Getting your flash off-camera is one of the most powerful ways to take your portrait photography to the next level. Join host Joe Brady as he shows his favorite techniques for off-camera flash portraiture featuring PocketWizard Radio Triggers. During this live online video seminar Joe will show how to create beautiful environmental and studio portraits using just one or two small flash units. You will get to see the power of TTL photography with the camera systems automatically controlling the exposure.
Joe will share his experiences and techniques using the PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radio triggers to control off-camera flash for location portraits and wedding photography. Knowing the capabilities as well of the limitations of TTL exposure systems will allow you to get great results with consistency and will allow you to create images that will separate you from the pack.
Join us on October 20, 2011 at 1:00pm (EDT) for a free one-hour live online seminar, sponsored by PocketWizard and hosted by Joe Brady. You’ll have a front-row seat from the comfort of your home or office as you participate in our interactive streaming-video seminar broadcast in real time.
There is no pre registration required. Just visit this link the day of the Webinar. Please note the link will stream the live video Webinar on October 20th at 1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.
When we last checked in with Philipp Schmidli, he was creating inventive remotely-camera photos of bobsleighs in action. Now he’s traded ice for water, and has some great images from a kayak shoot done this summer.
Cincinnati-area photographer Jason Lykins is mostly known as a portrait artist, but provides many types of photography to a variety of clients. He recently was kind enough to share some of his insights with readers of the PocketWizard blog. Be sure to check out his links at the end of his installment in our on-going series, Five Photography Tips.
1. Move! Moving is the most important thing you can do in photography. Forget settings, f/stops, aperture, and ISO, etc. Forget about all of that. When you change your position. When you crouch down to shoot lower, or when you climb up to shoot from above, you are creating drama. You are creating a view the person looking at your image isn’t used to seeing. This will make your image more compelling. This applies to every type of photography, but since I specialize in portrait photography I find it especially pertains to people. Often times when I shoot portraits I start by shooting standing up at eye level with the subject. This gets them comfortable with me, and allows me to build a rapport with them. I then switch to a lower shooting angle. Usually I am on one knee or sometimes even as low as shooting from my stomach. Shooting from a lower position does multiple things. On women it can elongate their legs making them appear to be taller than they really are. On Men, shooting from lower often times gives the sense of power. For both men and women shooting from a lower angle gives a feeling of dominance in the photograph. Of course there are many, many more advantages from shooting from down low, so try it out and I guarantee your images will become more interesting. On the flip side, positioning yourself above your subject will thin them down. If your subject is larger, shooting from above will make then appear to be skinnier. When they lift their chin to look at the camera it stretches the neck and eliminates double chins. Again there are many, many more advantages to shooting from above, so give it a shot to see what it does for your perspective.
It’s understandable you might get into a situation while working with the MiniTT1® and FlexTT5® and today’s complex camera systems where you’re not sure why something isn’t working as you would expect it. Most of the time, there is a simple solution. We asked our tech support crew to give us the “Top Ten” questions consumers asked to keep their system working properly. Here they are
1. Q: Nothing is working! What should I do?
A: Try these steps:
Check the batteries: weak batteries can cause strange behavior.
Make sure all radios (and cameras and speedlights) are updated to the latest firmware. Try our beta firmware as it often has new fixes ready to be tried.
Take your first shot at 1/125th so the system can properly calibrate timing.
Wait about 3 seconds after turning on your radio before taking your first picture.
Take your time! Whenever possible, compose the image with the shutter release half-pressed before taking the picture.
Save your camera’s custom functions, reset the camera, then start adding them back in one at a time.
2. Q: In what order should I turn things on?
A: Top down: Flash, then radio, then camera. Wait 2-3 seconds between each step. Older Quick Guides may have this slightly different, but top down works for all current radios and firmware.
3. Q: My Nikon camera won’t let me choose a shutter speed faster than x-sync. How can I shoot at faster shutter speeds?
A: Nikon cameras require that FP-sync is enabled to shoot faster than x-sync if they detect a TTL-capable device in their hot shoe. Enabling FP-sync is done in the Custom Settings menu. Set “e1 flash sync speed” to 1/250s (Auto FP).
4. Q: The ISO on my remote Nikon Speedlight is stuck at 200. What’s wrong?
A: It isn’t required for TTL operation on the remote flash and has no effect on exposure so the radios do not transmit camera setting information like ISO to remote flashes.
