Grids are probably amongst the best pieces of equipment a photographer using flash can own. Alas, they are often either underrated or misunderstood. On one of my recent shoots, I decided to create a lighting setup with grids on every single strobe. My goal was to create a somewhat complex setup, that once broken down step by step would be easy to recreate by any photographer starting out in studio photography.
While it certainly wasn't my first time using one, a recent shoot I did for TEDx at the Ohio State University made me realize how much easier life is with a light meter. For almost all the time I've spent behind cameras, I've been creating portraits. And for most of that time, I've been using flash. Starting out, I would just shoot and tweak power settings and my aperture and the light placement until I got what I wanted. As an amateur, it worked. But once I decided that photography was a career for me and as I began picking up client work, this method became quite ineffective, forcing me to get the one tool I never realized I needed.
In the past few years, flash manufacturers have put a lot of efforts to let cameras’ x-sync fade into obsolescence. However, the current solutions are not perfect and aren’t always intuitive to use for non-tech-savvy photographers. In 2016, I made a comparison between Hi-Sync and HSS. Since then, I have had the chance to play with a Phase One XF and give the beautiful Schneider Kreuznach leaf shutter lenses a try. With more experience using Hi-Sync as well, I thought a follow-up article was well overdue. So let’s dive in and see what solutions are currently available to go past the x-sync limitation.
It’s become a tradition: every year, Broncolor offers select young and talented photographers a chance to access some of the best strobes and light modifiers for free for two years. The lucky ones are chosen through a competition called "Gen Next," which is now open for 2017.
Shooting the different seasons of the year is great, especially now that winter has officially started. You can shoot the same locations with a completely different mood and look. What happens when you want to shoot snow, but there isn’t any? Perhaps it’s too cold for the wardrobe styling and the subject. You can always fake it, right?
About a year and a half ago, I was walking on a local beach and realized that for a few weeks of the year, the sun would set in a perfect line of sight down the beach. I thought it might be a fun photographic challenge to create a super telephoto picture with a body builder "holding" the sun in an Atlas style pose. In my mind, the entire scene would be lit rather than have a typical sun silhouette image. Little did I realize how much work I was getting myself into.
Only two months after it was released, the Elinchrom Skyport HS for Olympus is getting an update and now supports Panasonic cameras. It still does not support Fujifilm, but it seems like the Swiss flash manufacturer is heading in the right direction by adding more devices to its supported cameras list.
Drones have grown into a standard item to own not only for videographers, but also for many photographers. Most have used them to capture images from the sky or places hardly accessible otherwise. A few have played around with these small machines to light their subject in a unique way, just like our very own Patrick Hall did when lighting a lighthouse with a DJI Phantom and a Nikon strobe. Photographer David Robinson took this to the next level and strapped an Elinchrom ELB 400 to an octocopter.
The guys that brought you the Lume Cube are at it again with a Kickstarter to bring an even more powerful and portable light source for on the go photographers. The original Lume Cube is waterproof, features Bluetooth syncing, and has a build quality easily giving GoPro a run for its money. The Life Lite is all that but in an even smaller package at an incredibly enticing price point.
For anyone who appreciates the use of flash, there comes a point in photography work when you want more power than a standard speedlite can offer. Many strobe options provide more power, but require you to be tied up to power outlets. Few strobes offer a simple portable lighting option. Many would contend the Profoto B1 is currently the best self contained portable strobe on the market. That may be changing with Impact's newly released strobe, the Venture TTL 600.
Benjamin Von Wong is back with another magnificent set from his latest series, ‘Surreal Lava Portraits,’ where he ventures out on the Big Island of Hawaii to photograph some lava flows with his team and models. If this was anyone else, I would jump to the conclusion that this is all composited together to make the final image. But with Von Wong, this is all real.