Strobist lighting refers to using off-camera flash and isn’t usually known for using LEDs.
Ask any photographer that has worked in the past 10 years, and they’ll tell you about their strobist experiences. It all stemmed from David Hobby’s popular website. Then it became a huge deal on Flickr. Then on Instagram and YouTube. Some folks will tell you that you can do it all with LEDs and Photoshop. But honestly, that’s not true. A flash acts with a camera’s shutter speed and the laws of physics to actually shoot photos differently. They give you an extra pop that you really just can’t get with LED lights. And why would you bother spending extra time in Lightroom or Photoshop if you got it perfectly in-camera? We talked to a bunch of strobist photographers over the years. Here are a few of our favorite stories.
Kyle Kong Draws his Strobist Influence from Video Games
In our interview, he said:
“Remember I said I wasted 4 years playing video games, and watching movies? Well maybe I didn’t totally waste those times. They are really the major part of my inspiration. I love drawing and bought lots of art books. I especially love those video game art books. Seeing how the those masters create their art from scratch. What they did on the composition for each painting, what background they used the make their subject stand out. What lighting effect and color they use to express the mood. These are very inspiring to me. Something even more interesting is they are either painting or 3D rendering. In order to create them in a photo, I have to really think hard about how I’m going light my subject or sometimes even the background. It’s not easy, but very rewarding.”
Olivier Valsecchi Uses Ashes and Strobist Photography to Tell a Survival Story
In our interview:
“Keep in mind that the series is about life and death in a same image. The paradox. The question : are they alive ? are they ghosts ? We’re talking about a mystical dimension here and our general belief is that Creation, and God, come from above. There are some religious references in those pictures, and it wasn’t intentional, I’m not a religious person, it’s just that they were the strongest pictures because they refer to art history. Religious art is a huge and very interesting heritage, and it’s impossible not to include that heritage in a body of work that talks about reincarnation, life after death. You see, ashes often symbolize the remains of a human being. Therefore, someone wearing those ashes could be interpreted as bringing his or her memory to a second life.”
Strobist Photographer Jaanus Ree Photographed Windsurfers
In our interview, he said:
“At first I did not know what lights to use Fast/slow, then transmitters- rather than using hypersync or 1/250 shutter. What lens to use- I had to choose between 200mm f2.8 with what I could get city closer but with higher ISOs or 85mm with an f1.4 aperture and nicer quality. In the end I found out it was the fast shutter with a wide aperture that created the best result.
Also as I dealt with a water I had to make sure that the transmitters worked, so I brought them away from every other piece of the technical stuff. This is why you can see me holding the transmitter with one hand while shooting with the other.”
Gretchen Robinette Used Flash at a Previous Afro Punk Festival
In our interview, she said:
“Every time, I just said,”Hi would you mind if I took your photo?” Afropunk is really a space for the freedom of self expression and feeling proud of your own uniqueness, and it was so gratifying to meet so many people who felt confident in their own individuality and wanted to be photographed.”
Brandon Kidwell Did These Double Exposures With Off-Camera Flash and No Photoshop
In our interview, he states:
“Photoshop is such an interesting thing for those that enjoy multiple exposures. For client work, it’s absolutely necessary as it is not likely you will pass all levels of approval in the first go. There are always adjustments and considerations. However, for the artist that creates multiple exposures for personal (or professional) work in camera, it’s fulfilling in the sense that once the final shutter clicks, your composition is complete. There is such a great feeling when you take your inspiration, find your setting or landscape, find or set your light, get the emotion of the subject and it all comes together, then click, you’ve captured it. All the work is front loaded save for a few minor adjustments and you can let it go. With Photoshop it’s very hard to tell when the image is complete. I think it’s human nature each time you see an image you created using the software you will find something you’d like to change or wish you would have done differently because you can or you could have.”