Strobist

Strobist

This website is about one thing: Learning how to use off-camera flash with your DSLR to take your photos to the next level. Or the next ten levels.

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Website: strobist.blogspot.com
Tags: advice, blog, flash, reviews
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Dec 18
Without Reservation: A Recommended Gear List
This is something I get asked about a lot, and its inclusion on the site is far overdue. The following is a list of gear in which I have... show more
This is something I get asked about a lot, and its inclusion on the site is far overdue. The following is a list of gear in which I have complete confidence, and would recommend wholeheartedly to any photographer.The Without Reservation list will be kept up to date going forward, so these are all subject to change at some point in the future. But as of now, this is the go-to gear that I rely upon day in and day out. Read more » show less
Dec 13
Why I Moved Comments to Twitter
The traditional blog commenting format may be convenient, but it is in many ways a broken system.The last couple of posts have been an... show more
The traditional blog commenting format may be convenient, but it is in many ways a broken system.The last couple of posts have been an experiment of sorts, deigned to help me regain some of my sanity. I have turned off comments and instead created a Twitter hashtag around which to group post-related discussion.And if the early results are any indication, things are already getting better. Here is why I am not going back. Read more » show less
Dec 06
Fuji Follow-Up
It's been two years since I fell down the Fuji rabbit hole. It's been a wonderful (and public) experience, and I probably get... show more
It's been two years since I fell down the Fuji rabbit hole. It's been a wonderful (and public) experience, and I probably get asked more questions about Fuji than anything else.So today we're taking a small side trip from lighting and heading into mirrorless. Apologies to the uninterested. I'l be back soon. But for those considering a foray into Fuji, I hope you'll find this helpful. Read more » show less
Nov 29
The Updated, Essential Strobist Bookshelf
A great photo book (whether lighting or otherwise) is an amazing value. You get to rent someone else's brain for the price of a good... show more
A great photo book (whether lighting or otherwise) is an amazing value. You get to rent someone else's brain for the price of a good dinner. And depending on who's brain you're renting and what you do with the info, the return on investment can be hundreds or even thousands of time what you invested.Now more than ever, it is a wonderful time to be a lighting photographer. I have long maintained a book list on Strobist, but it has gotten out of date. Today I am correcting that with a tight list of books that I can absolutely recommend for photographers who want to learn.The list includes just five books on lighting, a book on the interpersonal aspects of photography and a massive, magnum opus that is not even out yet. (But I've seen it!) Read more » show less
Nov 25
How to Gel a Beauty Dish, v.2.0
One thing I have learned about light and lighting: there's always different—and often better—way to do something. A few months ago we... show more
One thing I have learned about light and lighting: there's always different—and often better—way to do something. A few months ago we ran a piece on gelling various soft light modifiers, wherein I listed my go-to ways to color soft light. But someone in the comments offered a different way—a way better way—and I have been using it ever since. Here's what he suggested. Read more » show less
Nov 19
Low Frequency, High Amplitude
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about the next step in my weird, one-off career. And this tweet, by a man who I truly admire,... show more
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about the next step in my weird, one-off career. And this tweet, by a man who I truly admire, summed up my thoughts in just four words.As a photographer, you could hardly ask for better advice. I’m taking it to heart, both for myself and for Strobist. Read more » show less
Nov 13
Chokra-and-Awe: Loren Wohl Blasts Through The Fog and Noise
On the face of it, music photographer Loren Wohl's backlit photos of performance artist Chokra are themselves a series of cool... show more
On the face of it, music photographer Loren Wohl's backlit photos of performance artist Chokra are themselves a series of cool photos. But dig a little deeper and they are a textbook example of gaining access and building out your book.And the latter is just as important—if not more so—as the former. Read more » show less
Nov 08
Pentatonix' Daft Punk Video: Low Budget Meets Awesome Creativity
If you are one of the five people on the internet who have not yet seen the new video of Pentatonix covering Daft Punk this week,... show more
If you are one of the five people on the internet who have not yet seen the new video of Pentatonix covering Daft Punk this week, you're in for a treat. And as cool as it is, dig a little deeper and it gets way better. This video is one percent budget and 99 percent pure talent and creativity — the latter of which will trump budget and scale every time. Read more » show less
Nov 04
We All Screw Up. Don't Worry About It.
