Using a spotlight for photography?

Review of the GODOX VSA-36K

I am always looking out for new tools! To be creative? No, just to have fun… because I always feel like a kid every time I have a new piece of kit in my hands, even if it’s only for a limited time. I have used on multiple occasions an optical snoot, a cool accessory I strongly recommend. And if you don't know what an optical snoot is, it’s this fun tool that helps me create these custom shapes with my light, follow this link if you wish to learn more about it: The tool I never thought I needed.


I often work with Continuous lights, it of course, depends on the project. I was wondering if a spotlight attachment like The GODOX VSA-36K could give me similar results to the optical snoot, and If I was able to incorporate this tool in my toolbox.


This will be a 2 part video. This first part will be dedicated to photography and the other which will come out a bit later will be dedicated to my use of the spotlight for my film work.


The thing is heavy, there is a lot of glass involved. That front part that lets you focus the light has to be manipulated carefully. When attaching it to a COB light that has a Bowens mount (note that this spotlight only accepts up to 300w led lights) the entire thing eats up a lot of space and is quite heavy. I am happy I did my first tests at home because the entire thing is not practical if you are used to moving your lights around.


You know I work in a small room when I am at home so basically once the light was placed it pretty much didn’t move afterwards.


But once it’s in place exactly where you want it, this is when the magic can happens.


Marie-Line (Toulouse - France)

Fujifilm GFX100s and GF 80 mm f/1.7 R WR

1/125sec f/1.7 ISO 320


The advantage of creating with continuous lights is to be able to see exactly how your light behaves on your scene. So when you are using gobos, when you shape your light with the spotlight, you can more precisely direct your model and shape your scene.

Marie-Line (Toulouse - France)

Fujifilm GFX100s and GF 80 mm f/1.7 R WR

1/125sec f/1.7 ISO 250


You don't necessarily have to use the spotlight and point it directly on your model. You can also use it to add depth into your scene, by crating shapes on your backdrops. Even if it’s just a hint.


Marie-Line (Toulouse - France)

Fujifilm GFX100s and GF 80 mm f/1.7 R WR

1/125sec f/1.7 ISO 400


The built-in cutting blades, already lets you create shapes without the use of GOBOS.


Marie-Line (Toulouse - France)

Fujifilm GFX100s and GF 80 mm f/1.7 R WR

1/125sec f/1.7 ISO 400



The Kit is sold with a few GOBOS, but there are many others available online. I am sure you will find the shapes you need, I personally got an additional set with some of my favorite shapes.



I often slightly blur my shapes. It's really easy to do by moving forward or backward the lens.


Marie-Line (Toulouse - France)

Fujifilm GFX100s and GF 80 mm f/1.7 R WR

1/125sec f/1.7 ISO 100



For this particular session I used different lights with various colour temperatures, creating contrast with warm and cold lights. The GODOX VSA-36K was combined with the Aputure 300x bi-color led light, and I used 6 Godox TL120 Tube Lights during most of the session.

Marie-Line (Toulouse - France)

Fujifilm GFX100s and GF 50mm f/3.5 R LM WR

1/125sec f/3.5 ISO 160


There is no rule, you can mix strobes and continuous led lights to create your scene. I mixed the GODOX VSA-36K with other type of light sources.


The following images are part of a past Fine art nude session I posted a few weeks ago: Fine art nude part III.


Emma (Toulouse - France)

Fujifilm GFX100s and GF 80 mm f/1.7 R WR

1/125sec f/1.7 ISO 320



What do these 3 separate sessions have in common ? The dark saturated tones, the high contrast, and the deep shadows. For this kind of look I find it easier to use led lights, as it helps me get the result I want much faster.


The drawback is that I usually make shorter sessions with these lights because when there is one or multiple lights facing your model, they usually get eye fatigue pretty quickly.


I am not sure I will often use the GODOX VSA-36K for portraits unless it is for this specific type of look. Using a flash with an optical snoot will be far more efficient for the type of portaits I create. More power, more creative options, and because of the size and weight spotlight attachement is also much more difficult to bring on location. Depending on the scope of your project, you might want to take these out for a big project!

The packaging is pretty neat. Everything is well packed and secured in the included bag. It’s pretty well made and I feel confident in attaching a light on it. I feel GODOX has been making a lot of efforts lately in proposing quality products.


I used the spotlight on video projects too, and this is where I personally feel it shines. But more about this in part 2!