Lighting Reviews

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Jason Schneider  |  Jul 20, 2015  |  0 comments

The flash bracket has become the “forgotten accessory” in photography but it’s still an essential tool if you’re looking to achieve consistent studio-quality lighting on the fly.

Jason Schneider  |  Jul 20, 2015  |  1 comments

If you read our story on "7 Reasons You Still Need a Flash Bracket for Photography," perhaps you’ve decided it’s time to purchase one of these photography workhorses. Here are our recommendations for 8 Great Flash Brackets to help you achieve studio-quality lighting on the fly.

Joe Farace  |  Jul 17, 2015  |  0 comments

Portrait photographers get to practice their craft with an amazing selection of different light sources, including everything from hot and cold continuous lighting to power pack-and-head and monolight flash systems to speedlights. Each has its own unique advantages and disadvantages depending on the kind of work you do but when it comes to flash, I’ve always been partial to monolights because of their built-in power supply. I’ve had a monolight fail on a job before but because the other monolights on hand had their own power supply, I was able to complete the assignment.

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Jun 11, 2015  |  0 comments

Raise your hand if you’ve ever taken a flash photo and wished a) it wasn’t so washed out, b) it didn’t have those harsh, black shadows behind the subject, c) it wasn’t so bluish all over, or d) it were possible to do it all over again because the results just plain sucked. Does this picture sound familiar? You need a flash modifier. In fact, you may need a BounceLite.

Jack Neubart  |  May 22, 2015  |  0 comments

Light is a precious commodity in close-up and macro photography. The closer you get to your subject, the more light you lose through lens extension. Move to within inches of the subject and your camera or body may block the existing daylight. Also, the closer you get, the more depth of field you lose, so it would help to stop down. All of this translates to a need for additional light—in other words, a supplementary light source. What’s more, when shooting live critters and wind-blown plants, we may also need that light source to freeze subject movement, or at least provide shutter speeds that are fast enough to contain movement. To meet these needs, I’ve often turned to a macro ringflash and, alternatively, a macro twin flash. An economical alternative is an LED ringlight.

Joe Farace  |  Apr 03, 2015  |  0 comments

The studio lighting genie is not going back into the bottle anytime soon and LED light sources are finding their place in more and more camera rooms. Clever and versatile lighting systems such as Rotolight’s new Anova V2 and their compact RL48-B battery-powered portable lights are part of the reason why.

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Apr 02, 2015  |  0 comments

When the folks at Fotodiox asked me if I wanted to look at one of their FlapJack portable LED studio lights, I told them “no.” 

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Feb 17, 2015  |  0 comments

Modern digital cameras perform so well under dim light at high ISO settings that some photographers haven’t used a camera flash for months (maybe even longer). Well, here’s a news flash for them: for a small investment and a little practice they can turn most shoe-mount flash units into a controllable package of portable sunshine.

Joe Farace  |  Jan 27, 2015  |  1 comments

Traditional flat reflectors do a good job of bouncing fill light when placed under a subject’s chin for portrait lighting but catchlights in their eyes can sometimes appear less than natural. Westcott’s Eyelighter Reflective Panel addresses the problem by providing an arc-shaped surface that matches the natural curvature of the human eye. Specifically designed for beauty and portrait photography, the Eyelighter reflects an arched light up toward your subject, producing not only flattering light but also a catchlight that follows the natural curve of the iris. Unlike three-piece, multi-reflector kits, this catchlight is seamless, without gaps.

Jack Neubart  |  Dec 19, 2014  |  0 comments

Shoe-mounted flashes are handy tools. Where space or weight is a concern, a kit with two or three shoe-mounted flashes is much easier to carry than even the smallest power pack/head combo or a low-output monolight, and more versatile.

Steve Bedell  |  Oct 24, 2014  |  0 comments

Profoto B1 lights are the first studio lights to feature built-in TTL. They also have their own battery and controller so you can go on location and just pop up a light and start shooting. As of this writing they are available only for Canon, but by the time you read this the Nikon version should be available as well. To me, this is tailor-made for location shooting, so that’s where I did my tests.

Joe Farace  |  Oct 19, 2014  |  0 comments

This report and product roundup is based on my visit to this year’s WPPI Expo, a show popular with portrait, event, and wedding photographers. As I visited the many lighting companies at the show, it became clear that studio and location lighting is going through its biggest changes since the invention of the flash bulb.

Joe Farace  |  Oct 07, 2014  |  0 comments

The first thing I did after receiving Flashpoint’s 180 battery-powered monolight was shoot a few tests to get a feel for how well the unit performed. Although impressed, more so than with some other battery-powered units I’ve used, at one point while shooting with a Canon EOS 60D, a BG-E9 battery grip, and an EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens, I thought, “Wow, why is this camera so heavy?” That was when the “Small Monolight/Small Camera” concept was born and I decided to shoot this review using a Micro Four Thirds camera. And why not, so I worked with my Panasonic Lumix G5 for the test.

Steve Bedell  |  Sep 09, 2014  |  0 comments

The first time I saw the Ice Light was at a trade show a couple of years ago. Models were walking around the trade show carrying what looked to be lightsabers from Star Wars. It sure was a great way to get attention, but I dismissed it as a gimmick, especially when I saw the price—$500 for a stick of light! But later I got to see Jerry Ghionis, who came up with the idea, use the Ice Light at one of his workshops. Hmm, maybe there is some merit to this thing after all.

Joe Farace  |  Aug 05, 2014  |  0 comments

There are two kinds of portrait photographers: the first likes to shoot with “available light,” by which they mean “every light that’s available.” For some shooters, setting up five lights to make a portrait is just getting started. The second group prefers to use as few light sources as possible because there’s less gear to fiddle with, which translates into more time spent concentrating on the subject. Isn’t that what making a portrait is all about? Using fewer lights is less expensive, reduces setup time, and results in less weight to transport on location. But can you make a portrait with just one light?

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