Despite the advances in technology you cannot learn everything online. We think we have a unique way to develop new skills in relation to off camera flash, so If you feel that your photography skills or creative expression have hit a wall, why not join us on a Get Out & Learn Workshop and try photographing Red Squirrels with flash?
Due to the location and uniqueness of photographing Red Squirrels with flash, I only facilitate this workshop with a maximum of two people. I have two meet up locations: Hawes & Ribble Head. The duration of the workshop is a maximum of three hours and the cost is £40 per person.
When it comes to lighting modifiers, don’t be fooled by the hype, the quality of the materials are important, but the brand name will not make the light quality superior or transform you into Annie Leibovitz. However as Annie Leibovitz knows how to light, she could use any modifier to create a good image regardless of it’s brand name.
I have purchased various lighting modifiers over the years and think I have found one of the most versatile lighting modifiers I have ever seen and used, what is it? A HWAMART ® EOS100B 100cm 39″ Easy Open Silver Soft Umbrella Softbox.
For my uses a modifier above “39 for outdoor use becomes an issue if there is a breeze and anything smaller than “39 is just a tad too small in relation to size, distance and light quality. However, this conclusion has resulted after experience of photographing Horse Portraits outdoors, whilst trying to keep kit portable, packable and of good quality.
The HWAMART ® EOS100B provides the sweet spot in terms of the quality of light it produces in relation to its size, quality and price. The softbox is built around an innovative and integrated spring-loaded rod system that quickly snaps into place. There is also Included is a detachable beauty dish deflector as well as two levels of removable diffusion panels and a honeycomb grid. With these options you have many different ways to achieve different lighting for most situations.
What is the build quality like? Is it as good as Westcott? I guess time will tell, but for the price it is very close and far better than most of the gear coming out of China.
If you are getting into lighting and are looking for your first light modifier, the HWAMART ® EOS100B is worth considering, if I had the choice of only having one lighting mod, this would be it. Price wise it’s in the middle, the price tag is neither low or high and from my experience, this price point provides quality without paying for the name and unlike most of the cheap kit from china, it will last if you take care of it. Moreover, learn to use one light properly and you can achieve some great images, spending a fortune on kit won’t provide any short cuts, you have to put in the effort and practice.
Photographers have a wealth of creative tools at their disposal today that enable the creation of some truly amazing images in relation to lighting. Despite Adobe Photoshop making almost anything possible image manipulation wise, have you ever wondered how similar images of today were crafted and lit 30 years ago?
There are past photographers whose body of work stands the test of time and whose names are very well known and there are others whose names fade. This year I have decided to improve my lighting skills and knowledge so I have been searching for good learning material and recently I learned about a photographer I had never heard of, Dean Collins.
Dean Collins? If like myself you have not heard of him, once you discover what he did and created, if you are interested in lighting, you will see that he was a lighting pioneer.
Mr. Collins was a photographer that specialty was light – understanding it, controlling it and making it do anything he wanted. Although the videos on YouTube look dated with the eighty’s hairstyles and clothing and the technology looking like pieces from a museum, at the core, there are still little learning gems that shine as brightly now as they did over 30 years ago.
Why is Dean Collins still relevant today? His workshops taught about the properties of light and instead of focusing on current trends, he stuck to the fundamentals that are still as relevant today as they were 30 years ago and if you have never heard of him, personally I think he deserves discovering either via YouTube or an internet search.
I have just purchased a second-hand book called “Photographic Global Notes” Although the book has contributions from numerous photographers from around the globe, they were all lighting pioneers in what they did and there are plenty of insights and learning opportunities and it only cost me £4.50 with delivery.
If you are looking for a simple manual flash trigger set, the Flashpoint R2 SPT is a great option in terms of price and functions. The R2 SPT is a single firing pin transceiver and is the first simple universal flash trigger set that is compatible with the Godox X 2.4 GHz Radio Flash System.
Inexpensive Receiver – Universal To Fire non Godox Lights
Single Firing Pin Transmitter – Universal To Work On Any Camera With Standard Hotshoe
Increased Range – Up To 150m, or 300m Using R2 SPT as both TX & RX
The Flashpoint R2 SPT are Transceivers, with the Transmitter and Receiver units in this case being exactly the same device. A manual switch on the side simply assigns the unit as Transmitter (TX) or Receiver (RX) as required.
Being Single Firing Pin only, the R2 SPT do not provide TTL or HSS, though this allows them to work universally, as well as providing longer range.
Acting as a Transmitter to R2 enabled flashes, the R2 SPT will provide Remote Manual Power Control. (Not when acting as a receiver though).
Flashpoint R2 / Godox X – 2.4GHz RF Radio System
Range – To 300m (R2 SPT as TX & RX)
Range – To 150m (Between R2 SPT and R2 / Godox X System)
Wireless Shutter Release (In Sync With Flash – TRX Mode)
Type-C USB Port for Firmware Updates
3.5mm Sync Port
2.5mm Shutter Release Port
Powered by 2 AA Batteries
Functioning as a Receiver unit, the R2 SPT provide an economical way to simply fire you existing non- Godox lights in sync with the camera.
The R2 SPT provide a 300V safe trigger voltage on both the Sync Port and hotshoe, so even most older flash units should be safe to use connect to the receiver.
NOTE – In RX Mode all buttons on the R2 SPT (except the SET / TEST Fire Button) require a long press to have any effect. This is so that settings can not be bumped and changed accidentally.