Look, no one is born a lighting genius. We all make mistakes. And we are all gonna make mistakes in the future.And just to make you feel... show more
Look, no one is born a lighting genius. We all make mistakes. And we are all gonna make mistakes in the future.And just to make you feel a little better about it, today I am gonna tell you about my stupidest moment as a lighting photographer.So far. Read more » show less
Oct 28
Off-Brand LED Studio Monoblocs: Wouldya? (I Did.)
So you're used to using flashes without modeling lights. How about modeling lights without flashes? Yes? No? Maybe?My project for... show more
So you're used to using flashes without modeling lights. How about modeling lights without flashes? Yes? No? Maybe?My project for 2014 is video-based (no spoilers, please) so I found myself shopping for video lights in the form of LED monoblocs. If you've ever considered taking the plunge, read on... Read more » show less
Oct 22
An All-Nighter at The Vista: Greg Heisler's 50 Portraits
As cool as Gulf Photo Plus is in Dubai is every year, perhaps the very best part of the experience is the late-night conversation over... show more
As cool as Gulf Photo Plus is in Dubai is every year, perhaps the very best part of the experience is the late-night conversation over beers at the nearby rooftop bar, the Vista. There, people leave the classes (and instructor/student roles) behind and simply talk photo until the wee hours of the morning.An assumption is made that all at the table are just photographers. So the f/stops and shutter speed stuff is dispensed with in favor of everything that is the tapestry of photography. The resulting conversations are long, in-depth, very Inside Baseball and often funny as hell.And a night at the Vista what Heisler's new book, 50 Portraits: Stories and Techniques from a Photographer's Photographer, feels like. Read more » show less
Oct 18
Your REALTOR® Would Like Some Free Photography, Please
Please pardon the detour today. I need to rant. I'd like to share with you the ballsiest request for free picture use that I have... show more
Please pardon the detour today. I need to rant. I'd like to share with you the ballsiest request for free picture use that I have ever gotten… Read more » show less
Oct 14
BTS/360: Julius Koivistoinen's Terrarium
So you have learned a little bit about lighting. So what. What do you do with it? What's the goal?What if you were only 22 years old,... show more
So you have learned a little bit about lighting. So what. What do you do with it? What's the goal?What if you were only 22 years old, but you had an idea for a project. And what if you wanted to parlay it into a solo exhibition. What would you do?If you are creative and resourceful, you could do what Finland photographer Julius Koivistoinen did… Read more » show less
Oct 10
Q&A: Margo Seibert
You had a lot of good questions after the Margo Seibert shoot last week, even to the point of telling me I was breaking a Scott Kelby... show more
You had a lot of good questions after the Margo Seibert shoot last week, even to the point of telling me I was breaking a Scott Kelby Rule. (For the record, I lurve breaking Scott Kelby rules.)(And who is he to say you shouldn't shoot a portrait with a 50mm, anyway?)Besides — and believe it or not — that lens selection was totally driven by the light. No joke. That, and more of your Q's answered, below. Read more » show less
Oct 07
My Week With Heisler, Pt. 3
Editor's Note: Contributor Sara Lando continues her three-part series chronicling her 10-day stint as an assistant/mole with Gregory... show more
Editor's Note: Contributor Sara Lando continues her three-part series chronicling her 10-day stint as an assistant/mole with Gregory Heisler in Dubai. This is part three. Part one is here.Whenever I spend enough time shadowing a photographer, I end up lusting for gear. Don't judge me: you probably wouldn't be reading Strobist if you didn't have the same problem.A week spent with Heisler had me definitely interested in playing around with gels, made me want to trade my octabank for a strip light, definitely added a tilt-shift lens to my wish list, but what impressed me the most is what he calls "the unsung hero of light modifiers": the narrow beam reflector. Read more » show less
Oct 02
On Assignment: Margo Seibert
Learning to light with flashes can be liberating or it can be a straightjacket. It can open up countless new doors — or it can restrict... show more
Learning to light with flashes can be liberating or it can be a straightjacket. It can open up countless new doors — or it can restrict you to a small, equipment-based bag of tricks.The key is to not let your new lighting skills displace your other approaches. And even more important, to learn to let your vision cross-pollinate between seeing great ambient and creating great light from scratch.Case in point is this shoot with actress Margo Seibert, for which I packed all of my strobes but only brought out a single LP180 — and then only after our ambient had deserted us. Today we'll be tweaking the sun until it's gone. And only then swapping to flash. Read more » show less
Sep 27
Super Cheap: Replacement Tubes for Your Broken Speedlight
