$50 stand, modifier, variable modeling light, and wireless remote flash


TPF Noob!
May 9, 2013
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Iowa City, IA
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Just thought I'd share this hacked together, but very effective setup I have for a cheap studio fill light with adjustable modeling preview.


Flash = Holga non-adjustable flash for $17
Remote = CowboyStudios wireless trigger receiver. You get a transmitter and 2 of these for $25 or so, so I value this at around $8.
Two bulb socket holder = $12
Stand and umbrella = about $10.
Total = $48, round up to $50.

The bulb holder only had a flat plate on top, but part of it sticks over and doesn't do anything, so I drilled a 1/4" hole in it and stuck a bolt in there with a locking nut so that I could screw on the remote trigger (which has a threaded mounting hole). Then I put a 40 watt bulb on the left socket and a 20 watt bulb on the right. You can turn the bulbs on individually, so the modeling light can be adjusted from 20 to 40 to 60 watts.

For my key, I use a monolight that comes with a 70 watt modeling bulb. It has adjustable power of course, so I don't have to move either light to change ratios. To change the ratio, I just adjust the key's power and then the ISO on my camera.

In order for the key + fill modeling lights to roughly accurately preview the lighting ratio, I would then change which bulbs are on to match, which is just the flip of a switch. Both bulbs on makes the fill modeling light about as strong as the key modeling light, for a 1:1 ratio (if the two don't overlap on the face) or a 2:1 (if they do). For a 3:1 lighting ratio, I turn on only the 40 watt bulb, which is roughly one stop less than the key's. For a 4-5:1 ratio, I can turn on only the 20 watt bulb, which is roughly 2 stops less than the key's. For extreme 8:1 ratios or whatever, I just don't turn on the fill modeling lights at all.

Works pretty dang well for $50.
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