Archivi categoria: Strobes

How to Light a Huge Basketball Arena with Strobes, a Step-by-Step Guide


This is one of the most informative, technical, and (if you’re a camera nerd) awesome walkthrough’s we’ve ever stumbled across. In it, photographer Patrick Murphy-Racey shows you, step-by-step, how he lights a whole massive basketball arena with four powerful strobes.

If you want to truly freeze the action inside a basketball arena, you’re either going to have to crank your ISO or do this. As you’re about to see, it takes a ton of work to set these strobes up effectively and safely … but that work is worth it when you find out the kind of settings that Murphy-Racey is able to shoot with once he has this Dynalite Arena Kit up.

When all of his strobes are set up, he’ll be shooting at an effective shutter speed of 1/2500sec, at f/5.6 and ISO 160. That, as he says in the video, is “awesome, and awesome is where I like to be.”

This is one of the more complicated and technical walkthroughs we’ve shared (and it comes in two parts depending on the size of the arena) but it’s well-worth it for the educational value.

One of the most intriguing bits of info that Murphy-Racey talks about is the “pecking order,” so to speak, of who gets to use strobes at the most important NCAA games.

Even if you have your newspaper’s strobes set up at “your” arena, once the post-season starts, the NCAA will only allow three sets of strobes per arena per game… and they get to decide who uses them. According to Murphy-Racey, the first set is always earmarked for Sports Illustrated, the second is always earmarked for the Associated Press, and the third is “administered” by USA Today, who allows different photographers to use the strobes at different times depending on circulation.

Check out the videos above for much much more information and many more interesting bits of trivia like that. And if you want to see some of Murphy-Racey’s work, check out his website and Sony Artisan page.

(via The Phoblographer)

Budget Lighting: Fake a Beauty Dish Portrait With a Reflective Umbrella

Budget Photo Lighting: Fake a Beauty Dish Portrait with a Reflective Umbrella

A beauty dish can be a very useful light modifying tool if you shoot a lot of fashion portraits. If that's not your main cup of tea, however, they can be pricy and they take up a ton of space in a gear bag if you're trying to use it in the field. But, if you want that lively, focused look for a tight portrait, you can actually get something similar using a cheaper (and more compact) reflective umbrella. Here's an example of how to do it.

The Gear: For the original photo, I used a Canon 6D with a 24-70 F/2.8L lens and the relatively new Phottix Indra 500 portable mono-light with their collapsible beauty dish as a modifier. Pretty basic stuff, but well over $3,500 worth of gear if you were to go pick all of it up right now. For the budget version, I used a Canon 7D (Mark I) with a 50mm F/1.8 STM lens, a Canon 580 EX (also a Mark I) flash, and a cheap soft silver reflective umbrella I bought from Midwest Photo Exchange's booth a few years ago at Photo Plus. All told, the budget setup checks in around $1,000 on the secondary market, but you could go a lot cheaper if you wanted to.

The Original Setup

Budget Photo Lighting: Fake a Beauty Dish Portrait with a Reflective Umbrella

Stan Horaczek

Tech Specs: 60mm focal length. F/2.8 for 1/40th sec at ISO 100. Light: Phottix Indra500 on manual power.

For the original image, I positioned the beauty dish as close to the subject as possible before it started encroaching into my shot. The collapsible nature of the beauty dish means that a grid wasn't an option, but I honestly wouldn't have used one anyhow. I wanted the light to be directional (positioned slightly above the subject and slightly to camera right), but I didn't want the fur from the hood to cast weird shadows on the face.

In a case like this, I would typically bring out another flash or two in order to create a nice kicker light around the fur from the back, but we were working quickly trying to catch the snow while it was falling and my subject wasn't thrilled about standing in the cold while I fiddled with a bunch of lights. Since I was going to be using this as an example for this article, I wanted to keep the focus on getting the key light looking as we want it.

The Budget Setup

Stan Horaczek

Tech Specs: 50mm lens. F/2.8 for 1/30th sec at ISO 400. Light: Canon 580 EX on manual power

I chose a reflective silver umbrella for the recreation in large part because, well, it kinda looks like a beauty dish. The spread is much flatter so the light beam isn't nearly as tight and it's bigger in diameter, so the overall hardness of the light has a slightly different quality. In order to keep the light from spreading too widely, I choked up in the umbrella clamp, moving the reflective surface of the umbrella closer to the flash itself. In doing so, it creates a light that's a little hotter near the center (because the flash is creating a very clear hot spot on the umbrella surface itself) and tightens up the beam a bit. It helps get a similar catch light in the eye as well. This effect is augmented by the fact that the umbrella is silver on the inside rather than white, which would create a slightly softer look.

In order to fire the flash, I simply used the pop-up flash to fire the speedlight in slave mode. If your camera doesn't support something like that, you can spend more money and use radio triggers or simply get a manual flash with a sync port and use a cable to fire it the old fashioned (and extremely reliable) way.

Choking Up on the Umbrella

By putting the umbrella closer to the light source, it creates a hot spot on the reflective surface, which is brighter and more direct giving it a look that can more closely mimic that of a beauty dish.

The Shots: As you can see, the two frames look a bit different in terms of ambient light. I actually shot the budget photo a day later when it was later at night, so rather than getting natural ambient in the background, we're picking up the reddish hues from the street lights. It also, sadly, wasn't snowing, so we don't get the wonderful wintery globes in the frame from the out of focus snow catching the flash.

