What lights for portable/cart event photography?

Feb 9, 2007
Chicago IL
What would be the best lighting for event photography. Would like to have a cart with a lightpole attached with a printer ect...... I've seen these set ups and they usually have a soft box attached to the cart and can edit and print out photos right there on the spot. What is best continuous lighting or a flash? Any idea or tips? Was thinkg of starting off with a light from Calumet photo http://www.calumetphoto.com/item/CE1450/ . Can i use an sb-800 with this light if i wanted?
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I have never shot the kind of event you're talkign about. When I decided I wanted a portable solution for portraits and such, I chose a cheap light stand and umbrella combo along with my wirelessly controlled sb600's. I use two Sb600s, one on each stand...and sometimes I use the Sb800 on a stand..all controlled by my D200.
Jan 29, 2005
St. George, Utah
Continuous lighting is hot and difficult to work with. I would suggest either strobes or you might consider using multiple flash arrangements using an SU800 infrared commander on camera and two or three SB800/600 flashes. The Nikon CLS is wonderful when used properly. As to a laptop and printer for on location work you can hook up such an arrangement with the proper cord from your camera. A good demo DVD is "The Speed of Light" put out by Nikon. It doesn't give you many technical details but it does show how it is done. As to diffusers, umbrella's and pop out reflectors/diffusers work well. You might also consider an octobox or softbox.

Here is a nice little arrangement you might want to consider. Of course there is no cart here but there are a number of those that could be used.

Tom Voegeli

At the local Santa setup, they were using a monoblock strobe, similar enough to the Calumet flash you link to, and a small softbox about 18" square. I don't remember if the monoblock was. Since I know I have never seen a Speedo monoblock, or an Alien Bee (in person), it must have been a Calumet, Bowens, White Lightning (cousin to A.B.) monoblock. The box was a Chimera (similar to one I own) They had a DSLR mounted to a tripod head right on the cart. The computer and printer were housed in the cart. If you use a soft box that is too big, you have more potential for eyeglass reflections, and your light gets less contrasty.

Don't skimp on power in the flash: if you are shooting 3 people, full length, 20 feet away, at f8 or so, my guess is that you will need 1500ws or more. especially with a softbox diffusing your light. A small lightbox also means that people are less likely to run into it, and it puts less stress on the flash mounting points. I say you can't have too much flash. You can always turn a 2400ws unit down if it's too much; but you can't turn an 800ws unit UP if it's not enough.

I have Speedotron Black Line power packs and unpowered heads, but I have used White Lightning and Calumet/Bowens monoblocks. I thought the White Lightnings were very nice.
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