As the title suggests, I’m here to write about strobist style of photography – using small battery powered speedlites on location for your lighting needs. Speedlites have a lot going for them – small, compact, decently powerful. They also have a couple of things AGAINST them – under powered for certain applications, shorter flash durations, longer recycle times. For many, the pros outweigh the cons of using speedlites as a light source for on location work, and it’s becoming more and more popular nowadays.
One thing you need to bear in mind, is that a speedlite generally won’t overpower the sun – it’s just not strong enough to do so. They are, however, very good for fill and accent lights, and in the later times of the day, excellent in balancing out ambient and artificial light.
Here are the things you will need to do strobist style lighting:
2. Light stand. Do not buy anything cheap – this is the thing that’s holding your flash, and you’re going to want something sturdy. My recommendation is anything that’s 10 foot, air cushioned, and has a wide base. Yes, they’re a bit more pricey, but worth it.
Now, onto the heart of the matter! Controlling your speedlite. Most speedlites will have these functions – Zoom, Power Control, Sound. The only real important ones are Zoom and Power Control.
For Zoom, think of it like this. You have a zoom lens on your camera, and you zoom in and out. At 24MM, you “see” more wide than you would at 105mm. If you’re at 105mm, it’s more “narrow” than you would see the view at 24mm.
Here’s an example.
Now, the more wide your beam is, the more “diffused” your light is. If it’s more narrow, your beam is a lot more focused – think of it like a flash light. When your flashlight is close to the wall, it’s a more focused beam (105mm). When you step back, it’s more diffused around the edges, and light falloff is more pronounced (50mm). And when you step back really far, your light fall off is almost hard to see around the edges, and you have more coverage, but a weaker “beam.” (24mm)
Here’s my flash at 105mm beam.
AT 50MM Beam:
at 24MM Beam:
See the difference??? Depending on the application, you might need to make your beam more focused, or more wide. Bear in mind, the wider you go, the more your light is spread out, and looses its intensity and effectiveness.
Second thing to worry about, is POWER. Yes, beam spread controls power, but you can control the amount of power the flash itself puts out. Without going into any complicated formulas, just think of it like a dimmer switch. Too bright? Turn it down a bit. Too Dark??? Turn that sucker up.
If you don’t like how the flash is putting out a specific amount of power, turn it up, or turn it down. It’s really that simple. More complex stuff can be done – but that’s a whole other post later on, and requires more technical know how. :)
Here are some photos of the actual stuff in action, and the setup photos.
Next step? Schedule a one on one workshop with me, and learn how to use these in more creative ways! This is just the basics.
This wedding was absolutely amazing, beautiful and gorgeous! Shot in Brenham, TX on a private estate, there were plenty of chic and contemporary touches to the entire wedding – from Danielle’s BlueBox Bridal dress, to the rings, to the flowers and centerpieces, and even the dessert cart!
First, let me preface this post by saying that I’m a long time friend of Danielle’s, who is the bride in these amazing photos. I remember working with her back at HEB about 6-8 years ago, back in our college days. Danielle, upon first meeting her, was quite possibly one of the most shy people I’ve met, but absolutely, without a doubt, the FRIENDLIEST. Danielle has a way about her that puts everyone at ease, and her quick smile, expressive eyes, and easygoing, shy personality enabled her to make friends easily. We’ve had many hangouts, conversations, and laughs, and I can say this – Danielle is one of the nicest people you will ever have the privilege of meeting.
She calls me up and asks me to be the photographer for her wedding and I was more than honored. When I met Christopher, I immediately understood why Danielle chose to spend the rest of her life with him – he’s absolutely the mirror image of Danielle, with a quick smile, encouraging word, and easygoing laugh that everyone gravitated to.
Vintage Chic was the theme, and I certainly aimed to capture the images in that manner .
Congratulations, Danielle and Christopher! Live, and love each other. Life is far to short for anything else.
Danielle’s dress is courtesy of Bluebox Bridals, a new place in Austin TX that specializes in upscale and modern yet vintage style dresses. Check them out!
Close up detail shot:
Full Length shot .
The bride, and the groom!
With this ring, I thee wed..
The wedding part – the ladies!
Last, but not the least – Danielle’s flower bouquet.
Thank you for visiting, and I hope you enjoyed the images as much as I have taking them! It was truly a pleasure.
The weeks after spring break brought along a LOT of changes. Most notably to my lighting setup – I previously extolled the virtues of the Calumet Genesis 300B strobe, and while I’m still a fan, it was kind of limiting in terms of what I could really do creatively. I needed something a bit more robust, has more power, and wanted to be able to grow into the system to do the things I wanted to do in terms of creativity.
Enter the Alien Bee Einstein! I purchased the system with a 51 inch PLM, Vagabond Mini Lithium battery pack, stands, and a 22′ beauty dish with a sock. I can honestly say I’m pleased as punch with the system itself!
First, let me address a few things – I wanted color consistency, from pop to pop. The Genesis was all over the place in color. The Einstein, with the color feature it has, is very consistent – NOT profoto level consistent, but within +/- 200 or so.
Secondly, I wanted power. Problem is, too much power can be just as big a problem as too little power. The Einstein had plenty with 640 watts at my disposal, AND had the ability for me to dial it down to as little as 2.5 watts. FANTASTIC.
Third, I wanted portability, and location power. The Einstein is TINY. Couple that with a Vagabond mini power pack, and I can shoot anytime, anywhere, anyplace, and put out as much power as I need.
LAST, but not least, I wanted it to be relatively inexpensive. I love profoto, hensel, broncolor, and all of those fancy top end lighting companies, but they’re expensive. The Einstein is $500.00 US, and really allowed me to invest in a system that can do a lot of things really well.
But hey! Let me put the proof in the pudding! Here are the photos I shot in the last couple of weeks using the Einstein setup!
My apologies, avid readers! I’ve been super busy as of late, and unfortunately, have not had ample opportunity to update my website’s blog! Nevertheless, here I am with a new update for you all to enjoy!
First, a bit of back story. I met my cousin Robert Ayala and his girlfriend Roxanne at the local coffee shop Spiderhouse, by pure happenstance. It’s weird how people of similar (yet strangely unique) tastes congregate and fate thrusts the chance meeting up on them! We had some nachos, coffee, and some sweet beer, and talked about topics ranging from Roxanne’s Laser Cats clothing line, to Robert’s aspirations regarding his film studies (this means learning how to make awesome motion pictures for those who unedumacated!), and a thought struck me – why not get some cool pics of Roxanne and her Laser Cats, and show a bit of the personality of these two eclectic human beings?
Fast forward a bit to Saturday, and here we are – all of these were lit by a my Genesis 300 b (which you might remember I sung the praises of in a previous post) in various lighting techniques, and these are the preliminary results! There are plenty more, I assure you – but for the sake of not overloading the interwebs with Roxaane’s Laser awesomeness, and Robert’s.. uh.. um.. ROBERTNESS, I give you these, humble reader.
Oh, yes! I also strongly encourage you to visit Roxanne’s Laser Cat site – it’s more than meets the eye. Direct your clickers here! http://www.daintylibrarian.com/