5. Q: I set my speedlight to MASTER and stuck it on a remote FlexTT5. Why won’t it control other flashes when I have a MiniTT1 or FlexTT5 on my camera?
A: The ControlTL® system, just like Nikon and Canon native systems, expects the MASTER speedlight to be only at the camera position so “Remote MASTER” operation is not supported. You need a receiving FlexTT5 for each remote speedlight.
6. Q: My remote speedlights don’t change their zoom when I zoom the lens on my camera. What’s wrong?
A: Zoom tracking is a feature for on-camera flash and would cause some lighting issues if done on remotes. Nikon and Canon native systems do not have zoom tracking for remote or slave flashes either.
7. Q: How can I trigger a FlexTT5 from a PocketWizard module-equipped Sekonic meter?
9. Q: Can I combine radio and optical so I don’t have to buy as many FlexTT5s? Can I connect more than one speedlight to a single FlexTT5?
A: Currently you need to have one FlexTT5 for each speedlight you want to control via radio.
10. Q: Is “xxxxxxx” brand/model flash compatible with your radios?
A: Some third party flashes are compatible with our radios – you can read more about our radios compatibility on their respective product pages (FlexTT5 for Canon, FlexTT5 for Nikon). Also, almost any flash can be used in Basic Trigger Mode for simple triggering operation.
Barker explained to Gardner why his PocketWizard FlexTT5 radio triggers are his favorite gadgets. He also discusses his AC3 Zone Controller and how it enables him to control flash power directly from his camera.
Shooting a Canon system, Barker uses Canon Speedlite 580EX II flashes both indoors and out. Of his PocketWizard gear, Barker concludes, “…they are the industry leader for wireless control.” Thanks, Stephen!
The city of Memphis has learned what many other U.S. communities have discovered for quite some time. Greenways made from abandoned railways are a huge public asset for citizens to enjoy year round. They create a sense of community, better the local quality of life, and have the added and real fiscal payoff of curbing illness and medical costs as the populace gets healthier from more exercise.
Despite the objections of local naysayers who couldn’t learn from longstanding examples such as Seattle’s gorgeous Burke-GilmanTrail, the Greater Memphis Greenline is now a reality, and local walkers, joggers, cyclists and in-line skaters can attest, it’s a major hit.
Not to be left out of the fun, photographers have been actively capturing some of the folks enjoying this public asset. Possibly the most interesting project happening on the Greenline is a photo rig built and run by Joe Sankey of Sankey Photography. In a recent blog post, Joe details a bicycle rig which features, among other things
a tow-behind trailer
a camera (unspecified make and model, presumably a Nikon due to flash units used)
Sankey goes into some detail about how he set up the rig, and the video shows shots captured of fellow cyclists. Both our readers and ourselves love to see interesting ways PocketWizard technology is applied in the field, and this one definitely is not your typical off-camera flash set-up. Nice work!
We love learning about inventive ways photographers put PocketWizard gear to the test. See the Red Bull Illume video below to learn how Vitek Ludvik photographed Olympic kayaker Vavra Hradilek in action.
Ludvik mounted an Olympus E3 to the bow of a kayak using foam and duct tape. PocketWizard Plus II units were used to remotely trigger the camera as Hradilek pushed against the current in some driving water.
Now that’s an inventive way to get some compelling sports photography. If you have any unique ways you’re using PocketWizard radio triggers, feel free to let us know. You might have us asking your permission to share your story with our many readers.
Don’t forget, PocketWizard does not recommend exposing your PocketWizard gear to water. Doing so will void the warranty. PocketWizard units themselves are not waterproof. Please be careful with your investment.
Among other features, he points out using PocketWizard units were much easier for being mobile, versus the line-of-sight solution he was previously employing. Read the blog post and watch his behind-the-scenes video to see how he overpowered the sun both in the shade and in direct sunlight.
Doorhof concludes his review by saying the PocketWizards were “flawless, of course.” See the blog post for full details.
To see more of Frank Doorhof’s work and writing, visit his site and blog.
In the fourth and last episode of Mark Wallace’s latest round of demos, check out this video on how to use a Nikon SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander as the master controller for all your flash needs.
Wallace pairs up the SU-800 units with PocketWizard FlexTT5, and goes into detail on the settings of both for optimal flash results.