Photographic Lighting Modifiers Successfully

As a photographer, not only is it important to choose the best lighting modifier for your photographic work, but also choosing a 3rd party lighting modifier with outstanding quality and support is key. With a wide variety of manufacturers and photographic lighting modifiers, making the best choice of equipment for your business can put you ahead.

Like many photographers, I, too, have purchased 3rd party lighting modifiers with varying success. Some modifiers hold up while others come short or outright fail.


failed modifier


Recently, I had an occasion where a modifier developed tears after very little use. Approximately one year ago, I ordered new lighting modifiers from a photographic lighting modifier manufacturer based in Texas. I didn’t order just one modifier. I ordered three in fact and had purchased a few others the prior year. The equipment arrived in time for my shoots and was happy until 5 shoots and 9 months passed when one of the newest modifiers developed holes around the umbrella supports of the photographic modifier.


Sigh. I call the manufacturer to be informed that these tears are considered wear and tear even after 5 uses and is not a manufacturing defect. I was stunned and angry. To add insult, I was flatly told to just use gaffing tape on a nearly new modifier as solution. I was also offered the option to pay for the modifier skin at a reduced cost which I did not accept out of principle. My solution. I’m selling all my gear from that manufacturer and replacing where necessary from my OEM manufacturer in Tennesee.

A word to the wise is to inspect your lighting modifier purchases carefully because in many cases the equipment may not hold up under use. In my case, most of the time the photographic modifier was used in studio. I chose this modifier specifically for reduced setup and take away time on use. In the future, my purchases of lighting modifiers will be through my OEM or another commonly known equipment supplier based in Ohio. The cost from these vendors may be slightly more but the quality and longevity of the equipment will be worth it in the long run. To avoid this happening to you I recommend the following process. Check the skin of the modifier and ask yourself, “Will this withstand long-term use?” After that, look at the warranty, follow social media for the manufacturer or users groups and/or discuss with trusted person(s) in the photography business.

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