Overkill for equipment ?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Summer75, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    Messages:
    3,728
    Likes Received:
    432
    Location:
    Eddington, ME
    I use a Strobaframe Quick-Flip at walk around events. But I have mine with a Manfroto QR plate base added to it. The speedlight is connected by an SC-17 cable (3' coiled cable for non-Nikon folk). I can mount the camera to a tripod / head, or to the Quick-Flip. And if I want, can mount the entire thing on the tripod/head. I have used this set up for a very long time.

    Sorry, I hid the lower QR plate with the hotshoe connector.

    [​IMG]


     
  2. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    15,987
    Likes Received:
    3,993
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    About the largest diffuser that I would put on an on-camera speedlight is one of those 8" x 10" (?) (IIRC) softbox attachments. They are very light weight, so weight is not a problem, but at some point a large diffuser may begin to interfere with the operation of your camera.

    If you have a white plastic "dome" diffuser, that will help, but depending on the venue, I would probably just bounce the flash off the ceiling or a nearby wall. Even without the dome attachment. So if the ceiling is white or light-colored, then just swivel the head upward and snap away.
     
  3. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    Messages:
    6,151
    Likes Received:
    1,778
    Location:
    US
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I've done sports and events using the existing light. I don't think I've ever seen a photographer at an event toting around a light stand, etc. When/if the local news would show up they'd be dragging their camera equipment in, but usually get their footage or interview and then they're done and out of there. It doesn't seem practical to be carting equipment around when you're working an event, especially if it's a longer event.
     
  4. Summer75

    Summer75 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2015
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    5
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    The good news it that I found a helper for the first day to carry the light for the first day. This will allow me to go in and see how thick the crowds are and than I can make an assessment for what I will do for the following days of the event (and it gives me a chance to see how people respond to the equipment... and this event I can't see a problem in that regard it is more the thickness of the crowd and navigating that I don't know about).
     
  5. Summer75

    Summer75 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2015
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    5
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yes for sporting events I don't think it would be safe unless you are on the sidelines. I shoot a local fundraising competition where there is rally's, rope tugs, zumba, races, etc. It would simply not be safe or practical to think I could cart a lightstand around in that atmosphere or crowds. I think one has to consider the atmosphere, the types of photos one wants to get, the existing lighting, the social aspects (it is a serious event, adrenaline based sports, etc), and put it altogether and make a decision from there.

    I got the idea of doing for events from another photographer I saw at an event. He had a lighstand with just his flash on it. He didn't use it for the whole event (as it was crowded) but did use it in bigger rooms. He kinda left it along the wall and moved it around abit now and than. When he did video, he than used a silver umbrella for the video only. But he did at times almost jog through the thick crowd with his lighstand with his flash on it, to get it to the other side of the event. That was the first time I ever saw that and that's what got me started on it. But having "just the flash" on a lightstand does stand out less than a softbox on there as well.

    For this event coming up I do think I will bring the lights with an assistant the first day and than probably go with the lightstand for the days to come (or it is too crowded, to find a helper for the those days too). If standing out seems to be a problem, I could just do the flash on the lighstand as well. At the end of the day, I want to get the photos that I feel good about, and that matters more than what people think (as long as I am not getting in the way or disturbing anyone).
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
  6. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    Messages:
    3,292
    Likes Received:
    1,415
    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    This is basically how I started out in professional photography. I was an apprentice (at a young age) for a professional photographer and while I had lots of tasks, holding the "side light" was one of them (probably the main thing that I did).

    We used a light slave to trigger the off-camera flash (a Norman flash ... though this was more than 30 years ago, they still make these things: Battery Portable Systems - Complete Kits ) - VERY powerful and very very fast re-cycle times (but not cheap). We mounted it on the top of a monopod which was hand-held by the assistant (me). If we wanted to soften it, we'd fire it through a shoot-through umbrella (though a softbox is generally better... a shoot-through umbrella is much more portable when moving through a crowded event because you can quickly fold & unfold an umbrella. I hand-held the umbrella in front of the flash.

    These days I use an on-camera speedlight as fill light and an off-camera speedlight as the key light. I have a small 30x30" soft-box designed for use with speedlights (the mounting bracket is outside the soft-box... there's a hole in the back and you mount the flash so it fires through the hole into the softbox.)

    You get much better lighting.

    Here's a sample ...

    VO3A5280.jpg

    But what's interesting (and bad) about this image is that the reflections in his glasses are my flashes and you can see the on-camera flash reflected in the lens on the left (his right eye) and you can see the softbox in the lens on the right (his left eye). The softbox is roughly at a 45º angle to the subject.

