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My built-in lightstand

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Uncle Frank, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. I took some bio pics for a new trainer at the gym. I couldn't set up umbrellas in the busy workout areas, so I resorted to my event photography approach... a flash in my outstretched left hand. I used the Lumiquest 5x7" softbox for the modifier.

    Note: Pbase is having problems with hot links, so I've added urls for each picture.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


    View attachment 230294

    View attachment 230295
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2008
  2. madone


    Jan 9, 2006
    I like the 3rd one Frank, you captured her enthusiasm! However, I am finding the shadows in 1&2 to be distracting to me.
  3. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    Her skintone looks great. The shadows in 1 & 2 are a tiny bit distracting but I like her expression best in #1.

    Do you hold the flash directly out to the left? Or up higher at an angle? I've hand-held my flash once or twice but my arm is all over the place and I'm not really sure what to do!
  4. I hold my hand out to the left and slightly above my head. The tough part is learning how to aim it at the subject.
  5. gvk


    Jun 17, 2005
    Mystic, CT
    These shadows show how ineffective such a small softbox is, even with relatively short flash to subject distance (~2m or so?).
  6. True, but it's a tough workspace, and on the few occasions where I've used a big umbrella on a lightstand, I still got shadows... just softer ones :wink:.

    Light modifiers are very important, but the most critical factor is getting the speedlight out of the hotshoe. With a little planning, like moving out from the wall, the background shadows can be minimized.

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  7. edhu


    Jul 21, 2008
    RRS WPF-1 or a monopod can be used as extension of your arm. Put the flash on it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2008

  8. I know what *** means, but I have no idea what a RRS ***-1 is... and neither does the Really Right Stuff website.

    Thanks for the ideas, but I don't think a monopod is a good solution for positioning a flash at an event or in crowded quarters. For single subjects at close range, I find my left arm is long enough to provide the seperation I need for off camera flash results.

    Here's a picture of me in shooting position at a recent reception... courtesy of my backup photographer, Kurt (aka Kemnik).

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    And here's a sample result.

    View attachment 230298
  9. have you tried leaving the flash on the camera and holding a reflector out there? I think its more comfortable on the move than dealing with tupperware and holding flashes at arm's length all the time. and the reflector can be stowed quickly and the flash redirected for bouncing a different surface.

    my reflector is a lexan window panel. painted silver, then white so one side is gloss silver and the flip side is matte white. I used it as a place to kneel on wet grass or sharp rocks. also works well as a fan on hot days hauling gear. slips into the back pocket of my camera bag.
  10. GKR1


    Apr 19, 2007
    San Diego
    That is hard core!! Kudos.
  11. Must be a small gym, if you cant get in a lightstand.

    How you shape the light is as important as the position of it. Depending on what kind of light you want/need.

    I personally find the hotspots to be unflattering, and the shadows to really detract from the subject.

    EDHU meant this one, eventhough i doubt it would help you much in this scene.
  12. Thanks for clearing up the nomenclature. RRS makes fine gear, but I already have a CB Jr. bracket, and haven't used it since I bought an su800. I can create a significantly larger seperation between the lens and the flash by holding the remote in my extended left hand... and the seperation is lateral as well as above the lens.

    The gym is large but it's stuffed with gear. To make it worse, my subject set the appointment for the beginning of her work shift, when her hair and makeup would be freshly done. That's a busy time of the day, so there were lots of sweaty bodies in spandex milling about, and any strobe on a lightstand would have been in dire peril.

    I'm sorry you don't like the result, but you've never been a fan of my work. Perhaps it's because your bias is so strongly towards the technical, while mine is heavily weighted towards flattering expressions. Unless they're clipped, I rarely notice brighter areas, like those on my model's cheekbones, until someone mentions them :Curved:. Personally, I think there's a market for different styles, and have always appreciated your carefully composed pics.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2008
  13. edhu


    Jul 21, 2008
    Frank, you seemed having rough days...
    You can extend the RRS WPF-1 as totally straight by adjusting the two joints then hold it as a stick with flash mount on it. It has MUCH larger span than your arm only. Your photos do not look professional at all with harsh light and shadow.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2008
  14. Thanks for the suggestions and the critique, Ed.
  15. edhu


    Jul 21, 2008
    Frank, thanks, I am new here. I bought the WPF-1 as flash bracket (own the Custom Brackets Jr. too). Then found out that I can extend the WPF-1 as straight as stick and unmounted it from the L-bracket to position light freely.
  16. PeterRH

    PeterRH Guest

    That's what I do at events, commercial briefs, parties, you name it, it goes on a monopod unless I'm really stuck in which case I use a beauty dish attachment with an on-camera flash.

    You have to want to try this monopod technique, and then use it a few times though.

    In my case driven by a desire to avoid holding a D2x and flash together (or in different hands which would leave me with aching arms after holding a D2 in one hand even for a short time) and to avoid intrusive shadows wherever possible.

    But where you just don't have the setup time or space, who can argue with the portable built-in lightstand for getting the flash off-camera which has to be a good thing.

    Mind you Frank, you might avoid some of these comments with pp work for your clients or the audience here. But then that might detract from what you do, and who you are and the practical aspects of your advice, so who am I to suggest doing otherwise.
  17. Edited to remove content at the request of the OP. Help was not asked for nor was it appreciated. My apologies to the OP.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 6, 2008
  18. It would mostly be for the audience here, Peter. In print, those highlights are virtually non-existant. I'm just sharing some approaches that I've found useful, but I have no argument.... in fact, I'm flattered... if someone improves upon them. I just hope those who have done so will share samples of their own work.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 6, 2008
  19. Medic1210, please see my PM.

  20. It's been removed. I guess the old saying is true. No good deed goes unpunished. My apologies for trying to help.
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