My flash/lighting bag as it is today:
It contains, from top left:
- Two rolls of Honl Photo gels
- Flashzebra Cables to connect Pocketwizards to speedlights
- Six pocketwizards
- Light meter (and spare battery)
- Three Honl Photo grids (2×1/4″ and 1×1/8″)
- Cables and a Fong thing
- Speedlite feet and a microfibre cloth
- Trays for Pocketwizards, and a microfibre cloth
- Four speedlights
- Rain pouch
- Knife, tape, tape measure
- Three Ball heads
- Flash/umbrella attachments for light stands
- Grips, cables, “thingies”.
In addition to this I carry another speedlight, more Honl modifiers including the large and small Traveller softbox, a tripod, a bag of light stands and umbrellas, and up to four large lights (Bowens) with a softbox.
Pretty large kit but then, I need to light some pretty unexpected situations, and with this kit I know I can.
There’s still some space left on the weekend workshop Joseph Marranca and I are arranging this weekend in beautiful Mono, Ontario, an hour north of Toronto: but you need to be quick.
Two days of intense learning about lighting: we will teach you studio lights as well as small flashes; one as well as many; traditional portrait lighting as well as edgy lighting like this:
If interested, go here right now and sign up online while you can. You’ll go home with some portfolio pictures.
And for the rest of you, I shall post some pictures after the weeknd.
Back to the standard “small studio” setup I described earlier. This time I shall talk a bit not about how it works – I assume light sensitive slave cells and Pocketwizards and cables are all old hat to you now – but instead, I will talk about how to use it.
As a reminder, here is such a four-light setup, again:
Four lights; and after the click, more about how you use them.
Please. Light. I dream that one day the newspaper will send me to shoot something where there is actual light.
Tonight, two shoots where no flash was allowed (or possible). I started with a recital. Church. Not possible to move – I had to stay where I was and not in the best place. And no flash.
So that meant that to get acceptable shutter speeds (1/125th sec on a 200mm IS lens, which ias as low as you can go, really) I had to use 1600 ISO at f/2.8, which is just OK on the 1D MkIII:
Not too bad. Thank God for f/2.8 lenses. Why do I pay $2,000 for my lenses? This is why.
Then it got worse. Rush to get to the next appointment: Tennis. And indoors. And in very low light. To see the ball and to freeze action I needed 3200 ISO – and even then at f/2.8 I was only able to get to 1/320-1/400th second, never faster.
Big time noise. But… I (and hence the newspaper) got what I went in for.
And tonight I will dream of venues with light.
A studio need not be expensive. Even a light or two – affordable strobes – and a few reflectors and a backdrop will do it.
This is a setup I often take on the road:
- Two or three strobes with stands
- A reflector with stand
- One softbox and one umbrella
- Two pocketwizards
- A tripod
- A backdrop with stands, and a roll of grey paper.
Easier than it seems and this results in good pictures. Even, sometimes, when you use just one light and a reflector.
And instead of the light meter, consider using the histogram.