Tag Archives: lighting

Off-Camera Lighting for Character Portraits Easy as 1-2-3

Recently we were working with a business partner who wanted to learn more about our products. He wasn’t a professional photographer and he was asking us lots of questions like:

What is off camera flash?

How many remote lights can you trigger?

Why is PocketWizard the best radio trigger?

Involve me!

Benjamin Franklin once said “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” We took his advice and set up a photoshoot to show our partner how PocketWizards can be used to create beautiful lighting for creative character portraits. Since we are located in Vermont, we went to a local family dairy farm for the perfect backdrop. We created 3 different lighting set ups for 3 different portraits to show the versatility of our products.

1 – Single Off Camera Flash for a Natural Outdoor Portrait

Our first shot using off camera flash was taken outdoors and being early winter, the light was fading fast. A simple one light set up was all we needed to make our subject pop while allowing the ambient light to give the viewer a sense of place. Our flash was placed on one side of him with a warming gel, to light one side more than the other and mimic the look of the setting sun.  

2 – Two Remotely Triggered Lights for a Natural Indoor Portrait

For this portrait we moved indoors to the machine shop at the farm. While our subject worked, we set up 2 lights. The main light was set to one side of him, almost to give the appearance that he was working near a window. To create a moodier shot and create a rich depth to the contrast, we placed a black foam core board directly opposite the light, on the other side of our subject, which darkened the negative space. Finally, to add a little separation between our subject and our background, we added a rim light.

3 – Remotely Triggering Three Lights for a Dramatic Indoor Portrait

For this last shot we wanted to remotely trigger our lights to show the whole scene, so we used a slightly wider lens. We moved our main light back a little bit and eliminated the black board. On our test shot, we noticed that the truck was like a black hole – there was no light and it offered no detail. It was an interesting part of the machine shop, so in order give the scene a little more visual interest, we decided we needed just one more light. Luckily, we had an extra speedlight and another PocketWizard on hand. We placed the speedlight right on the engine pointing toward the hood to add an accent light to our image.

Universal Compatibility

One advantage of PocketWizard is that we are universally compatible and work with virtually any camera or flash on the market. We always encourage photographers to have a few extra PocketWizards in your bag and an extra light to boot! As you invest in lights, it’s nice to know that PocketWizard should be able to trigger all of them and you’ll be able to integrate your older lights with your newer lights when necessary. This might not be possible with some other brands that have proprietary solutions that require you to stay within a single brand. Luckily in our situation with PocketWizard, we were able to use multiple lights from multiple brands. Just one of the many reasons we think PocketWizard is the best radio trigger on the market.

Have you had a situation where you needed just one more light?  Nice that with PocketWizard – it’s possible!


Use PocketWizard SpeedCycler to get 2 Dramatically Different Looks in an Instant

This blog post was originally shared over 5 years ago and yet the story is timeless: Photographer fulfills his artistic vision while meeting the needs of his client by leveraging the power of PocketWizard!

The Big Opportunity!

Alexis Cuarezma is a portrait photographer with a specialty in photographing sports figures. One of his big breaks was when he was asked to photograph an athlete, Shayne Skov, for Sports Illustrated. His assignment: keep it simple on a plain gray background. However, simple is not Cuarezma’s style and who knew when he’d have the opportunity to shoot for SI again? He knew he needed to fulfill the simple assignment, but it was also a great opportunity to showcase his artistry.

PocketWizard to the Rescue

A feature of the MultiMAX II is SpeedCycler which makes it possible to set up multiple lighting scenarios and cycle through them with each click of the shutter. Although SpeedCycler was originally designed for sports photographers and others who needed continuous drive but whose lights couldn’t recycle fast enough, Cuarezma tasked SpeedCycler for something a little more creative.

PocketWizard off camera flash

Cuarezma set up two groups of light – A and B as shown highlighted blue and red.

One Pose, Two Shots, Two Dramatically Different Looks

Using PocketWizard’s unique SpeedCycler functionality, Cuarezma captured two separate exposures in milliseconds – one exposure lit using his dramatic style with colored gels immediately followed by a second exposure per his instructions – simple on a gray background.

Two dramatically different looks, all captured in camera.

The Dream Come True

Cuarezma’s style was well received. He took a chance and turned a simple portrait assignment into a creative, dramatic, and dynamic photo shoot. His “outside the box” thinking ended up with a double-page spread in Sports Illustrated – a dream come true.

The image as it appeared in Sports Illustrated. We’re so happy to be part of this success story!

Check out Behind the Scenes

Alexis created the behind the scenes video of the shoot – check it out!

 To see more of Alexis Cuarezma’s work, check out his website.

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission images ©Alexis Cuarezma all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without permission.