'how-to' Category

Webinar: An Introduction to Using Off-Camera Fill-Flash to Produce Amazing Portraits


Learning to control an off-camera flash can be intimidating. But have no fear! We’ll show you how easy it is to produce natural-looking results when adding flash to ambient light.

This valuable, professional technique will make you an instant hit with your clients and give you an edge over the competition. And, it will help you to produce beautiful outdoor portraits virtually anytime and anywhere.

Join host Joe Brady as he shows you a step-by-step method to add just the right amount of light to create natural shape and highlights for location portrait photography. A light meter and a pair of PocketWizard radio triggers make it easy. No more pointing the flash up at the clouds, no more blown-out highlights or missing shadow data – just natural, beautiful results.

Equipment List
PocketWizard Plus X and Plus III Radio Triggers
PocketWizard HSFM3 hot shoe sync cables
Sekonic L-478DR Light Meter
Sony a7r with 70-200mm and 24-70mm f4 lenses
Sony HVL-F60M Flash
Canon 580 EX II Flash
Translucent White Reflector
Silver – Silver/Gold reflector

Date: Thursday, October 16th
Time: 1pm EDT
Title: An Introduction to Using Off-Camera Fill-Flash to Produce Amazing Portraits
Host: Joe Brady
View the archive

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Tech Tip: Quad Zone Triggering

One of the key features of the PocketWizard Plus® III is “Quad-Zone Triggering.” This feature traces its roots back to the MultiMAX® where it has proven itself to be a game changer for many professional photographers. With the feature now found in the more affordable Plus III, more photographers have this capability within their reach. So what does it do?

Quad-Zone Triggering allows photographers to assign lights or cameras to one of four zones; A-B-C or D and then they can turn a zone on or off with the simple push of a button on the transmitting radio. This could be used to turn a single light on or off, or a group of lights on or off (you can have as many lights or cameras per zone as you want). It can also be used to turn a remote camera, or group of cameras, on or off. We’ll take a look at each scenario.

Building your Lighting
You’re in a studio situation taking portraits. You’re using five different lights; one is the key, one is a fill, two are for the background, and one is for highlights. You want to be able to see the impact of each light and make sure you have the proper power setting. Without Quad-Zone Triggering, this would be a very challenging task unless you had a group of assistants to turn the various lights on and off. With Quad-Zone Triggering you simply select the light you want to turn on/off from the transmitting radio and take a shot. Each light or group of lights (in this case the two background lights) is assigned a zone, either A-B-C or D. Turning on one zone at a time allows you to see just the light from that zone making it far easier to make adjustments.

Multiple Lighting Setup
You’re shooting a wedding reception and you want to offer a variety of images and a few different looks to the couple. Prior to the reception you’ve set-up several lights around the room with Plus III’s as the receiver and assigned a zone to each light and/or a zone to groups of lights. Using Quad-Zone Triggering, you can turn the light(s) from each zone on or off at-will right from your camera to change the lighting on the fly and create different images from the same scene.


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Dylan Patrick, Thespian Photographer

Dylan Patrick left Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to pursue his acting career in New York City. A few years after graduating from the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts in 2006, Patrick began his photography business in earnest. Finding his love of photography equalled his desire to act, he was soon earning a living as a photographer. Always a fan of cinema lighting, this photographer enjoys using shadows for added drama. Via word of mouth, other actors began to seek him out for their headshots because of the cinematic influences in his work. What actor doesn’t want to look like a movie star?

“Many of my clients, both current and prospective, as well as agents, casting directors, and even other shooters, have told me they love how my shots actually look like film stills,” Patrick says. “I stumbled upon my style on my roof shortly after getting the PocketWizard FlexTT5 transceivers, and I’ve slowly fine tuned ever since. You could say high-speed sync and PocketWizard helped me find my style. I’m always more excited to shoot on sunny days now, and I’m constantly looking for brilliant angular light, which is where a vast majority of the color comes from in my images.”

Currently a resident of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in Manhattan, Patrick hasn’t strayed far from the Great White Way. He was recently kind enough to explain, in his own words, how he created this portrait of a fellow actor on the streets of New York.

Kristin Wetherington, ©Dylan Patrick

Kristin Wetherington, ©Dylan Patrick


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Which Wire Works Where?

Yes, even in the wireless world of PocketWizard, radios still need to be connected to the device they are triggering and that requires a cable. We recently re-worked our wacky world of wires, especially the remote shutter release cables. We started by beefing up the cable, gold-plating the connections, designing new strain-reliefs, adding a product ID label, and giving the cables some nice industrial design complete with a stylized PocketWizard branded dome label. We’re pretty proud of them. With over 50 cables in our line, this process took a fair amount of time and there are a few lower volume cables in the line waiting to be reworked. At the same time, we redesigned our cable packaging. We switched to a box made from 100% recycled material with a biodegradable and recyclable label showing images of both ends of the cable and a complete compatibility list.