    I *think* I used my 30x30" box (I also have a 24x24" box). But the closer the softbox is to your subject, softer the light. You can see a slight shadow under his chin (the softbox is too high to wash that out) and that could have been softened by using a light modifier on the on-camera flash. Often I use my Rogue Flashbender (large size) which turns out to be my favorite bounce-card style light modifier (after testing LOT of light modifiers for the on-camera flash) but this being outside, I don't think I used it (had I been inside it would have been on the flash.)

    I generally always use a flash when doing outdoor portraits (this was a test shot to check my lighting as the day was beginning) because if in full-sun it helps reduce or eliminate the shadows and if a subject is in shade (especially if part of the background is in sun) it balances the light.


    BTW there is no "overkill". When it comes to good photographic lighting... no matter how many lights you have, you can always think of a reason to have one more. ;-)
     
  7. Summer75

    Summer75 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2015
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    5
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks for the answer. So do you currently still do events with this style (2 lights with one on and one off camera)? I did end up getting a helper for this event as I am expecting quite thick crowds. I plan to use my tripod as a mono-pod by folding the legs in.
     
  8. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    Messages:
    6,151
    Likes Received:
    1,778
    Location:
    US
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I think it seems like overkill to me... Working an event it's necessary to be able to move around and work thru the crowd. I can't see carrying equipment around and thru the crowd the whole time.

    I can see why a photographer might have equipment set up along a wall to bring out and use as needed. Or maybe if there's a need to get across the venue once or so with it. I don't know the circumstances so maybe there was reason for someone with a camera to almost jog across the room but to me that could be a lack of preparation. I wouldn't model what you're doing by one person with a camera you saw at an event.

    You need to know the schedule and if there's something going to happen you need to know when and where and have yourself there in a timely manner to get the photos. There are also impromptu things that happen, and photo ops that you may want to catch, and I think it's likely you'd miss the shot by the time you'd get set up.

    It just seems impractical from my experience, and potentially disruptive and more problematic than workable. If anything you want to blend into the background and be noticed as little as possible. You keep mentioning how people will perceive it which seems like you've had people noticing you or maybe having to move out of your way. So maybe that should be telling you it's not the best idea to carry equipment around the whole event.
     
  9. Summer75

    Summer75 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2015
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    5
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thank-you all for your different perspectives and detailed answers. You have all given me alot to think about.
     
  10. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    Messages:
    3,292
    Likes Received:
    1,415
    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    A folded tripod will probably be heavy for the helper -- a monopod is much easier to manage. A decent aluminum mono-pod is probably about $50 (you can pay for some extremely nice models, carbon fiber, etc.). Mine doesn't have the legs (some have legs hidden in the base that can fold out to be self-standing). You can actually get dedicated booms for this (Impact makes one they call the "Quick Stick" for about $45). You might search for "boom arm" or "boom stick". I opted for the monopod because that would offer more "utility" as I can use it for flashes, for a camera, etc. whereas a boom arm is mostly to hold lights or light modifiers.

    I don't work in professional photography anymore - so the answer to your question is: no, I don't still do events this way (because I don't still do events). But if I had a special request to shoot an event (such as a wedding & reception) then this would still be my preferred lighting setup to get the best light possible (without a full studio setup) in a portable setup. The photo I posted earlier is from late 2015 and that was done using a pair of Canon 600EX-RT speedlites (radio) with one on-camera and one using a Lastolite Ezybox for the off-camera flash.

    I do set each flash into it's own "group" and that lets me use the on-camera menus to control power output. Usually I use E-TTL II (Canon's system) and just work the power levels either by adjusting the ratio or by individual flash exposure compensation (FEC) adjustment. A light modifier is probably going to eat at least 1 full photographic stop worth of light and if the on-camera flash isn't using a modifier it will naturally be much brighter than the off-camera light. So you'll definitely want to test your lights with your modifiers prior to any event so you know what to expect and know how much to adjust the power levels to compensate for it to get the balance you want.
     
  11. dennybeall

    dennybeall No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    May 13, 2014
    Messages:
    2,081
    Likes Received:
    368
    Location:
    Crystal River, Florida
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Seems very disruptive to me for someone to be moving around an event with light stands. I'm old school (and also really old) so the light stand(s) would be set up for posed shots but I always moved through the room as unobtrusively as possible. Strobe with diffuser on a frame with a quick release so I could pull it off and hold it on the few shots where that was necessary.
    I guess I didn't feel the job was about my craft but about documenting the event for the client.
     
  12. petrochemist

    petrochemist No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,030
    Likes Received:
    242
    Location:
    North Essex UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit


    Over the duration of the flash firing I really don't think your going to get any significant camera shake one handed should be fine even with pretty poor steady holding technique
     

Share This Page