I shot the original at F/2.8 because the background is a little busy and I wanted to make sure that it didn't interfere with the subject. For the budget version, I started shooting at F/4 simply to prove that you don't need a fast lens to make something like this happen. The 50mm STM is about as budget as it gets, though, and it opens much wider, so the final image was taken at F/2.8 on that end as well.

As for the posing, our model here is only nine and wanted to show off her "messy model hair," so I obliged. I liked the contrast of it against the furry hood. I didn't want to get too fancy because the image is about framing the face with the hood.

Here are the images as they came straight out of the camera with no editing.

Unedited beauty dish image

Unedited umbrella image

The Next Steps: If you wanted to take a shot like this further without adding a lot of fancy equipment, I think I would try adding a kicker light to accentuate the fur on the hood. Any old hot light would probably do just fine, but you'd probably want to use something that's directional to keep the light from spilling into the key light and mixing up the temperatures on the face. Even an LED bulb with its notorious blue tint might work in a situation like that to make the whole thing feel more wintery.

When to Use This Technique: While a beauty dish does throw off diffuse light, it's also fairly directional and not overly forgiving. It's very popular with fashion photographers who have access to great makeup artists. In this case, the subject is young enough to have great skin, so it was also a non-issue. If you're shooting with someone who has less than perfect skin, it may not be the most flattering, as demonstrated by this glorious selfie. In that case, maybe stick to a shoot-through umbrella or something a bit softer.

Yes, this is what I actually look like. Sorry.

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Photogrpapher Karl Taylor Explains How to Shoot Dancing Photos With Flash and Motion Blur

Portrait shoots with dancers can be insanely fun. They typically have unprecedented body awareness and physical capabilities that are a blast to photograph. Shooter Karl Taylor put together a tutorial with light-maker Broncolor (this isn’t a sponsored post, but the video was produced by Broncolor) about how to take dance portraits with both flash and motion blur.

By using a mixture of strobes and hot lights, the photos have both a sharp version of the dancer, as well as a swirly trail of blur representing their body movements. While the video uses several pricy Broncolor lights, you could also achieve a similar effect using more simple equipment like a speed light and a basic lamp.

It’s a fun project to try and there are tons of possibilities due to the slightly unpredictable nature of the process.

You can see some of the results on Instagram.

From: ISO1200

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New Gear: PocketWizard Plus IV Radio Transceivers

Radio flash triggers have become standard issue equipment for many wedding photographers, but the older PocketWizard Plus III transceivers didn’t allow you to easily use a hot-shoe flash in addition to the triggers. Now, however, they have remedied that problem with the PocketWizard Plus IV transceivers.

At first glance, the Plus IV triggers actually look a bit like the their Flex TT5 transceivers, if a bit more narrow. They have a male hot shoe on the bottom and the female hot shoe on the top, so you can actually mount it directly between your camera and a speed light.

The triggers themselves don’t transmit TTL information, so any remote flashes you set up will have to be controlled manually. The flash on top of the camera, however, can still be set to auto mode, using the TTL readings from the camera.

PocketWizard Plus IV Radio Transceiver

So, if you were shooting a wedding reception, for instance, you could have your main flash mounted on top of the camera and Plus IV transceiver while using auto mode, and still fire two (or more) remote flashes that are controlled manually.

There are four different groups, and the Plus IV is actually fairly similar to the Plus III in a variety of ways. Since they’re transceivers, they can also be used to trigger remote cameras in addition to firing flashes.

There’s no hard release date for the Plus IV Transceivers yet, but PocketWizard says we can expect them to hit the market in Q1 of 2016. They also haven’t released an official price point for the Plus IV triggers, but the rep said he believed it would be in the same ballpark as the Plus III, which hovers around the $140-$150 mark.

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This Is How You Create a High-End Photograph of a Bottle of Wine

High-end product photography is an interesting sub-genre. Often, shots are meant to look as clean, simple, and elegant as possible, but that can require lots and lots of preparation and setup. In this video, (which was made as a promotional tool for Broncolor who didn't pay us to show it), Karl Taylor goes through his setup for what ultimately looks like a pretty simple shot of a bottle of wine.

As you can see from the video, you have to pay attention to a ton of different aspects from the color and placement of the lights in the background to the shapes of the highlights on the bottle itself. This kind of photography definitely isn't my strong suit so it's always fascinating for me to watch people who truly understand the process.

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This Is How You Shoot a Photo of an Airplane Using 30 Strobes

I love when photographers use really elaborate or wacky lighting scenarios, so when I heard about a photographer shooting a plane with a collection of 30 strobes, I was immediately sold already.

The photographers name is Dan Vojtěch and he was shooting a photo of pilot Martin Šonka for Red Bull. In order to capture the shots, they set up two sets of 15 lights each roughly 180-degrees from one another.

The resulting images are extremely dramatic and required some really impressive flying to achieve. A string of LED lights guided the pilot through the narrow passageway created by the lights.

Ultimately, the images might actually be a little too dramatic for my eye. I respect the crazy lighting setup, but I do tend to like a little more balance between ambient and flash. Still, it's a pretty impressive feat of photographic logistics.

From: F-Stoppers

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