Best type of light for portaiture?

Started Apr 18, 2013 | Questions thread
Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Re: Best type of light for portraiture?

Lena Hale wrote:

hotdog321 wrote:

I agree with the others. I use a couple of 1200 w/s monolights, but that is overkill. I almost never use all that juice--400 w/s is way more than enough for most folks. I also find that slaving a couple of speedlights can be handy for adding fill light or other small area uses.

Okay.. so I'm going to look between 300 and 400 w/s. What is 'slaving'? If it's too complex to explain easily I'll just look it up, but might as well ask if it's a simple answer

A "slave" unit is a photo-cell device that fires the flash automatically when it receives a pulse of light from another flash. The response is very rapid, effectively firing multiple flashes in synchrony with each other. This means only ONE triggering unit needs to be connected to the camera shutter.

Modern Studio Flash units have built-in slave cells, engaged when required by a switch. Some well-specified camera-top flashes have them built-in, too.
Slave cells can also be bought separately, and connected to the flash unit when needed. They are not expensive.

Optical slave cells of this kind have been around for 50 years, and are now considered rather old technology. In professional circles they have largely been replaced by radio slaves, which work in the same general way, but will operate around corners and over greater distances. However, slave cells are reliable and simple and work well indoors where strong light does not reduce their sensitivity.

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