Definition: Snoot

Definition: Snoot | Glossary entry


The snoot is an adaptable light modifier. It is used to create a very tightly focused beam of light which has the full intensity of the light source shining through it.

The snoot is a tube that fits onto the front of a studio light, a strobe or an off-camera flash unit. The tube is long compared to the width of the light source face. A snoot length of 300mm would be appropriate in front of a studio strobe light. Snoots can be perfect cylinders. However they are more often conical cylinders where the tapered end emits the light. They can also be square section tube or square section pyramids – again the tapered end emits the light. Sometimes the tapered end of the snoot is also fitted with a honeycombe grid to further direct the beam of light leaving the end.

The snoot is used to create a tight beam of light. The conical or tapered shape stops light from spilling out sideways as it leaves the small hole. The tight beam creates a hard light which can then be pointed where-ever a strong, hard light-source is required.

Snoot - a light modifier for creating a tight beam of light.

Snoot – a light modifier for creating a tight beam of light.

The light from a snoot is ideal for isolating a subject. For example, a snoot is often used to create a single beam of light to highlight an object or person. A frequent use of snoots in fashion and portrait photography is to create a ‘hair-light’. This is where the light is directed onto the back of the head creating a bright highlight of the hair. This flattering effect makes the hair look like it is catching a beam of sunlight. It is an effective method of illuminating the hair to separate it from a dark background.

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