Five Necessities for the New Strobist

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials for th Strobist Street Photographer (9 of 9)ISO 2001-200 sec at f - 3.5

You’ve seen the light! Now you realize and value why off-camera lighting is so very important and all the creative benefits that can be had with using it. If you’re still new to this bright world, you’ll be delighted to know that there is so much more out there beyond the use of infrared transmission. Plus, you can shape your light to look so much better than a bare flash or bounced flash can.

Here’s a quick roundup of some excellent items that you may want to pick up.

Radio Transmitters


To give you the ultimate in freedom when it comes to placing your flashes in a scene instead of relying on line of sight, radio transmitters are your best bet. Radio transmitters let you trigger your flashes when your shutter speed fires–but you’ll only be able to do that at a certain shutter speed until clipping results. Some good choices are Phottix Odins (which can provide TTL metering) or PocketWizard Plus X transceivers (which are affordable and reliable.)

Kupo Convi Clamp


One of the great things about embracing strobism is placing your flash anywhere. If you want something secure to use when mounting your flash onto something else, we recommend that you go with a hack that pros use. Kupo’s Convi Clamp is a great accessory that mounts onto pretty much anything and clamps down with lots of force. For the best results, get one with a hand crank and be sure to get a mounting plate so that you can screw the flash’s stand onto the clamp.

60 Inch Convertible Umbrella


Umbrellas can provide you with loads of versatility and a great look when used correctly. But to get the most out of one item, we recommend using a convertible umbrella. These umbrellas are typically white on the inside and have a black backing to trap the light inside. But the backing is removable and the converted umbrella becomes pure it. It can then be used in a shoot through fashion that usually works pretty well with off-camera flashes.

You’ll also need an umbrella stand to take the best advantage of one of these light modifiers.

Westcott Apollo Orb


Westcott’s Apollo Orb softboxes are the best instruments designed for use with speedlights and on-camera flashes that are mounted off the camera. The reason for this has to do with their design which incorporates the use of placing the light through the bottom of the softbox instead of in the back–which overall just makes more sense on a photo shoot. The user can either point the flash towards the back of the softbox and the light will bounce around and out the front, or they can position it facing forward and have the interior baffles do the light diffusion.

Many photographers have already fallen in love with them, and chances are that you might too. The Orbs are better than the company’s Rapid Box.

Sekonic Litemaster Pro L-478D Light Meter


Though any light meter will do, Sekonic’s Lightmaster line are the coolest looking due to their touch screen interface. Light meters will be essential for getting your flash’s exposure correct the first time around and without having to sit there, shoot, and adjust your exposures at all. It’s an absolute must if you want to get into the serious stages of shooting portraits and studio work.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.