Studio Lighting 101: Using Honeycomb Grids

Studio Lighting 101: Using Honeycomb Grids

Oct 13, 2023CameraStuff

Today, we're exploring lighting honeycomb grid systems, focusing on the Neewer Reflector Dish and 3 x Honeycomb Grid Kit. Honeycomb grids offer precise control over light direction, helping you guide it exactly where needed, prevent unwanted spillage, and achieve impactful and dramatic photography. For further insights, feel free to delve into the details in this blog.

First of all, what is a "honeycomb grid"?

A lighting honeycomb grid is a specialized accessory used in photography to control and manipulate the direction of light. It typically consists of a grid of cells or hexagons that attach to a light modifier such as a reflector or softbox. The purpose of the honeycomb grid is to narrow down the spread of light, allowing photographers to focus and guide the illumination precisely where they want it. By using a honeycomb grid, photographers can avoid light spillage, create more defined shadows, and enhance the overall impact of their images. This tool is particularly valuable in portrait photography and other scenarios where controlled and directional lighting is essential for achieving specific visual effects.

(Above) Here we see the Neewer Reflector Dish attached to a Godox MS200 200w Strobe. In addition, a 50 degree has been fitted to the front of the dish. 

Different Degrees

Honeycomb grids for lighting modifiers come in various degrees, representing the angle of the cone of light that is allowed to pass through. The degrees refer to the spread of light and determine how narrow or wide the coverage is. 

Common honeycomb grid sets include 10,  30, and 50 degrees, as is the case with the Neewer Kit

10 Degrees: This is a very narrow grid, producing an extremely focused and concentrated beam of light. It's often used when precise control over the light direction is crucial, such as in highlighting specific features or creating highly defined shadows. 

30 Degrees: A popular choice for general-purpose use, the 30-degree grid strikes a balance between focused lighting and a wider coverage. It's often used in portrait and product photography for a flattering yet controlled light spread. 

50 Degrees: The widest among common honeycomb grids, the 50-degree grid provides a broad and soft spread of light. It's useful in situations where you need gentle, overall illumination with minimal shadows. 

Choosing the right degree of honeycomb grid depends on the specific photographic effect you're aiming for and the size of the subject or scene you're capturing. Smaller degrees are ideal for more focused and dramatic lighting, while larger degrees are suitable for broader and softer illumination. Photographers often have multiple grids in their toolkit to achieve different effects in various shooting conditions.

(Above) In the Neewer kit, we get a variety of included grids, namely those with 10, 30, and 50-degree angles.

(Above) Here we can see the honeycomb pattern of the grid


Let's see some results

Result 1. Bare bulb used (no lighting modifier attached)


Result 2. Reflector Dish Only 


Result 3. 50 Degree Grid Used


Result 4. 30 Degree Grid Used


Result 5. 10 Degree Grid Used


Preventing Light Spillage and Flares

Employing grids on your light modifiers is an effective technique for mitigating issues like light spillage and flares, particularly when the light source is directed towards the camera. The grids function by narrowing the spread of light, confining it to a more controlled and targeted area. This not only helps in preventing excessive illumination in unwanted areas but also adds a layer of precision to your lighting setup. By minimizing stray light and flares, photographers can achieve cleaner, more focused shots with reduced distractions and improved overall image quality.

(Above) In the first image, when a bare bulb was used, it is evident that some of the light spilled onto the backdrop. Not only that, but we can also notice some flares. 

In the second image, using only the dish, we avoided some light spillage onto the backdrop, but some flaring is very noticeable now. 

In the third image, with a 30-degree grid used, we directed the light in such a way that no light was going in any unintended direction. All of the light was directed at our subject.


Using a grid to create a spotlight effect on your backdrop

In conjunction with a key and fill light setup, we're introducing a backdrop light as the third light source, aimed specifically at the background, to produce a spotlight effect. The use of varying degree grids allows us to precisely control the size of the spotlight. 

Choosing different degrees enables effective adjustments to either expand or reduce the spotlight's size, providing flexibility in crafting the desired lighting ambiance for the scene.


Using a grid on your key (main) light to create a focused, dramatic lighting effect

Utilizing a single light source in this scenario, the grid system becomes instrumental in shaping a focused beam of light onto our subject. This technique introduces a touch of dramatic lighting to our scene, enhancing the visual impact. 

Moreover, this approach is applicable to product and still life photography, allowing for the highlighting of specific areas within the subject, thereby drawing attention to key details and creating a compelling visual narrative.


Using a grid to create rim lighting

Positioned behind the subject and directed towards it, a rim light serves the purpose of accentuating the subject's contours. As mentioned earlier, employing a grid is crucial in preventing light spillage and flares. 

Furthermore, the various grids offer a means to control the "thinness" or intensity of the rim light. This level of control allows for fine-tuning the visual impact, ensuring that the rim light effectively outlines the subject without unwanted spillage, providing a polished and professional aesthetic to the overall composition.


In conclusion, honeycomb grids emerge as indispensable tools in the realm of photography lighting, offering photographers a precise and controlled means of shaping and directing light. Whether employed to create focused and dramatic effects in portrait photography or to highlight specific details in product and still life shots, the versatility of honeycomb grids is evident. These grids prove especially valuable in scenarios involving multiple light sources, such as rim lights, where they not only prevent unwanted spillage and flares but also allow for nuanced adjustments in the thickness and direction of the light beam. As a result, honeycomb grids contribute significantly to the artistry and professionalism of photography, enhancing the visual narrative by providing photographers with the means to sculpt light in a way that best complements their creative vision.

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