When it comes down to it, there aren't a ton of things that can go wrong with a speedlight. And if your flash appears to be in... show more
When it comes down to it, there aren't a ton of things that can go wrong with a speedlight. And if your flash appears to be in working order (i.e., charges, zooms, etc.) but won't fire, it is probably a bad or broken tube. While you are probably looking at a three-digit repair bill from your OEM manufacturer, you can also DIY the repair for next to nothing. Read more » show less
Sep 23
My Week With Heisler, Pt. 2
Editor's Note: Contributor Sara Lando continues her three-part series chronicling her 10-day stint as an assistant/mole with Gregory... show more
Editor's Note: Contributor Sara Lando continues her three-part series chronicling her 10-day stint as an assistant/mole with Gregory Heisler in Dubai. This is part two. Part one is here.By Sara Lando -- "Lighting is a lot like cooking. You have a gazillion different instruments and what you use will depend on what you want to eat. Also, you don't learn how to cook by eating at restaurants. You have to cook."When Heisler was talking about this during his lecture, I thought it was cool and made sense. But it was probably only when we stepped into Cavalli Club that I got to realize how much "having to cook" was going to be put into test. He was entering the club for the first time himself: for a series of reasons, we weren't able to scout the location beforehand and he only got a glimpse of the place from some cellphone footage. When we stepped into the club, the first word that came through my mind isn't one I'd feel comfortable reporting.The place was pitch black. Read more » show less
Sep 18
On Assignment: Kai-Huei Yau's Football Previews
Growth as a photographer is, for me, long periods of muddy struggle punctuated by moments of clarity. Sometimes the moments break new... show more
Growth as a photographer is, for me, long periods of muddy struggle punctuated by moments of clarity. Sometimes the moments break new ground. But other times the moments solidify things you already knew —but didn't know know.Photographer Kai-Huei Yau's shot of a high school football lineman is a great example of the latter. Read more » show less
Sep 13
Wait! It's Not What it Looks Like!
That's pretty much what I had to tell my wife, the first time she saw this baby in my basement.And yeah, I do know what it looks... show more
That's pretty much what I had to tell my wife, the first time she saw this baby in my basement.And yeah, I do know what it looks like. Doesn't help that it has the words "Wizard Stick" printed on the other side of it, either.But actually, this thing is a hand-held, AA-powered fog machine. Yeah it is… Read more » show less
Sep 09
My Week With Heisler, Pt. 1
Let's say for a moment that you found yourself embedded as an assistant with arguably the world's best living photographic... show more
Let's say for a moment that you found yourself embedded as an assistant with arguably the world's best living photographic portraitist. And let's also say that, beyond your primary duties as an assistant your secondary goal was to be observant as possible and report back on what you learned.That's exactly what happened to Italian photographer (and occasional Strobist contributor) Sara Lando, who as you can see above was not at all excited about her assignment at Gulf Photo Plus earlier this year. She looks almost bored, dontcha think?This post marks the first of a three-part series on what she learned from her experience. Today, the intangibles: the stuff you'd never consider because you are too busy worrying about a gridded beauty dish or something… Read more » show less
Sep 03
On Assignment: Don't Deny the Obvious
We give a lot of attention to light mods around here: big ones, little ones, hard ones, soft ones, umbrellas, soft boxes, grids and the... show more
We give a lot of attention to light mods around here: big ones, little ones, hard ones, soft ones, umbrellas, soft boxes, grids and the like. But sometimes the best light mod is no light mod at all — especially indoors, with neutral walls.In that environment, often the smart choice is just to stick your bare speedlights on stands and go. Read more » show less
Aug 29
Q&A: China Answers!
Upon reading the post earlier this week asking for a male-male hot-shoe-to-mini coiled sync cord, reader Shirley Lu, of Guangzhou, China... show more
Upon reading the post earlier this week asking for a male-male hot-shoe-to-mini coiled sync cord, reader Shirley Lu, of Guangzhou, China noted in the comments:If this cable is 10 meters, maybe it will have a delay on signal transfer. And other point is the cost of a 10-meter cable is much higher than a set wireless triggers.Great question (er, comment), Shirley. I am so glad you posted it. And especially so, considering a quick look at your screen name shows you work at Pixel Enterprises, a Chinese lighting gear manufacturer. (Welcome!) My answers are below. Read more » show less
Aug 26
Dear China, Please Make This.
Whoops, my bad. Lemme rephrase that:?????,???????????????????????????????????????????Now, here's why: Read more »