My Magnificent Seven: Photography & Location Lighting Kit For Dog Portraits
Carry any back pack over a few miles with kit for natural light photography and you will learn the importance of selecting the equipment you need in relation to trying to save weight, but add flash to this kit and things become even more difficult.
When I was a kid, I remembering watching the film the Magnificent Seven, and as a result, the number 7 and Magnificent have stuck in my brain ever since. The idea behind this blog, was to choose 7 pieces of photography kit that I consider to be my magnificent seven, in relation to dog portrait location lighting. The kit needs to be as ultra-portable as possible, but still provide me the creativity to create the types of images that I desire. Moreover, the kit needs to be suitable for a hike to any location I choose.
The Sony A7lll was introduced in 2018, so it’s classed as an old camera today, but it’s still a great camera, that can do a lot of photography very well. Is there a better camera in 2023? The simple answer is yes, but like any tool, once you learn to use it, the sony A7lll will serve you very well. For a full frame camera, the size and weight are ideal in relation to keeping kit as light as possible.
Sony 135mm f/1.8 GM
When taking outdoor lifestyle images be it, equine or canine related, I personally love the look of the 135mm focal length when shot wide open. I had originally been using a Canon 135 f/2 on my Sony A7lll via a Sigma MC-11 adaptor. The MC-11 worked 90% of the time, but I yearned for fast snappy auto focus for moving subjects, so I thought a native lens would make sense. After selling the Canon 135 with some other glass I no longer used or needed, I took the plunge and purchased a Sony 135mm f/1.8 GM as it had been on my lens bucket list for some time. Personally, I think that the Sony 135mm is a little overpriced. However, after using it for a month, it’s certainly more of a viable option than the adapted Canon I used to use. There is just something unique about the 135 focal length wide open, it renders a very distinctive look in my opinion. The Samyang was another 135 I considered costs half of the Sony 135 GM.
Godox AD300 pro
On forums two statements or questions that often come up in relation to Godox lighting are: “how much power do I need to overpower the sun?” or “Should I get the AD600 pro or AD400 pro?” Responses are often: “ I can over power the sun with my AD200” or “get the AD600 pro, it’s better to have more power”.
As everyone’s lighting desires and needs are different together with their finances, my aim is to suggest why I think the Godox AD300 pro is a light worth a lot of consideration.
For location lighting, the AD300’s size and weight make it ideal in relation to its power output. We used the Godox AD-S65S 65cm as our main light modifier for all of the images of my wife Fran and Rio our 14-week-old border collie in this post. In terms of power, the AD300 was set at 16th power. But how did we make use of the AD-S65S? was the modifier double baffled, or did we use it as a beauty dish? From the images can you tell? The versatility of the AD-S65S is why it is a modifier I choose to take on location. The AD300 paired with an AD-S65S provides a good balance as a lighting modifier in relation to the style of lighting that can be utilised and as it attaches directly to the AD300 via the Godox mount, there is no need for a bracket (more weight and bulk removed)
Godox AD 100 Pro
When the Godox AD100 pro was first released it was perceived as being overpriced and limited in power compared with the Godox AD200. Both of these opinions are valid, but why do people focus on price and power and nothing else? Why the versatility of the AD100 is so overlooked surprises me. The reality is that you have to think about how you plan to make use of this little light in order to see its magic. Moreover, in relation to its size and power, I cannot think of another flash of this size, that provides an ultra-portable flash with such little weight and compact size, it’s a Strobist Gini in a plastic can, making it ideal for a two-light setup.
Godox AD-S65S 65cm
The Godox AD-S65S is based on an umbrella style mechanism softbox that measures 65cm, there is a larger AD-S85 which I also own, but for me the ADS65S provides me with what I want lighting modifier wise due to its compactness and versatility.
Flashpoint R2 Single Pin Transceiver
As far as I know these non TTL transceivers cannot be purchased in the UK, which is a shame as they are simple to use, small in size, weight compared to the usual Godox triggers and are very reasonably priced. I purchased two R2’s for £30 via a friend in the states as I wanted to use them for as part of a hypersync set up. I have various Godox TTL triggers, but as I mainly shoot manual flash and have no need of TTL, I tend to use the R2’s all of the time to trigger my Godox lights. Godox should sell these in the UK.
Phottix Padat 198 Light Stand
Over the years I have tried numerous compact light stands and learned that you get what you pay for. From my experience finding suitable light stands has a lot to do with trial and error and I thought the Manfrotto Nano’s were a good option until I won a bid on eBay for a brand new Phottix Padat 198 carbon fibre light stand. These Phottix light stands are very compact reach a height of 198cm and also have an adjustable leg for uneven ground. The design and build quality are to a very good standard and can easily hold my lighting kit mentioned above securely. These are the best light stands I have ever purchased.