Phottix is continuing to build up their light modifiers with their brand new line of Luna modifiers. These modifiers are collapsible–similar to the Westcott Rapid Boxes which we previously reviewed. The beauty dish comes in a 28 inch configuration while the Octa comes in a 43 inch size. The modifiers use fiberglass rods that connect to a speedring for mounting to your favorite lights. Granted, it comes with a Bowens speedring, but those are becoming an industry standard at this point. However the rings can be swapped out for another.
The Octa will set you back $75 while the folding beauty dish will cost $65.
Recently, I attended a photography event, This Is Studio Light, organized by my friend Scott Wyden and hosted by Dynalite. I am a big supporter of helping others learn the craft of photography, as well as learning as much as I possibly can and that’s what we did that day. We started the day with a presentation by Scott called “Photography Studio Lighting On A Budget”(free on Udemy). We then discussed light modifiers with Dynalite’s Jim Morton. Since a lot of Dynalite’s equipment has built-in 32 channel Pocket Wizard transceivers to enable wireless shooting, we had Pocket Wizard Plus III’s and X’s to use. While shooting I got a quick hands on with a few Dynalite products for the first time.
Today I’m giving you a very quick behind the scenes look at how I sometimes photograph items for the site. I’ve got one style with a black background where I just point a speedlite at the ceiling, and then there is a more complicated setup, like what I did yesterday for the Zeiss 15mm f2.8 review.
Years ago, I took a box and glued white pieces of paper to it: the same type of paper that you would find in those large art sketch pads. I did this all over in varying layers. The front and top are cut off. On top of the setup, I usually place a light. In this case, it is my Chris Gampat Beauty Dish Hack and 580 EX II. However, I shot all of the photos with my Olympus 17mm f2.8 and EP2. In order to set the flash off, I needed a hard connection. My Phottix wireless triggers didn’t work, so I instead opted for Syl Arena’s OCF TTL cord. Olympus and Canon’s TTL systems don’t play nice together, so I set the flash to manual. Then I adjusted all of my settings and blasted the item with light.
Very little post-production was done to the images.
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As many of you know, we’re fans of film here at The Phoblographer. Pretty much every staff member shoots with film at one time or another and we have a real feeling that all of photography’s faces and mediums should be experienced in order for someone to find themselves and their identity. Personally, I’m smitten with my Polaroid Land Camera 210. But it’s limited in that I have pretty much no manual control over the shutter or aperture. In practice, that meant that I was shooting photos with some weird looks to them.
And then I decided to start using a flash. I’m smacking myself for not doing this earlier; as it’s so easy to use and will immediately improve the quality of your images by tenfold.
Editor’s Note: Thank you so much to my very good buddy Gabe Biderman for the Instant Film.
How many of you out there are afraid of, or intimidated by off-camera lighting? Don’t be afraid to admit it; I was in that same boat when I first began too. A favorite quote that I have accepted lately, “If you’re too afraid to try for fear of failure, you’ve failed already” – Anonymous. If anyone knows where this quote came from, let me know in the comments. Okay, back to the subject. You can read an infinite amount of material on off-camera lighting. The problem is that there is almost too much information. You might fall into the trap of info overload without actually learning for yourself with experimentation and practice. My advice would be to read enough information to learn how to get your flash off the camera and then get out there and shoot.
I’ve grown smitten with Beauty Dishes as of late. For those of you that don’t know, a Beauty Dish is a light modifier that takes light firing into the back of the dish, reflects it against a plate, and then reflects it against a white dish to spread the light out evenly. When I tested out the Strobros, I knew that I had to have more. So with some inspiration from Todd Owyoung and DIYPhotography‘s Editor Udi Tirosh’s book previously reviewed here, I set out to use existing items to make a Beauty Dish work with my Canon speedlite on the cheap.