Flash for Food Photography Glossary

Baffle - an additional layer of diffusion material inside of a softbox intended to spread the light evenly across the surface of the front of the softbox.

Bowens Mount - a mount on specific softboxes created to affix to a bowens head on a light. Generally found with studio strobe lights but adapters can be purchased so that speedlights can be used with these softboxes.

Bracket - a piece of gear that allows you to mount a flash to a light stand.

Channel - a means of organizing lights so that they're tied to a particular shooter. When multiple shooters have multiple lights, they will want to be on different channels so that they're not controlling one-anothers lights.

Flash Duration - a measurement of how long it takes a flash to go from full power to off; it's given in T.5 and T.1 times and faster flashes help freeze fast action.

Flash Output - a setting on the flash that controls the brightness level created by the flash ranging from full power (1/1) to smaller power (1/128).

Gels - transparent filters that are different colors and attach to lights in order to change the color of the light either for matching color temperature or creative lighting

Grid - also called a "honeycomb", a lighting accessory that limits and restricts the spread of light by attaching to the front of a softbox.

Groups - a way to organize multiple lights and the ability to have a particular set of lights behave in one way while another set behaves differently

High Speed Sync - a camera's ability to use a flash at shutter speeds faster than the camera's native sync. Most cameras have a native sync of 1/160th - 1/250th of a second, and anything faster than that is beyond the camera's ability to sync the shutter with the flash.

Hot Shoe - a small rectangular slot on the top of a camera where you can mount a trigger or flash. It provides an electronic interface to the camera and signals the firing of the flash when the shutter button is pressed on the camera, also known as Flash Synchronization.

Inverse Square Law - that the intensity of illumination changes in inverse proportion to the square of the distance from the source. In other words, the further the light is from the subject, the darker the exposure will be from that light.

Modeling Light - a continuous light source -usually a tungsten bulb, a quartz-halogen bulb, or an LED - located in proximity to a flash tube. The purpose of a modeling light is to allow a photographer to visually a sense of the lighting effect the flash, when it fires, will create.

Monolight - a self-contained photographic flash lighting unit usually found in a studio. Each monolight has its own independent power source. It does not depend on a centralized power supply as a "pack and head" system does.

Recycle - the amount of time it takes for the flash to recover from throwing a flash before another flash can be fired. This varies based on the output setting you select.

Snoot - a tube or similar object that fits over a studio light or portable flash and allows the photographer to control the direction and radius of the light beam. These may be conical, cylindrical, or rectangular in shape. Snoots can isolate a subject when using a flash.

Softbox - a modifier that fits over or in front of a light to shape it and modify the way it casts light. Softboxes come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

Speedlight / Speedlite - refers to a type of flash that can connect directly to your camera or be fired off-camera. It's a compact unit generally operated with AA batteries.

Strip Softbox - a rectangular softbox with defined edges that keeps light focused in a narrow beam and restricts it from spreading. Especially helpful for dark and moody photography and creating edge lighting.

Studio Strobe - a general term for a variety of flash units used in studio settings including monolights and power packs with heads.

Wide-panel or Wide Flash Adapter - a plastic piece that pulls out from the top of the flash head on a speedlight to further widen the spread of the light.

Zoom - a measurement of how wide your flash will spread the light, roughly similar to the focal length of a lens. General recommendation is to match the zoom to the lens you're shooting.

Looking for a term mentioned in the course that’s not listed here? Please let me know at food@joaniesimon.com.