The Mixed Studio

Blending modern LED lights with strobes for unique lighting options
Mixed Studio
This image uses two LED lights and one strobe. An 18” circular flapjack is the main light on the left, with a ring flash as an accent light on right. An Elinchrom ELB 400 strobe using a 30-degree grid lights the blue background. I love my strobes. Watching them pop away during a shoot energizes the set and amplifies my creativity. My obsession with... Read more

Bright, Soft And Portable

LED lighting matures, giving a whole new set of possibilities
It’s odd to think that today’s LED lights—bright, low-power and lightweight—are related to the LED lights of the late 1960s and 1970s. Anyone of a certain age who suffered from insomnia or rolled into bed after a night of partying is familiar with the persistent, obnoxious glow of a bedside alarm clock. Who knew that the technology used to... Read more

Studio In The Wild

Battery powered lights have really come into their own. Here’s a rundown of great location lights that work even when you’re far afield.
Studio In The Wild
Want to bring studio lighting control into the great outdoors? You can, with a wide array of battery-powered location lighting tools. From small flashes to high-power strobes and LEDs, there’s a wealth of great options for bringing studio-style lighting to the most remote locations. Strobes When you think about going on location with strobes, the... Read more

Litepanels Astra 1×1 LED Panel

Affordable, powerful continuous light for location or studio
The idea of continuous lighting is incredibly appealing—create your lighting solution without having to predict the effects of various strobes and light modifiers, and adjust your settings and solution on the fly. Thanks to the rapid increases in LED technology, the pricing has plummeted while performance and power have increased. The result has been... Read more

Low-Key Black & White Portrait Lighting

How a little light can go a long way to make a dramatic, dark and moody portrait

In a lot of commercial portraiture these days, there’s an emphasis on high-production values. Whether from exotic locations or from using a lot of lights, it seems the conventional wisdom is generally “more is better.” But, in fact, when trying to create a moody, dramatic or intimate black-and-white portrait, sometimes less actually is more. With... Read more

High-Tech Studio: Nontraditional Photography Lighting

Expand your creativity with these nontraditional uses of lighting tools

Mastering softboxes, beauty dishes, reflectors, gobos and spots is all part of the job of the commercial photographer. Having the ability to dig into a bag of lighting tricks and come up with a “solution” to a challenging shoot is all in a day’s work. A masterful photographer, though, keeps looking for new solutions to problems, even before they... Read more

Battery Powered Monolights for Photography

With a combination of portability, power, versatility and the ability to be used away from an AC outlet, battery-powered monolights are gaining an increasing following among professional photographers

Monolights are self-contained pro flash units that plug into standard AC wall sockets, no separate power pack needed. All the controls are on the flash head—no need to move to a power pack to adjust power and other settings (although many newer monolights feature standard or optional remote controls). Some monolights can also operate from battery... Read more

Portrait Lighting Essentials

The art of portrait lighting is the art of bringing out the essence of an individual.

The art of portrait lighting is the art of bringing out the essence of an individual—identifying the person’s personality and facial features, and coming up with a lighting scheme that will synchronize with them. Many photographers fall into the habit of using a stock setup for all of their work without consideration of the person they’re... Read more

DPP Solutions: Lighting In A Box

The Elinchrom BRX 500/500 two-light kit provides on-location lighting that’s on par with studio gear back home

Location photographers often have to make compromises when it comes to lighting, opting to carry an unreasonable amount of lighting gear in order to achieve a look similar to studio lighting, or dramatically scale back the power and performance of the studio for weight and cost savings. The Elinchrom BRX 500/500 two-light to-go set aims to address those... Read more

Hi-Tech Studio: Strobes On The Go

With a combination of light weight, portability and high power, monolights are serious tools for wedding photographers who need more than an on-camera flash

There are two basic types of studio flash: powerpack-and-heads systems and monolights. The former provides a lot of power and control, but is a bit unwieldy, and the cables connecting the lamp heads to the powerpack are just waiting to trip someone. Monolights are self-contained; the lamp head and the powerpack are built into a single unit. Like the... Read more

Special Lighting Guide: Lights!

In a still photography world, strobes were the gold standard of professional lighting gear.

Strobes & Flash In a still photography world, strobes were the gold standard of professional lighting gear. Prized for their combination of power and performance and for their ability to freeze a subject for maximum apparent sharpness, strobes continue to be top-level tools for just about any photo situation. Being a professional photographer... Read more

Tools Focusing Light

Create precisely shaped shafts of light with these essential modifiers fitted to your source

With almost all types of studio lighting, precision is paramount. Whether it’s separating a portrait subject from the background or placing a tiny sliver of light on one element in a tabletop still-life setup, when it comes to placing light precisely, broad lighting just won’t cut it. Whether you’re working to eliminate spill or you... Read more