Reviewer Travis Lawton’s Favorite Items From 2011

Okay, so I’m the newest writer here at The Phoblographer and I haven’t personally reviewed much gear other than my own but I do still have some favorite items in mind for you guys. I’m sure next year around this time I’ll have a ton of things to recommend but for now I have 3 items that are on my mind.

Read on to check out my recommendations.

Personally, I love artificially lit images. Call it what you will; off-camera lighting, flash, strobist, etc. By using off camera lighting, you are creating an image that the camera can’t do by itself. I feel like I’m more compelled by an image that I can tell had more thought go into it as to where and how the light fell within it. I also believe that by learning and using strobist techniques, it sets you just that much higher on the photography ladder as not everyone Joe Schmo with a camera can do what you can do.

Part of what goes along with shooting off-camera is knowing and using light modifiers so that you can fully manipulate light. Below are two of my favorite and relatively inexpensive lighting modifiers to really kick up your lighting game.

Super Amazing Product #1

Westcott Apollo 28" Softbox

Westcott Apollo 28" Softbox

The Westcott 28″ Apollo softbox. Although we haven’t officially reviewed this product here (maybe I need to), this has been one of my go-to lighting modifiers since I purchased it earlier this year. The Apollo collapses down just like a regular umbrella so it’s a great size to stuff in your lighting bag or just grab and go. It also attaches to your light stand just like an umbrella, no speed rings to hassle with. You can literally pop this thing open, mount it and start shooting within a minute or so.

The light quality that comes out of it is beautiful. Check out a couple of shots I’ve created using this product.

Shot Using Westcott Apollo 28" Softbox

Shot Using Westcott Apollo 28" Softbox

Westcott Apollo 28" Softbox Used As Key Light

Westcott Apollo 28" Softbox Used As Key Light

Super Amazing Product #2

The Gary Fong LightSphere Collapsible Diffuser. Although we reviewed this a while ago, I still wanted to include this as my favorite items of this year as I also own and frequently use this product. I hate direct on-camera flash. The light is so harsh and unforgiving. For those times when you need to use your flash on-camera, this nifty little item will diffuse that harsh light coming from the flash and create pleasing images with nice soft light. View our full review of this product here.

Super Amazing Product #3

The Lowepro Video Pack 350 AW. This was a bag that I was asked to review for the site and after I finished my review, this is now the bag that goes with me all the time. After owning several bags, this has been my favorite by a long shot. Check out my full review here.

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