Five Essential Accessories for the Strobist Photographer on the Go

Photographers who tend to shoot and use flashes while on locations typically also try to pack light. In most situations when you’re trying to shoot guerilla style and without getting permits, you need to be versatile yet also need to get your specific creative vision across. This can surely be made simple with just you, your camera, and a radio flash. But you can get even more out of your scene with a few extra compact items that are bound to not take up a lot of space in your bag.

Check these out!

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Review: Pictools Folding Beauty Dish (47.25 inches)

There’s been a trend in beauty dish creation over the past few years that the Pictools Folding beauty dish really adheres to: good quality while being easy to put together and use. To boot, the beauty dish is also fairly compact when fully collapsed. It goes into its own bag and can be assembled fairly quickly if you’re just a bit patient with some of its oddities.

What you’ll be rewarded with is a pretty awesome beauty dish that I personally feel works better as an octabank; and quite a sturdy one too!

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Lighting Basics: How to Light Portraits with a Beauty Dish

So far, we’ve covered how to light portraits with an umbrella, an octabank and a softbox–today we’re focusing on the beauty dish. Beauty dishes were used mostly by fashion and portrait photographers for a while and for the most part they still are. They’re designed to give a very specific soft look that is directional and uses light in an inefficient way. The look has been characterized as being like a softbox and an umbrella at the same time. That’s part of the beauty of a beauty dish–pun totally intended. There are lots that are available about there, and you can easily hack them to do what you want too.

So let’s get into it!

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How to Figure Out What Light Modifier To Use

Many photographers just getting into working with light specifically are often very confused about what light modifiers to use. But they’re also never quite sure what they should use for the type of work that they’re doing. The true answer is that everyone is making good stuff these days and that very few people will be able to look at an image and immediately tell what light modifiers you’re using in the same way that they won’t be able to tell your camera, lens, etc for the most part.

Instead, it’s all about the type of photo that you’re trying to create.

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Profoto Releases New Collapsible Beauty Dish

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Beauty dishes are awesome; but they’ve always been super annoying to carry around because they’re big and not at all collapsible. RingFlash created their own for speedlights a while back, but today Profoto is announcing their own for monolights. Originally called the Profoto Softlight Reflector, it’s now called the OCF Beauty Dish.

This dish isn’t made of metal but instead is made with fabric. It also has a speedring, rods, etc that snap into place. When not in use, it can be collapsed down and put into a bag.

They’re available in White and Silver for only $179; but can only be used with the Profoto B1 or B2 flashes. These are perfectly timed with WPPI 2016.

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The Confusion Behind Modern Light Modifiers for Strobists

ISO 400, 1/100th f2.8

ISO 400, 1/100th f2.8

What do you get when you cross an umbrella, a parabolic umbrella, a softbox, a beauty dish, and an octabank together? You get pretty much every well marketed light modifier that have been coming out in the past couple of years. Yes, there are some traditional softboxes or beauty dish, but they’re not looked at as the best of the best. Those modifiers instead are a cross between so many things.

This makes it so much tougher for the introductory strobists trying to understand how light works and how it falls, but it makes the understanding of it confusing for the experienced shooter too. Many of the more experienced strobists probably have an arsenal of light modifiers–umbrellas, softboxes, etc. They work well and have for years, but there is a very new generation of light modifiers out there that almost promise to be an all-in-one solution.

And for serious lack of better terminology, we’re going to call it the Light Source.

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The Convertible Umbrella: The Most Versatile Light Modifier

ISO 400, 1/100th f2.8

ISO 400, 1/100th f2.8

While many photographers love to work with softboxes, there are many other light modifiers out there. But the single most versatile light modifier out there is the umbrella–and more specifically the convertible umbrella. An umbrella can function as many different light modifiers and the right one can be all you need in your lighting kit. Indeed, it’s a simple to use and very effective light modifier that gives you the most bang for your buck.

To understand why, you’ll need to understand more about how the umbrella works.

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