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How to Set Up a Holiday Photo Booth

borrowlenses blog


The Borrowlenses.com blog has published a story on how to set up a photo booth at your next holiday party. They detail how it can be done on a budget and won’t take up too much valuable partying real estate.

Borrowlenses.com suggests using a three light set-up with speedlights — one to act as the key light in an overhead softbox, one pointed down at a white reflector for some fill, and another to light up the background.

Thoughfully, they’ve suggested one good way to make sure you’re not chained to the booth all night long — PocketWizard wireless triggers! Attach a FlexTT5® to your camera and let your guests trigger the whole shebang themselves using a hand-held Plus® II.

For more details, read the post on the Borrowlenses blog. Of course, all the necessary gear can be rented in the Borrowlenses shop. Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.


All images and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Borrowlenses, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or re-post elsewhere without written permission.

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Wireless Because It’s Easier, Not Required

Scott Wyden Kivowitz is a New Jersey photographer sharing his passion for photography any way he can. Scott regularly hosts photowalks in New Jersey and loves educating other photographers on all aspects of the art. Scott is also the Community & Blog Wrangler at Photocrati and the Photographers SEO Community, teaching other photographers on how to increase business with their Web sites. What follows is Scott’s account of how he achieved a corporate portrait with limited time and physical room.

©Scott Wyden

For the most part, every time I have a photo session to do, I am using at least a pair of PocketWizard radio triggers. For example, if I am out and want to play with wireless flash photography at night, I will typically have a PocketWizard on camera and another firing off a flash. However, going wireless is not a requirement. Sure, photographers can still pick up a long PC cable to trigger their lights, especially when the session is in a studio. Wires can be hidden (sometimes) under rugs, backdrops, etc., but in the example you will see here, I used a pair of PocketWizard Plus II units not because I had to, but because it made the job easier.


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Visible Range Blog: Sekonic L-758 with RT-32CTL, PocketWizards & Nikon Speedlights

A sister post has been published simultaneously on the Sekonic blog due to the shared technology featured belonging to both Sekonic and PocketWizard.

visible range blogHere’s some exciting news for Nikon PocketWizard users interested in metering to get the most accurate exposures possible with their off-camera flash.

Dinil Abeygunawardane at Visible Range Blog has posted a most impressive article entitled “Sekonic L-758 with RT-32CTL, PocketWizards & Nikon Speedlights.”

With Sekonic’s new RT-32CTL you can now use a Sekonic L-358 or L-758 to meter flash with PocketWizard ControlTL radios. Dinil centers his post around Nikon-based PocketWizard radio triggers, including the FlexTT5 and the MiniTT1. In fact, he fires off what appears to be seven FlexTT5 radios with his Nikon speedlights!

The post goes into tremendous detail and features screenshots of the Sekonic Data Transfer Software, a meter’s LCD screen, and the PocketWizard Utility Settings software. This post will guide you through Dinil’s configuring of his system.

Read the entire informative post and see more of Dinil’s work at Visible Range.


All images and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Dinil Abeygunawardane, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or re-post elsewhere without written permission.

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Nikon, Sekonic, and PocketWizard Control!

A comprehensive article has been published on controlling Nikon Speedlights with precision using PocketWizard FlexTT5MiniTT1, AC3 ZoneController, and a Sekonic L-758DR lightmeter with the RT-32CTL Radio Transmitter Module.

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.

This is a great job and worth your time if you’re a Nikon shooter. Read the full step-by-step tutorial and check out the rest of Visible Range while you’re there.

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Mike Kelley Baiting with Light

New England native Mike Kelley was into photography in a big way, but one day something fortuitous happened. While at the University of Vermont, Kelley ran into Dave Schmidt, who is an employee of LPA, makers of PocketWizard. Schmidt is also a shooter in his own right, and was photographing for a local ski resort. He also happened to have a prototype of the PocketWizard MiniTT1® on top of his camera. Kelley noticed, and the two began a conversation.

Mk 005

©Mike Kelley

“I just kept bugging him and bugging him and eventually he caved and gave me an internship at PocketWizard,” Kelley recalls, laughing. After graduating from the University of Vermont with a double major in Environmental Studies and Studio Art, Kelley moved to Lake Tahoe to try his hand at professional snowboarding. This didn’t transpire, but proved fortuitous in a different way professionally.


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Chris Garrison on HyperSync

Photographer Chris Garrison has shared his thoughts on HyperSync technology with us. You can learn more about Chris and his work by visiting his site and his blog



1/800th at f/7.1.

HyperSync(TM) is the single largest game changer for photographers using studio-type flashes. As photographers, we are once again taking part in another evolution of our industry. I consider the introduction of HyperSync technology by PocketWizard to be as large as the digital format transition. We are no longer just freezing motion with shutter speed or light, we are actually painting light onto the frozen motion.


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