Photographer and photo educator Doug Gordon breaks down a bridal portrait session in this 12+ minute video. He explains how he dials in different intensities from his lights directly from his camera with the PocketWizard FlexTT5, MiniTT1, and the AC3 ZoneController.
Gordon’s premise is to have his system as stripped down and foolproof as possible. Stressing the total lighting control he can achieve from behind the camera, Gordon shows how different lighting setups work with slightly different bridal poses to achieve astonishingly different portraits.
Joel Hawksley, a photographer for The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale, IL, spends a lot of time in the gym. He’s not working out; he’s setting up lights. Fortunately for shooters everywhere, he’s taken the time to show how he does it in an informative post on his blog.
Hawksley goes into serious detail, all in one page, and explains how he does everything to make high school gym athletes look like superstars. The gear he literally lays out in this blog post include the PocketWizard PowerMC2, the FlexTT5, and the AC3 ZoneController.
This blog post provides dozens of large photos, including many behind-the-scenes shots. Watch what Hawksley does to light up big places. You won’t be sorry.
Paul D’Andrea is an Indianapolis-based photographer whose work runs the gamut from portraits and events to fine art. He even helps run one of the few photography galleries in the city, M10 Studio and Gallery. Here, he gives us the details behind an outdoor portrait he made with a little help from HyperSync®.
When making a portrait I have to decide how to draw the viewer’s eye to the subject. I might do this with a simplified background, a composition that frames the subject, or it might be with a shallow depth of field or a difference in exposure (making the subject brighter than the backdrop).
For an outdoor portrait, using a shallow depth of field often precludes the use of studio lights and exposure in pulling the subject off the background. With a maximum sync speed of 1/250th of a second for the studio lights, I need to choose an aperture to match the ambient exposure, this might be f/11 or f/16 on a sunny day, which won’t provide a very shallow depth of field. Enter HyperSync, which allows me to have both a shallow depth of field and large light modifiers.
Wedding and portrait photographer Stephanie Zettl, author of The Nikon Speedlight Handbook, strives to tell stories through her photos. In this post, Stephanie shares some behind the scenes details from a senior portrait session, giving us the how and why of how she got the shot.
Good portrait photography tells a story about your subject. Both your location and your style of lighting will have an impact on the story you tell and the way you tell it. Being a good portrait photographer requires you to make conscious decisions about your lighting to tell a story properly.
Mandy is a talented, intelligent, and accomplished young lady with big dreams. When she showed up for her senior portrait session with a beautiful red dress and a pair of black pointe ballet shoes, I knew I wanted to highlight her elegant form and still give her a sense of strength and power. An old vacant church with large stone pillars proved the perfect backdrop to convey that sense of strength.
Looking for gifts for a photographer in your life? Take a look at Fstoppers Holiday Gear Guide. Each week, they’ll be releasing a new list of photography gifts in different price ranges. Their first installment, the under $100 dollar category, features a bunch of gift ideas sure to make any photographer smile (lens mugs for everyone!).
“Many photographers will already have a PocketWizard, but if they don’t have a ZoneController, this is a great gift for them. When you add the PocketWizard AC3 ZoneController to your on-camera MiniTT1® Transmitter or FlexTT5® Transceiver, you instantly have three zones of flash control. Whether in E-TTL II or Manual mode, you have control over all your flashes from your camera position. Put your flashes wherever you want, without worrying about having to access them during a shoot.”
“If the photographer in your life uses off-camera flash, having a pair of PocketWizards makes all the difference. There are a lot of cheap knockoff brands out there, but if you want to show you care you’ll go for the real thing. You can also use them to remotely trigger the camera itself, so that’s great fun for photo booths or unusual angles.”
We don’t know what possessed photographer Tom Bol to give his speedlights the cement shoe treatment and sink them to the bottom of a river, but we do know that experimentation is always a good excuse to do something just a little bit crazy.
He starts out by giving the speedlights just a taste of what awaits them, by putting them in ziplock bags and placing them in the bow, stern, and middle of the kayak that his wife, Cree, paddles out into the middle of the river. “In order for these flashes to fire,” he writes, “I used PocketWizard FlexTT5’s as receivers on all the SB900s. The radio signal triggers flashes in the boat, no line of sight needed.” Using an AC3 ZoneController, Tom sets all the flashes to group A and fires away. The result is a glowing, yellow kayak.
Adam Troup of Inspire Video shared some details about a composite shoot he did with a musician friend on an overpass in Edinburgh.
He knew he wanted to capture cars traveling down below as long light trails so he first did a 30-second exposure of the background. He then brought in Chris, a guitarist, as the subject. Due to strong winds, he had to ditch the idea of using a softbox, and instead positioned one off-camera flash to the right of the camera and another behind the subject as a rim light.
He used PocketWizard radios as triggers and had this to say about the system:
“I absolutely love the PocketWizard ETTL system, as mentioned above I have two FlexTT5 units, a MiniTT1 and the AC3 ZoneController. The AC3 is fantastic, as you can quickly and independently dial in flash compensation if you’re using ETTL or use the dials to alter the power of the speedlights if you’re using manual mode. You can mix ETTL and manual groups, quickly turn off and on each flash groups. It’s just a fantastic system and I love it!”
It always pays to experiment. After an already successful parkour shoot, photographer Neil Davidson decided to throw some flour into the mix – and ended up with some awesome shots. Here’s his account of how he did it.
I recently did a parkour shoot with Kurt and Matt, a couple of local free-runners. One of the things that separates them from other so-called free-runners is that they don’t indulge in somersaults or backflips, ‘tricking’ as it’s commonly known. Their aim, instead, is to traverse obstacles in the most efficient and smooth manner possible, which makes for great images but I’d seen these images with people throwing flour in the air that looked really cool and wondered if we could integrate this idea into a parkour shoot. Kurt travels around Europe doing more performance styled free-running so thankfully they were behind the idea from the start. After five hours of work, it was definitely a fun way to end the shoot!
Author Dinil Abeygunawardane has posted a fascinating tutorial on the Visible Range Blog. It’s absolutely worth your time to read. The article details how to set up the above list of gear with Nikon Speedlights and dial in specific light values for different units remotely.
The radio trigger for the Sekonic works with the firmware update for the PocketWizards (at time of writing, still in beta) to make the whole process more convenient. As Dinil writes,”No more running up and down, lowering light stands or opening up soft boxes.” Photos of the lightmeter’s LCD and screenshots of PocketWizard Utility abound.
Local Vermont television station WCAX is doing a four part series on photography in in the state. The fourth episode in their series features PocketWizard and should air today during the local news. We put together something to show WCAX the kind of photography possible with PocketWizard gear.
Chris Valites, a Technical Support Specialist at LPA, manufacturers of PocketWizard, used this beautiful green motorcycle belonging to another LPA employee. He set the shot up and created the two images in this post.