imporving my light setup


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Dec 15, 2016
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I would like to improve a bit my light setup, specially for using a flash outdoors (my child) and also for interior photography.
I don't want to spend to much money and I don't want a whole lot of gear, but what would be a great improvement to help me get better shots?
I currently have a Godox v860ii and I would prefer, if it is enough, to stay with 1 flash (of course I also have the little flash on the camera itself).
I am totally new to those softboxes and umbrellas and lightstands and whatever there is still out there.
Thanks for the tips!

Edit: I also have a defuse cap for the flash, and I can use the flash remotely (godox x1t)
You don't mention what camera brand you use, which might influence some suggestions a to what flashes might work best with it. That said how do you fire the Godox remotely, by cable or wireless?

Also what kind of interior photography are you thinking of - there's a lot of scope there for variation

For your child outside, which I assume means running around, then one flash on the camera (or on a bracket on the camera) with something like a Lumiquest Softbox would suit well. You don't need many flashes for action like that because you'll be moving around and the flash would mostly be providing a little fill light rather than being the main light source.

For diffusing the best thing to remember is that diffusion is all about increasing the size of the light source relative to the subject. Those little diffuse caps don't increase the size of your flash light all that much. They are intended to be fitted and then you angle the head up or behind you into the wall/ceiling of a room. The walls then become the light source relative to the subject as the light bounces off them before hitting the subject. The little diffuse cap helps spread the light out a bit more from the flash. So using them directly doesn't really diffuse the light much, but it will reduce its power a bit (which you can achieve yourself by just turning the power down on the flash a bit).
The idea of softboxes and umbrellas is basically the same - they increase the light source size. The bigger the softer. Of course then you get into different shapes, sizes, styles and in some ways there are subtle differences and in others there's simply preference and situation. Eg Softboxes are often big and a bit bulky and take time to setup for the big ones; whilst an umbrella can be much faster.
My advice is to ignore the built in flash unit in your camera. Putting the light source near the lens creates fairly unpleasant lighting when photographing people. I looked up your flash unit and it appears to be capable of being TTL controlled by your camera. You didn't say why you think you need a new one.

You may want to consider adding an extension cable to allow you to separate the flash unit more from the lens. Also be aware that you can make good use of simple reflectors to add fill light to your compositions. A single flash can be very effective if used properly. Just give some thought to what a different unit will do that your current unit won't do.
I will reply later more in-depth on your great answers, but I would just like to quickly write that I don't want any other flash, I'm really happy with what I have.
I am looking for an umbrella/lightboxes or whatever... That kind of stuff :)
My flash is great and I can use it with wireless remote.
Rogue Flashbender and a 1-meter pigtail flash connecting cord would be a good start.

In umbrellas, I like 40-43 inch, white lined reflecting umbrellas. I am not a big fan of shoot through umbrellas. There are many models of umbrella available today at good prices from the internet. You can find name brands or you can buy made in China for half the price.

One 24 inch x 24 inch made-in-china softbox camera right, around 2007 this is one of the very first test images I made with a new MIC softbox.
Thank you all for the input.
To clarify myself a bit;
Outdoors I would use it more for portret, family orientated pictures. (Still images)
So in this case a flashbender would be a great option I believe, like Derrel said?
Should I use the flash on my camera or on a tripod and trigger it remotely?

For inside it is a bit of everything.
I will do some interior photography (real estate, design). And I think I can manage most of the time with either hdr or a bounce flash on the ceiling. (Opinions on this?)
But then for a great 'person' picture I see you guys are suggesting softbox or umbrella. (Would a flashbender be decent too?)
I really like the image you posted Derrel, great light on that!
What is the difference really between a softbox and umbrella? And how should it set it up?
Flash on a stand and in what angle?
And should I just use i-ttl?
I have a nikon d7500 btw with sigma 18-35 1.8
Thinking to maybe get the sigma 50-100 1.8 as well , but might upgrade to ff in the future, but that's a different matter
For run and gun shots of family outside and possibly inside, it would be hard to beat using a flash bracket The B&H Flash Bracket Buying Guide and either a Rogue modifier like Derrel suggested or even a 4x5 softbox Vello Mini Softbox you won't spend a lot of money, and they're easy to move around with.

Unless I'm mistaken both the camera and flash you mention support TTL, either wireless or with an extension cord.
To add, you're absolutely right on how you really don't need additional flashes/strobes. The one you have should be fine for outdoor sessions with your child. I would recommend a soft box to study how it can be used directly or even as a bounce source. Popular portrait angles are 15 to 45 degrees from the subject with flexibility on each extremes. You can always add more diffusion on the light if needed.

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