Magazine Article


Bright Ideas
Studio Photography’s Guide to Lighting Equipment

-Gene Martin

Good things really can come in small sizes, thanks to Dyna-Lite’s new T4222-PS Twinkle Kit. Weighing only 3.5 pounds, the T4222 features two 400w/s fan-cooled monolights that can recycle to full power in just two seconds. Equipped with a built-in optical slave, and a 1/32 power variator, the Twinkle Kit offers power and flexibility in a portable, easy-to-use kit. Photographers, both in the studio and out on location, can take advantage of the innovation that yields surprisingly efficient results.

For lighting control at your fingertips, simply push a button and manage brightness with the new D-Lite from Elinchrom. Distributed in the U.S. by Bogen Imaging,
D-Lite allows photographers to manipulate lighting from heavy shadows to a softly arranged headshot. Each system is available with a DVD lighting guide, which incorporates detailed explanations and expert walk-throughs. Anyone with a digital camera and some creativity can take quality photos with lighting enriching each image. The 1.3kg lighting source features a plug-in flash tube, a 100W modeling lamp, self-regulating auto power stabilization, and flash duration of 1/1200s.

FJ Westcott
The F.J. Westcott Company proves that you don’t have to sacrifice time to have quality images with its new Spiderlite TD5. The convenient light source allows you to view lighting patterns immediately. The Spiderlite TD5 offers tungsten halogen, fluorescent, and strobe capabilities. Light sources, light output, color, and environment temperatures can be instantly changed using the Spiderlite. Equipped with a 15’ switch cord, a built-in handle for softbox rotation, and no adapter rings required, the TD5 incorporates practicality with high technology—which is rarely seen in lighting equipment. Three controls are available on the back, managing one to five lamps, providing easy modification to lighting ratios without effecting color temperature.

“When purchasing a background, you are best to use a background light. It’s not wise to purchase a dark background without a backlight in your studio, as it will be even darker in your final image. Lighter colored backgrounds can be used with a backlight or gels to alter the current look. Westcott’s executive gray is an example of a background I use with gels to play with my background looks. This particular image was shot with Westcott’s Autumn Red background and a background light.”
–James Schmelzer

Gary Fong
My mother always taught me never to waste. The creators of the Chrome Dome must have gotten the same advice. The latest addition to the Gary Fong Lightsphere family redirects wasted light and re-harnesses power back to your light source. The Chrome Dome uses every bit of light, providing more range, less light loss, and more control over the light produced by on-camera flash units. The Chrome Dome also features an inverted dome portion, which transmits non-diffused light onto the ceiling, and re-focuses it onto the given subject. The reflective chrome insert is 100 percent compatible with the Lightsphere II Inverted Dome Lighting System.

The modern day digital SLR camera needs a modern day ringflash; that wisdom rings true for Hensel’s newest innovation, fittingly named the Ringflash. The lightweight technology comes in two versions compatible with the Hensel Porty battery and the Hensel studio power pack. The former pack is 1200 watt seconds, while the other is 3000 watt seconds. The independent ringflash stands on its own (in your hands, that is), with no tripod necessary for operation, and can be used by itself via camera adapter. Need another dimension of light quality to work with? Just attach the Ringflash to the Octa Sun Haze, another Hensel brainchild, and you’ll have more light options at the ready. The new products can be viewed on the Hensel USA website,

“When you mention ringflash to most professional photographers, you can almost see them creating an image in their heads of a fashion model with a tinge of shadow forming an outline of the body. Well, recently, Hensel developed a one-of-a-kind “SunHaze” attachment for their ringflash unit and it made me think, “Why shoot through the ring?”

When you combine the Hensel ringflash with the Hensel SunHaze attachment, you get an image-enhancing, light-quality boost like no other light source powered by the well-proven, wireless controlled Hensel Porty Premium powerpack—especially when you shoot with your camera outside the ring.”
-Rolando gomez

Lastolite lifts the shadow on image quality with their latest innovation: the HiLite illuminated background. With a back-lit setting, subjects can be placed within 15.75” of the structure without producing a shadow or dark spot. Best used on location work, the self-supporting background is set up and collapsed with relatively simple manipulation. The product, distributed in the U.S. by Bogen Imaging, will be available in two convenient sizes: 5’x7’ (1.5m x 2.5) and 6’x 7’ (1.8m x 2.15m) by December of 2006.

Diffuse harsh, unwanted light and save hours retouching your images, with the new Soft Screen flash diffuser from LumiQuest. Structured for most digital and film SLR pop-up flashes, the diffuser fits into the hot shoe of the camera. The Soft Screen assists in softening dramatic light. Quick installation allows users to manipulate more readily, and soften up pop-flashes of all kinds.

“During a workshop in the Ho Rainforest in Washington, we came upon these really exotic, vivid orange fungi growing on the tree trunks. The light was dim and typically overcast in this part of the Pacific Northwest. The soft light allowed for good saturation and lots of shadow detail, but it lacked the necessary contrast for a good print. The obvious choice was an off-camera light source that would match the existing light quality and add a little snap. The LumiQuest Big Bounce was perfect for this. Attached with Velcro to the Metz flash, and connected with a TTL cord, I was able to place the light source exactly where it needed to be. We ran across this abandoned boat at La Push Harbor on Washington’s northwest coast. After getting some nice overall, wide-angle images, I decided to move in close to get some details. The tiny barnacles that were still attached to the exterior seemed a likely subject. However, by this time it was nearly dark, on an already heavily overcast afternoon. Flat soft light on these little guys just wasn’t going to work. Since there was no available light to reflect, the only option for increasing the contrast was a flash. I definitely didn’t want to use the on-camera option. This scene needed the light to be coming in from a strong side-angle to create some dimension and show the detail. The LumiQuest Big Bounce, connected to my Fujifilm FinePix S3 via a TTL cord, did the trick.”
- Don Gale

Tired of tripping over cords? Lighten up, with Nikon’s Wireless Close-Up Speedlight System—the R1C1. Conveniently structured to fit within Nikon’s i-TTL Wireless Creative Lighting System, the R1C1 includes the SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander, two SB-R200 Wireless Remote Speedlights, and mounting adapters. Ideal usage is geared toward Nikon i-TTL capable SLRs: D2x, D2HS, D2H, and F6. No cords and no calculators are needed when manipulating the R1C1. The i-TTL technology is capable of making all exposure calculations and the wireless technology makes for a simple, hands-free experience. The R1C1 can handle lighting arrangements for portable, low maintenance sets to more elaborate lighting shoots, its versatile character makes every job fun and effective.

Comfortable playing a starring role or supporting actor, the Novatron M600 can fit into either position as the only light source you need, or as a secondary source using its built-in slave trigger that simultaneously fires with another flash. The microprocessor-controlled monolight allows tracking during flash power adjustment, while featuring a color-correct plug-in flash tube, a 250 watt modeling lamp and a 6-1/2” to 16” interchangeable reflector. Available with an 18’ power cable, this versatile resource allows you the comfort and flexibility necessary in photography.