Exploring Small Strobes: Why Use Speedlights Off Camera

Exploring Small StrobesWelcome to this multi-part series of articles on Exploring Small Strobes by Yanik Chauvin from Yanik’s Photo School.

In part 1 on Exploring Small strobes, I looked at why using flash guns instead of the built-in flash and studio strobes. Today, I’ll be going through the importance of using your speedlight off camera.

So, we already know that direct flash from your built-in flash gives unflattering results, to say the least. Using your speedlight in the same way won’t change much. I did mention that you can redirect the light by rotating the head of your flash gun and bouncing the light off ceilings and walls but you’re still very limited in your creativity. So what’s a photographer to do? I’ll tell you. Get that speedlight off your camera to unleash its full potential!

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Army Surplus Camera Carrying Belt

Army Surplus Camera Carrying Belt I said is a few times before. Army surplus stores are a great place for photographer to hang out at and find some nice finds. I think that there is a strong connection between the needs of a soldier and the needs of a photographer.

One particular point where needs converge, is carrying equipment. It is only reasonable that both will need systems that will help them carry dedicated equipment. The soldier needs to carry riffle parts, bullets, field accessories; The photographer needs to carry lenses, small strobes, memory cards and so on.

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The Gridspot Project

DIY GridspotNot long ago, I wrote about Saxon PC Gridspots. If you are saying "Hey! What’s a PC has to do with gridspots?" you’d like to read this article about using PC Chassis air flow control honeycombs as great light modifiers.

It gets better.

The guys at SaxonPC asked what they can do for DIYP readers. Can we have some gridspots? Sure! That was it, so there are 5 of those gridspots up for grabs. 

So, here is how it’s gonna go. If you want one of those cool gridspots use the comments section below to let us know what you are going to shoot with it. Yes it is that easy:

1. Decide what you are going to shoot. 

2. Make a comment telling the world about it. Please include your Flickr account / mail address or any other way that will make it possible for me to contact you. Since there are only five of those to give out. Please be sure that you can make the final image in time. If you can not, you can add a comment with something fun to shoot, but tell that you are not here for the gridspot.

3. If you are selected, get ready to get a SaxonPC gridspot in about one week after the selection is made.

4. Take the image you planned and post it in DIYP.

In two weeks from today – that is November first, we will ship five gridspots to the readers with the best five shooting ideas. I am going to the sole judge for this. Two weeks later, we will post those five images here on DIYP.

The idea here is to go though an exercise in planning a shot and making it happen. I will not throw you in the deep water without some help:

Building a Black Straw Gridspot and Portrait Ideas
Film Noir Assignment @ Strobist

The other idea is to give away a few gridspots, so the two best shoots will also receive the gridspot mutipack.

There is no restriction on subject, number of flashes or special techniques. You can use an additional DIY gridspot, Gels, and other flashes, and light modifiers. Portraiture, still life and actions shots are all welcomed.

UPDATE: project is no longer taking submissions. Notification mails were sent to the winners. keep watching for final image.

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Welcome Tronix

Please join me in welcoming Innovatronix as a sponsor for DIYP. Innovatronix are the makers of the awesome Explorer XT battery pack I reviewed just a while ago.

If you did not read the review yet, let me fill you in quickly. Tronix make a killer battery-pack that you can take outdoors and power your favorite studio lighting anywhere in the world. OK, not anywhere, you need to actually be able to be on location yourself.

If you are bummed about using speedlights anytime you leave the studio, you’ll surely appreciate the portability.

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Using A Cooling Honeycomb As A DIY Gridspot

DIY GridspotI just love gridspots. The amount of light control that a gridspot will give you is incredible. So, a while back I ordered some honeycomb grids from saxonpc. It is with two of those gridspots that I took the image on the left, but first thing first. In fact Saxon PC is specializing in making computer cooling solutions, little did they know that their honeycomb is just perfect for light control. OK, they knew, they made a site for it. Yet it was fun to say “little did they know”.

