Monolights Cut The Cord

Go-anywhere battery-powered monolights are changing the way location photographers capture images
Broncolor Siros L Monolights are the unsung heroes of the studio photography world. While they’re compact and transportable, they’re less powerful than pack-based studio gear, and many studio photographers consider them to be a second-tier lighting solution because of the complexity of setting them up and triggering them. New battery-powered monolights... Read more

Westcott Skylux Light

Dependable, transportable LED lighting in a compact package
Westcott Skylux light
Emily Soto/Courtesy of Westcott Westcott’s Skylux is a deceptively small LED light that’s bright, compact, versatile and continues in the company’s tradition of making rock-solid photographic products with innovative design elements. The Skylux looks for all the world like a traditional, small monolight. More accurately, it looks like a lunchbox... Read more

A Constant Light: LED Lighting Solutions

Today’s LED lights are brighter, cheaper and better than ever, and ready for your studio
LED lighting
The flash of a strobe is intertwined so closely with the identity of a photographer that it has always been the signal in entertainment that a character is a photographer. Think, for instance, of film-noir dramas, where a news reporter catches a shot of a mobster—their Speed Graphic camera is always seen with a large, round Graflex flashgun popping... Read more

DIY High-Power Video Or Still Light For Under $200

We made our own 11,200 lumen LED lighting solution that’s lightweight and durable. Check out the how-to video.
LED lighting solutions
We’re always looking for ways to save time and money in the studio, so we set out to see if we could create a low-budget but powerful lighting solution for photography and videography. After wandering the aisles of the local hardware store, we found materials that allowed us to create our very own studio lighting hack—an 11,200 lumen light that... Read more

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