I think we can all agree that catch lights in the eyes of our subjects can enhance a photo tremendously. Each modifier we pick renders a different reflection in the eyes of our subject and can give the image a completely different feel. I recently discovered a way to build virtually any shape modifier that can be used in a mobile photo booth or permanent installment in your studio. And it's amazing!
Last week my company PRO EDU hosted an after party in New York during the Photo Plus Expo convention called Black and White. I wanted to create something unique for one of the photo booths at the event and was determined to build our logo into a photo booth that would render the logo in the catch light of every subject who stepped into the booth. At first I though of using a series of strip lights and flagging off parts of the strips to create the viewfinder portion of our logo and a ring light in the center. After a few minutes I determined the setup would look way too clunky and be too much of a hassle to build. I then opened our LED Lite Pad kit from ROSCO and started arranging the thin and light weight Lite Pads on the table. I was able to determine that by using ten 6 x 12 LED Lite Pads I would be able to build the frame of our viewfinder on two C stands and then use our ROSCO Ring Lite as the center piece mounted to a tripod.
Obviously I didn't have ten of these 6 x 12 Lite Pad's laying around so I called ROSCO and was able to order a slightly older model to complete the booth. The main difference was that the LED pads I got from them lacked the metal frames found on the panels in our gaffer kit. Upon talking more with them about what I was trying to do, they informed me that this technology could be built into virtually any shape and is commonly used in architecture and custom installations all the time. The party was literally 4 days away so custom ordering the new rig was out of the question due to a time factor. I was however able to get the Lite Pads the very next day and begin building the frame. If you are thinking about building a custom shape with these Lite Pads you have to contact them directly on THIS PAGE or contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since the Lite Pads are border less and the backs are compltely flat lacking any mounting brackets, I was able to use Medium Density Fiber Board (MDF) as a material for the frame and then attach each Lite Pad with industrial strength Scotch Fastner tape that looks like Velcro but is 3 times stronger than Velcro and holds up to 10 lbs. So here are the steps I took to make it:
Steps 1-3.) Cut the MDF into the frame size, pre-drill angled holes for 1 5/8 inch dry wall screws, and attach Avenger F800.
Steps 4-6.) Turn over rig & attach Scoth Adhesive Industrial Type Velco, Screw Together, Press Lights Firmly on the Boards.
Steps 7-8.) Mount the Lights Onto A C-Stand & C Arm and find the center of Balance, then mount the ROSCO Ring Lite onto a tripod, then find the right depth of the Ring Lite.
*Please note that you should get the ROSCO wire splitters, which will allow you to plug all 5 lights on each side into 1 extension cord.
Step 9.) Confirm The Catch Light Is Working
Step 10.) Throw A Big Ass Party and Give Everyone Sunglasses
Overall the Lite Pad photo booth was a blast and produced great light for groups and individuals. The catch light was a nice touch. The entire kit can pack into a carry on pelican case and is super durable and lightweight. You would never be able to travel with a set of Kino Flo's like you can with this kit. The one negative thing I will say about using LED's as opposed to flash is that your group of subjects, especially at a large party, can't necessarily tell when the photographer is taking pictures unless they are yelling a countdown each time.
If you weren't able to attend our NY Expo After Party please make sure to sign up for our WPPI Expo After party this February/March in Las Vegas! Tickets are free but extremely limited. After you register we will e-mail you as soon as tickets are available. Don't miss the next party!!