Bowens Grid Reflector and Honeycomb Set

Bowens Grid Reflector and Honeycomb Set

Article by
Steve Aves

Bowens Grid Reflector and Honeycomb set

The Bowens Grid reflector set has always been a favourite of mine. It has many uses in the studio for a variety of applications. It’s one of those accessories that people often take for granted and just don’t get the best out of. Used with or without the Honeycombs the Grid is a really multi purpose accessory as we will see.

The Grid reflector is 18cm. or 7inches in diameter and produces a 60 degree angle of light. The inside surface is similar to the Bowens Maxilite reflector, a matt diffused silver finish, ideal for many applications. The inside rim of the reflector is rolled and designed to accept the ‘push in’ honeycomb accessories. The honeycombs are about 1/2th thick and come in three different sizes of holes, 1/8 th, 3/8 th and a 1/4 of an inch, each size allowing slightly more through. They obviously keep the angle of light dead straight and keep light ‘spillage’ to a minimum, very useful for close up lighting.

To show you some examples, I shot a small statue using just the Grid, with the smallest 1/8th inch Honeycomb on a Bowens Esprit 250 turned down between a ¼ and ½ power. As you can see from the results the Grid can ‘paint light’ just where you want it, a superb studio accessory.

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So what else can you do with this combination? Well a great deal. To start with, the Grid can be used on its own without the honeycomb in a number of ways. It can be used as a straight 60 degree reflector to light people, products or backgrounds. It produces a lovely quality of light, not harsh, but certainly contrasty, just like that ‘theatre’ style portrait lighting of the 40’s and 50’s. Giving a strong contrast is useful for product photography too, using the Grid reflector to highlight certain areas.

It’s when the Grid reflector is used with the various honeycombs that it comes into its own, it gives so many possibilities. The honeycombs restrict the light from the Grid reflector beautifully. In this way the Grid can be used close up as a hair light, or can light small objects beautifully. I know photographers who use this combination to shoot all sorts of things from food to fashion.

At an exhibition earlier this year in Turkey I was asked how to light a portrait to get something ‘dark and brooding’. Not an easy one, but I set up an Esprit 250 with the Grid reflector and smallest honeycomb, sat the man down and shot him with this one light about half a meter away. I have tried to recreate this here and I think that you will agree it is dark and brooding and does give you some idea of what this simple reflector and honeycomb combination can do.

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Whatever you shoot there will be times when you need to use a tool to create more contrast and sometimes to restrict the amount of light on the subject. The Bowens Grid reflector can do both jobs really well, so for me it will always have a place studio.

Steve Aves

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