Face up to better portraits
Invest in some of these must-have accessories, and you’ll soon be shooting better portraits
Hähnel Captur Remote
One of the biggest steps in using off- camera flash is getting your lights firing without a physical connection to the camera. Hähnel’s Captur Remotes make this really easy and, at under £60, they’re an affordable way to get started, too. Powered by two AA batteries and with a range of up to 100m, these Captur remotes are compatible with a huge range of cameras and if you want to use more than one flash, just add another receiver. The Captur can also be used as a remote shutter release, so you’re covered there, too.
LIGHTING IS ONE of the most important aspects of portraiture, and that’s true whether you’re working with continuous light, speedlights, studio flashes or available light like the sun. It’s also important to remember that, while lighting can be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based on your technique and camera settings, it’s the style of lighting that really sets the tone and mood of a portrait. The human face is an object, and therefore moving the light source around it or changing the output of the light will change the way it looks. This is an approach called modelling, and it’s done by positioning lights exactly where you want them and by modifying the output of the light.
With the right kit, light can be quickly changed from direct to oblique, soft to hard, broad or narrow; however you feel it best suits the look you want to create. To light with freedom, you’ll want lights that are versatile and easy to use, as well as modifiers that let you shape their output just as you want. And it helps to have specialist bags and cases to transport and store kit, too. Of course, it’s not just about the lighting itself. Portrait backgrounds are also instrumental in the success – or otherwise – of a portrait. Check out this month’s top portrait gear picks and you’ll be well on the way to better pictures.
A roller bag is perfect for portrait work, because it lets you carry a wider range of kit than a simple backpack. Think Tank’s Airport Advantage XT has a large 33.8x45.7x19.1cm internal capacity, so it’s capable of holding larger lights as well as your camera gear. Inside, there are also lots of options for storing batteries, cards, filters and other small accessories. The bag itself is light at 3.1kg, and moves freely on its composite wheels with an extra-tall handle to make steering it much easier. Along with its durable build, it also has lockable YKK zips for extra security. Think Tank Airport Advantage XT
PocketWizard Plus Transceiver The PocketWizard Plus Transceiver is a high- end flash trigger/receiver that gives amazing
performance in terms of features, reliability, range and adaptability. With a choice of 32 channels to use, it’s easy to trigger your lights, even in very busy environments, and the Plus III’s Auto-Sensing technology switches between transmitter and receiver as needed. What’s more, it has a range of up to 500m and can trigger lights at up to 12fps.
Another great option for beginners with off- camera flash is Calumet’s Pro Series trigger. This 2.4GHz trigger and receiver set has a range of up to 100m, and can be set to one of four different channels, in case you want to control different sets of lights in your location, or need to work at events where others are using lights, too. Running off four AAA batteries, the Pro Series has an easy-to-read status LED to help with setting up. Calumet Pro Series set
Pixapro CITI600 TTL
No bigger than many camera lenses, the B10 is a lightweight but powerful battery-powered monolight that opens up all sorts of possibilities on location. With a maximum output of 250Ws, it has five times the power of the average speedlight and light is delivered across a versatile ten stops. With its clean and simple interface, the B10 is easy to use, even for beginners, and it’s compatible with all Profoto’s AirTTL remotes, as well as the Profoto A1 when used as a trigger. Plus the B10 is compatible with over 120 Profoto modifiers, including the full OCF range.
This is a battery-powered monolight that has all sorts of handy features, including TTL exposure, high-speed sync and stroboscopic modes. Using IGBT technology, it’s also capable of extremely short flash durations up to 1/10,000sec, making it a great option for freezing subject movement. Its rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack gives around 500 bursts on full power, and its 600Ws power can be controlled over a nine-stop range from 1/1 to 1/256 in third increments, and it also has a built-in 2.4GHz wireless receiver.
Kenro’s KFL101 is an affordable and powerful flash that’s compatible with both Nikon and Canon systems, making it a very handy gun to have around. The KFL101 offers high- speed sync up to 1/8000sec and can be used as a wireless master in Canon’s E-TTL and Nikon’s i-TTL modes. Powered by four AA batteries, it has a maximum output of GN58 (at ISO100, 180mm), and uses an automatic zoom head to help direct its power. Its angling head also comes with a built-in diffuser, and a stand and case are supplied.
10 Photography News | Issue 81
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