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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Location Shoot

Sophisticated light-shaping tools give you complete control over the image while using portable strobes and speedlights


This Article Features Photo Zoom

Keep Your Flash Cool

While monolights and studio strobe heads are either air- or fan-cooled, speedlights are not. Fully enclosing one inside a light-shaper, such as a softbox, may cause the unit to overheat when popped in rapid succession. To avoid the problem with shoe-mounts prone to this problem, you may have to slow down the pace of the shoot, use a bank with airflow panels, remove the enclosing front diffuser—or simply switch to a standard umbrella.
Grids, Snoots And Barndoors. The same flexible panels mentioned above can be rolled up into a snoot. But if you’d like a true snoot for your speedlight, look to Strobies (special adapter sold separately), the Flashpoint Q Series and the RPS Studio Speedlite Studio accessories. A different twist on the snoot comes from LumiQuest. Its Snoot XTR features a telescoping tube to confine light to smaller and smaller areas. Honl, RPS Studio and Strobies also offer miniature honeycomb grids that are a perfect size for a shoe-mount.

Beauty Dishes And Ring Lights. If you prefer a softer, yet edgy light, consider a beauty dish or ring light. The RPS Studio Speedlite Studio 12-inch BeautiDish comes complete with mounting hardware. Strobies also has a 12-inch dish (special bracket required).

California Sunbounce Micro-Mini with Flash-Bracket
Finally, while macro ringflashes aren’t suited for portraiture, it’s possible to adapt your speedlight as a fashion ring light with the Ray Flash from ExpoImaging or the Orbis Ring Flash. Both operate on the same principle of redirecting the strobe’s light through a diffuser ring to form the characteristic pattern. With both beauty dish and ring light, expect the typical catchlights.

Final Thoughts

The upshot here is that you can plan a successful shoot without spending too much, arriving at your location without feeling stressed from schlepping too much gear and, most importantly, producing telling images—all with the judicious selection and use of the right light-shapers. The story doesn’t end there, of course. We also have to consider collapsible backdrops, reflectors, diffusers and other devices to help us make a visual statement on location....

RadioPopper PX System

One of the great benefits of working with compact speedlights on location is that it’s no big deal to have more than a dozen of the small units set up to get fine control over the illumination. RadioPopper’s PX System provides control via radio signal, which requires no line-of-sight, no programming and no cables. The PX transmitter at the camera sends a radio signal to the PX receiver(s) on the remote flash unit(s) and fires them with manual, ETTL or iTTL control, and even with high-speed sync capability—from as much as 1,500 feet away.

Resources

This list of manufacturers and distributors includes those referenced here and others with products that we didn’t have room to mention by name. Flash manufacturers may have their own branded products designed exclusively for their products or which may be more widely applied.

Paul C. Buff
www.paulcbuff.com

California Sunbounce
(Bron Imaging)

www.bronimaging.com
www.sunbounce.com

Calumet
www.calumetphoto.com

Chimera
www.chimeralighting.com

Flashpoint (Adorama)
www.adorama.com

FourSquare System
(Lightware Direct)

www.lightwaredirect.com

Gary Fong
www.garyfongestore.com
Hensel
www.henselusa.com

HonlPhoto Speed Lighting System
www.honlphoto.com

Lastolite
www.lastolite.us

LumiQuest
www.lumiquest.com

Orbis (OmegaBrandess)
www.OmegaBrandess.com

Photek
www.photekusa.com

Photoflex
www.photoflex.com

Photogenic
(www.photogenic.com
Plume
www.plumeltd.com

RadioPopper
www.radiopopper.com

Ray Flash, Rogue FlashBenders
(ExpoImaging)

www.expoimaging.com

Rime Lite (Dynalite)
www.dynalite.com
www.rimelite.com

RPS Studio (Dot Line)
www.dotlinecorp.com

Strobies (Interfit Photographic)
www.interfitphotographic.com

Westcott
www.F.J. Westcott.com



 

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