Here are four strategies for building studio kits that range from mini to mighty
The Kit That Fits in a Trunk
Photo: Jeff Green Green shot with a Hasselbad H3DII and 35–90mm Hassie lens; 1.4 sec at f/16, ISO 100. He also used ambient light and a slew of Arri hot lights for this shot.
The next step for strobe-loving photographers on the go is graduating to a studio and lighting kit that can be carried in an automobile trunk or a van. The additional gear this lets you bring on location can be liberating and will open up numerous lighting possibilities for portraits and interior architecture.
Jeff Green (jeffgreenphoto.com), who made this view of a Las Vegas restaurant’s private dining room, knew that he would need numerous spotlights to open up shadows and draw viewers’ eyes to the room’s most interesting features.
Green uses Arri hot lights exclusively for this type of location lighting, and carries everything needed to the site in his Jeep Grand Cherokee.
“I usually take three to four cases and a folding cart,” he explains. “Hot lights go in hard-walled Pelican cases, while the strobes and softboxes go in a large Tamrac rolling case.”
Continuous light sources like his Arris let you see their effects as you set up, and are a must for shooting video indoors. But hot lights, of course, generate a lot of heat. That is one reason that many location shooters prefer cooler and easier-to-handle strobe lighting.
The good news? You can choose from dozens of location strobe kits, all of which would easily fit in a trunk. One of our favorites is the Multiblitz GlamKit 2 based on a Profilux Plus strobe like the one on our opening page. This $1,899 (direct) kit includes the strobe, a portable battery, trolley, an umbrella/softbox, stand, and case.
An important consideration for hauling lights around in your car: Protecting them. News and wedding shooters often line their trunks with foam padding, adding foam walls to create sections that separate grip (with little protection), lighting gear, and cameras (with lots of protection).
(A) Duvetyne black-out cloth (from $12, street) will control light spill and color temperature contamination by on-site window light.
(B) The Multiblitz GlamKit 2 ($1,899, direct) location package is based on the rugged and well-designed Profilux Plus portable strobe; the battery will provide up to 1,400 full-power pops per charge.
(C) To balance the color of flash and ambient lighting, try the Rosco 55-Piece Strobist Filter Kit ($18, street) with its 55 acetate filters for shoe-mount flashes.
(D) The Impact Light Kit bag ($79, street) will hold two monolights, umbrellas, and lightstands, and its handle converts to a shoulder strap.
(E) Photoflex's Litepanel diffusion wall ($570, street) includes stands and ballast bags.
(F) Adorama’s Flashpoint X-series radio trigger ($100, direct) will fire strobes wirelessly from almost 600 feet.