Lighting Reviews

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Edited by George Schaub  |  Sep 13, 2013  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2013  |  0 comments

Every year member magazines from the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) gather to consider and vote on the top products of the year in 40 categories, ranging from cameras to tripods to software and printers. This year’s selections represent technological sophistication along with features and functionality that make them leaders in their respective categories.

Jason Schneider  |  Jul 20, 2015  |  0 comments

The flash bracket has become the “forgotten accessory” in photography but it’s still an essential tool if you’re looking to achieve consistent studio-quality lighting on the fly.

Jason Schneider  |  Jul 20, 2015  |  1 comments

If you read our story on "7 Reasons You Still Need a Flash Bracket for Photography," perhaps you’ve decided it’s time to purchase one of these photography workhorses. Here are our recommendations for 8 Great Flash Brackets to help you achieve studio-quality lighting on the fly.

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Apr 02, 2015  |  0 comments

When the folks at Fotodiox asked me if I wanted to look at one of their FlapJack portable LED studio lights, I told them “no.” 

Jack Neubart  |  Oct 01, 2008  |  0 comments

A monolight (or monobloc, in some circles) is a self-contained strobe--and possibly the best way to get started in studio lighting. Self-contained means it does not require an external power pack to control its various functions with all the controls housed in the body. Most monolights plug into an AC outlet, although a few are driven by a separate, external battery pack. You...

Joe Farace  |  Oct 29, 2013  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2013  |  1 comments

Pro shows are a great time to catch up on the latest in lighting gear and trends, so we asked Joe Farace, who does lighting equipment tests for us here at Shutterbug (type Joe’s name in the Search box at www.shutterbug.com to see the wide range of gear he’s tested) to roam the floor at the WPPI show to see what’s hot. His report covers new equipment that caught his eye there but, while there’s plenty to read about, this is not intended to be a full report on what’s new in the category. Some of these products will be covered in future issues, with promised updates from Joe. Also, the show was a few months back, so most, if not all the gear, you read about here is available now. Check our web page news for new products and developments, and follow our in-depth lighting test reports that appear regularly in Shutterbug.—Editor

Steve Bedell  |  Apr 18, 2012  |  First Published: Mar 01, 2012  |  0 comments

The Aurora Orion light kit arrived on my doorstep at the busiest time of the year for me. At the end of the summer I take hundreds of high school seniors and thousands of “one shot” photos of the underclass students at high schools. So while it has taken me a while to get around to writing the report, I have used these lights to take thousands of pictures, and I was really glad to have a light kit that I could just pick up and walk out the door with and have all I needed in one really nice travel bag.

Joe Farace  |  Oct 01, 2009  |  0 comments

The Mini/Max family consists of two light banks that fit on the front of your shoe-mount flash.

Joe Farace  |  Nov 18, 2011  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2011  |  0 comments

Gene Kelly had an umbrella while dancing to “Singin’ in the Rain” but he didn’t use it much, preferring instead to get wet. Photographic umbrellas won’t keep you dry but are the simplest to use and most inexpensive form of lighting modifier available, and that makes them the most popular as well. These umbrellas look and act like the kind of umbrella that keeps “raindrops from falling on your head” except that in a studio lighting situation they are usually reflective and light is bounced into them, creating a big, soft light source that’s directed toward the subject. Sometimes an umbrella is covered with translucent material and instead of mounting the umbrella so light is bounced into it, a light is fired through it, turning it into a direct source. While some light is lost shooting through an umbrella, it produces more direct light, and since more light is being directed at the subject it gives you the ability to shoot at a smaller aperture than when bounced into the umbrella. If you compare the apertures produced in the illustrations you’ll see what I mean.

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Jun 11, 2015  |  0 comments

Raise your hand if you’ve ever taken a flash photo and wished a) it wasn’t so washed out, b) it didn’t have those harsh, black shadows behind the subject, c) it wasn’t so bluish all over, or d) it were possible to do it all over again because the results just plain sucked. Does this picture sound familiar? You need a flash modifier. In fact, you may need a BounceLite.

Joe Farace  |  Oct 15, 2013  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2013  |  0 comments

Mary and I have fond memories of using early generation Bowens monolights; they were our first really “good” lighting system when we set up our studio in 1982. We loved shooting with those big, black, paint-can-shaped 800B monolights because they were inexpensive, dependable, and powerful. From what I can tell from my tests of their two-light Gemini 400Rx Kit that continues to be the case.

Joe Farace  |  Mar 11, 2014  |  First Published: Jan 01, 2014  |  0 comments

These days it seems that using LED lighting systems for studio portraiture is like puppies and kittens—everybody loves them, and why not? All you need to do is turn on an LED light panel and shoot, right? While there’s obviously more to it than that, the WYSIWYG nature of LED lighting is especially helpful for new or aspiring pros who want to get up and running quickly or in applications where the lighting needs to be consistent so lots of portraits can be made in a short amount of time, something event photographers will take to heart. With that in mind I recently tested Bowens’ Mosaic LED light panels (#1). Originally developed for film and video use, they are available in models designed for mounting on traditional light stands for portraiture, so I put them to work in my home studio.

Joe Farace  |  May 02, 2014  |  First Published: Mar 01, 2014  |  0 comments

There is something quietly satisfying about working with finely crafted tools. It’s a feeling I remember having back in the film days when making photographs with my first Hasselblad 500C/M camera and one I had again while shooting with Broncolor’s Move 1200 L Outdoor Kit 2. It made creating all of the images that you see here easier and fun to shoot, and it’s in this spirit of play where creativity lives, inspiring a photographer to try new ways to make better photographs. Broncolor’s Move Kit is just that kind of lighting system.

Joe Farace  |  Jan 10, 2012  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2011  |  1 comments

The monolights that I’ve recently tested for Shutterbug combine power supply and flash head into a single unit. Handy, but an alternative approach is using power pack and flash head systems, such as those made by Broncolor (www.bronimaging.com), who offer these components as individual units that can be mixed and matched to produce different lighting setups.

Steve Bedell  |  Nov 18, 2016  |  0 comments

I love testing the new and latest lighting gear. The transformation from the analog to the digital age has meant rapid advancements in both camera and lighting equipment. The advent of the self-contained, battery-powered monolight is one of the prime areas where the manufacturers are all producing lights that are just as capable and easy to use in the field as they are in the studio.

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