Functioning as a Transmitter unit, the R2 -SPT (being single firing pin) are universal to work on any camera having a standard hotshoe.
The R2 SPT feature 5 individual quick access Group buttons – A / B / C / D / E .
in TX Mode the R2 SPT provide Remote Manual Power Control of the Godox X System flash units. As well as turning the Modelling Light and Beep On and Off remotely.
Only Remote Group Control (ON / OFF) is available with R2 SPT as receiver.
NOTE – Double pressing a Group button turns that Group ON and OFF, and Holding a Group button turns that Group on only.
Integration with other brands of flash
Prior to my lighting kit being predominantly Godox, I hade various types and brands of lights, if I wanted to combine them with my Godox kit, I needed numerous leads and other triggers which made quick setups not so quick.
One piece of lighting kit that I still use and love are my Einstein’s, by Paul C Buff and by using R2 -SPT trigger, I can combine the Einstein’s with my Godox lighting kit. I don’t have remote power control of the Einstein, but if I use the Einstein as my main light and meter for that, controlling all of the other Godox lights is simple and for Horse portraits this just works and very well.
I would love a Godox AD600 pro, it would really speed the process of lighting up, but the justification in terms of cash outlay would be a stupid move and as I only use the Einstein’s for specific scenarios where I need to pack a lot of lighting power, I can usually get by with the Godox kit I have anyway. The R2 SPT trigger is a cost-effective simple solution to my needs and I also then have a back for any situations where my Xpro 2 trigger might fail.
I really hope Godox release these in the UK, I had a friend order mine and then ship them to the UK, but even with the postage, the R2 SPT’s are still a bargain.
Although I take commissions for Horse Portraits throughout the year, the autumn is always a special time of year for me personally. I try to utilise the autumn season to try out new ideas and locations and this year my focus was at Skipwith Common.
Although Skipwith Common provides a great location for equine portraits, the two locations that I found that were most suitable are at opposite ends of the common, so lugging lighting kit from one location to another eats into time and requires effort.
Unfortunately, when we arrived for the first shoot on October the 5th, many of the leaves on the trees were still green, so we had to make the best of what little autumn colour we could find. Fortunately, as the sun was dipping in and out of the light grey clouds and there was little autumn colour around, I decided to try some hard lighting ideas, the only problem was de-rigging the kit and carrying it to another location.
Making the best of a location we could manage to carry the kit too, we set up a C Stand with two Godox AD200’s that were gridded in a reflector and then used an Einstein (Paul C Buff) with a long throw reflector.
Anyway, here are a few examples of what we achieved, pleased with the results, especially as the intended shoot was to make use of the autumn leaves that turned out to be a little lacking in colour. We have another shoot at Skipwith, so I hope the leaves will have turned, but will also do so a few more hard light shots too.
If you read my blogs it won’t come as a surprise that I’m particularly interested in off-camera flash, especially for lifestyle portraits.
I have been experimenting with Speedlight’s over the last few years, which has dramatically improved my photography and my understanding of light and lighting, but I am far from being an expert and continue to hit hurdles in relation to lighting. Understanding light, natural or artificial is integral to photography and can make a huge impact on an image.
Many aspects of photography take time to learn and improve and in my opinion, lighting is perhaps the most challenging to master. However, by practicing, one gains experience and you are the able to start to learn what you did not know.
The importance of understanding light falloff can have immense practical implications for photographers, but when you start out on your flash lighting journey, Inverse Square Law examples (Distance = 2. Inverse = 1/2. Squared = 1/2 x 1/2 = 1/4) for me was more of hindrance than a learning point and I just did not understand what I was reading.
In this article I will be sharing the important principle of light – Light fall-off, in a visual way that I hope will make the basic principles of Inverse Square Law easier to grasp.
One of the best ways to begin to understand Inverse Square Law and how it works is to take some images with your flash against a wall. The two images below were taken with a Godox TT350 flash, zoom head set at 24mm and the same TT350 flash, with the zoom head set at 105mm. You can see clearly the difference in both light falloff and spread (angle of the light)
Whenever we use a light source to illuminate an object, that object is being hit with multiple “rays” of light. Some of those rays are hitting the object in the place which is nearest to the light source, and some of the rays are hitting the subject where is furthest from the light source.
The light that falls on the closer side to the light source will be brighter then the light hitting the furthest side. This is because the light will scatter more when it makes its long journey to the far side. (This is not true for focused beams and laser, but this thumb rule can be applied to most studio lights and strobes).
In portraiture, when you are taking a portrait using only a key light (i.e. a single light). Your subject will be more lit where the light is close and darker where the light is far.
Example Of Godox AD200 Bare Bulb with Normal & Wide Reflector
What Effects Light Falloff?
The distance of light from the subject the closest the light source is to the subject, the stronger light falloff you’ll get.
The Size Of Light: The larger the light source the more diffused the light it produces and the less light falloff you will experience. For example, a large softbox will produce less light falloff then a small softbox; a bare flash will produce more light falloff then a flash shot through an umbrella.
The further one takes the light source from the object being lit, the less light fall of one can expect.
How far should you place the light source? That depends on your lighting vision, but here are some considerations:
The furthest the light the less light falloff and less drama.
If you increase the distance of the light source from your subject the light is getting “smaller” and harsher. The effect will be more noticeable if you are using a smaller softbox.
Experiment with the light falloff, you’ll be surprised how effective and useful it can be in photography.