Focus on Lighting Wednesday


Photographers and photojournalists have been using images for years to convey feelings, capture emotion, express themselves, and tell a story or two.  Okay, maybe more than two.  One of the most powerful tools we as photographers can use to do all the things I mentioned above is light.  Organic or not, fixed or portable, it really makes no difference.  Great light can can add a lot to an image… a whole lot!

In the shot above, I used a couple of flashes to get the lighting I wanted.  Although I would have changed one thing.  As close as the kids are to the background I would use a gobo on the gelled flash to prevent the red light from spilling onto the kids.  However, as it is it does help to add to the effect a little bit.

Wanna take a shot like this?  You can!  All you need is a couple of flashes, some gels, subjects, and a book.  I shot it at f5.6, 1/60, ISO 200, and a 40mm focal length.  I fired an SB800 into the book to reflect back at 1/32 power and I fired an SB28 at the wall behind them with a Rosco 90 red gel on it at 1/4 power.  I triggered the flashes with Cactus V2s radio triggers.  Those things rock! 

  • Gear Gouge

If you want to get into using creative lighting (or any artificial lighting for that matter) I highly suggest going with flashes/speedlights because they are very portable, easily used wirelessly, and can be had for very little cash.  You can pick up and SB24/SB26/SB28 on eBay for anywhere between $75-$125 roughly.  I bought my SB28 recently from an eBay auction and I don’t think the thing had ever been used.  It was brand spankin’ new and probably in the same condition it was 10 years ago when it was first purchased.  I paid $129.00 for it with shipping and insurance.  The Nikon equivalent today (the SB800) goes for $314.95 from B&H Photo.  You run into the same thing with Canon flashes too. 

Another avenue has also emerged in the photography world.  Companies that have made excellent lighting equipment for many years are starting to jump onto the “information sharing” train and are producing some really great, affordable lighting gear and providing instruction with it as well!  I’d have to say one of the largest companies to do so is Westcott who now has a division called, “Photo Basics”.  They have constant light and strobe kits to suit the needs of the learning photographer as well as the more advanced and even pro photogs.  I haven’t had a chance to try out any of their gear yet, but Westcott makes excellent stuff and I have total faith in what they are doing with Photo Basics as well.  Their kits come with an instructional DVD that promise to have you shooting better photographs immediately.  Their website offers free photography tips and lessons and has a page to help you decide which system is best for you depending on your skill level and current gear.  You can check out their website here.  I’m sure you will be glad that you did.

That’s it for today everybody.  It’s Wednesday already and the weekend is right around the corner.  Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow!


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