One of the first projects on DIYP was a coroplast made gridspot, which totally rocked, but getting those nice black honeycombs tickled so much and I caved in.

In fact this solution is very similar to HonlPhoto’s 1/4″ and 1/8″ gridspot solutions. If you are willing to settle a bit on the looks and spend a few minutes modding, you can save a few Dollars. Not that a few dollars will take you anywhere today.

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Exploring Small Strobes: Why should I Use a Speedlight

Exploring Small StrobesWelcome to this multi-part series of articles on Exploring Small Strobes by Yanik Chauvin from Yanik’s Photo School.

You’ve probably heard or read this a gazillion times by other photographers so I thought that I would be the gazilionth and one to tell you that creating a great photo is all about lighting. Light is what sculpts your scene. You can have the best composed shot but if your lighting is crap, good chances that your shot will be also. And sometimes to get good light, you’ll need to work with artificial light sources. One of the most popular light source used by photographers are strobes; also called flashes.

So I figured that I would give you my insights on small strobes (also known as flash guns or speedlights) in this multi part saga here on DIYPhotography.net. So let’s get right to it, shall we.

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What Happens When You Provoke the Guerrilla

What do you get by provoking a guerrilla party? Apparently, if you provoke the right guerrilla party and do it just the right way you can try out one of it’s nifty lighting devices.

Bert Stephani had an insightful comment about the “Guerrilla”ness of the Florida based California Sunbounce Guerilla video by Michael Grecco. In short he said that going out to shoot with a bunch of stylists, assistance, hair dressers and models is not really Guerrilla. Bert also suggested showing the Sunbounce guys what’s real Guerrilla.

Whadayaknow? They picked the glove and sent Bert their Micro-Mini to try out. Here is the funny yet informative video Bert took:

Hey, this is also a great chance to browse around Bert’s site – Confessions of a Photographer. The Great insights and videos will easily chew your evening away.

Grab the full Bert Stephani Video and post here.

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More Power To Your Flash – External SLA Battery Flash Mod

More Power To Your Flash - External SLA Battery FlashIf you’ve been shooting with a flash for a while, I’m sure you had some battery problem or another at least once. Like when one of four batteries goes bad and quickly discharges the other three. Or when it’s cold and the batteries don’t hold their charge so well anymore. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have a more reliable source of power? One that virtually lasts for ever (well, not forever, but for a darn long time). This is probably on the wish list of anyone who is shooting off shoe and don’t care much about weight, but do care about recycling time and number of pops that can be squeezed in a session.

Konstantin Sirotkin describes how to make a Flash mod that will allow you to connect your flash to an external power source.
Yes this is an external power source, no mater how bomb-like it looks.

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The DIY R-Strap

The DIY R-StrapThere are several ways to wear your camera strap, you can wear it on your neck in what I’d love to call “The Lunchbox Carry”; you can wear it on your shoulder in a “Lazyman Hang” or you can wear it across your body, like soldiers are wearing their weapons in a “Weapon Cross”. Which one is your favorite?

Now, each of these hangs can be rated on three factors:

  • How fast does it take you to bring the camera into a nice shooting position?
  • How comfortable is it?
  • How safe is it to your camera?

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Two Power Tips For The Traveling Photographer

travel photography - power stripSo, I’m going on a few days trip abroad, let’s see what’s in my bag: Laptop, Image bank, battery charger for my flash batteries, Camera battery charger and cell phone. Socket adapter for laptop power charger, power line for laptop charger, Socket adapter for cell phone charger, socket adapter for Image bank, power wire for battery charger … Are you bored yet? What’s with all those wires and socket adapters?

Here are two tips for the traveling photographer that will save you precious suitcase space and money. Not to mention reduce the number of items you need to cross of your traveling check list.

Of course, you can always take your power with you and avoid the need for any adapters, but some why I think that an 8 Kg battery will consume you entire suitcase.

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