The Gary Fong Lightsphere has been a favorite accessory amongst wedding photographers and photojournalists since its inception in 2004. Gary Fong being a wedding photographer himself found an inventive and effective way to deal with the harsh and unflattering shadows created by on camera strobes, both pop-up and hot shoe.

There is now a plethora of Fong products to choose from based on your needs as a photographer, The Whale Tail, Lightsphere I, II (Clear or Frosted) and the Puffer to name a few. I’ve tested several Fong products in the field namely the Lightspheres and The Whale Tail.

The Whale Tail upon inspection looks like a basic light modifier but it is one of the more complex of all Fong products. Its super powers include high modulation, the ability to accept colored gels, compartmental bounce cards and a creative mounting system. The Whale Tail is seemingly the most versatile of the Fong products I’ve tested.

The Lightsphere products have inverted domes that snap into place, which creates the softening effect we photographers crave. The inverted dome can be shot on or off the Sphere. If you use the Sphere with the dome on it intensifies the light a bit more, dome off is going to give you a softer light as more light escapes the dome bouncing off the ceiling.

Product: Lightsphere II- Clear, with snap-on inverted dome.

The Fong Spheres were ideally designed for wedding and journalist photographers but they perform pretty well shooting basic table top also. I suggest you tap into your creative powers when using the Gary Fong products, which in my opinion are useful and must have tools in any gadget bag.

Table top example shots:

Left: direct flash, right: w/ Lightsphere II
Left: direct flash, right: w/ Lightsphere II

Tip: When shooting a wedding or event it would be a good idea to observe the ceiling color and distance. Ideally you want a white or close to white ceiling to bounce off of, a dark colored ceiling isn’t going to reflect much light if any. If you have the convenience to take a couple of sample images, do it. Play around with the positioning of your bounce flash to get the desired effect you want.
~ Michael Reese