Tag Archive for: instructional

Build a set for less than $10 and use it many different ways…. yeah I’m Dutch

Of course I would love to spend thousands on elaborate sets but let’s be honest, we can’t.
So it became a challenge to do everything as cheap as possible and maximise the use.
And I think we broke all records with this one.

A while ago you probably saw the blog post about the set we build with rescue blankets, well those blankets also have a silver side.
So today in the blog the results from a recent workshop with our model and awesome stylist Nadine.

During the workshop I gave the attendees a simple, assignment.
This is the set, go crazy.
you have 10 minutes.

Of course I had to put my money where my mouth is, so after the 10 minutes I also did a try.
All the shots you see now are shot within that time frame, if you deduct the explanation of course.

I started relatively simple.

Here I’m using a Geekoto GT400 with the Nanlite Fresnell lens.
The Fresnell has quickly become my favourite light modifier for high contrast images.
I did use Fresnells in the past but hardly during workshops, they were simply put too expensive and I love to teach setups that you can also recreate yourself without breaking the bank. But the Nanlite Fresnell has a super friendly price, so I’ve been using a lot now 😀

Now in this shot you only see one light, but on the side there is a Geekoto GT250 with a rogue omnidirectional dome.
As soon as I turn that one on I have my second set, which as you probably agree upon is “a bit” different.

But because 10 minutes is actually a lot of time we moved the strobe to the backside of the set and aimed it down.
I’m now using a slight magenta coloured gel under the dome, the reason I’m using magenta is that with the tinting later on it will give me a nice “reddish” tint.
You can also use a red gel but after tinting it this way it could be a bit too much and clip some red.

From this point on I just started experimenting with the output of the gel and under which angle I shot.
Also getting slightly closer to Nadine and using the wide angle to enhance the position of the legs.

It’s always a cool effect to use a wide angle and let the model point her toes towards the camera.

Of course the exposure you meter with a light meter is the “perfect” exposure, but sometimes it’s not the “perfect” exposure you want in your images.
In these images I loved the darker look you see above, but what if…. you just open the aperture and add a lot of extra spread on the background by changing the angle of that strobe.

Indeed without changing a lot you can have a totally different look

But we are not done yet with our challenge.
Now that I like the total look, I’m ready for some close ups.

Angles change everything

And because I’m standing now anyway, let’s throw in a higher angle and a really low one.
Using different angles are without a doubt one of the easiest, quickest and best way to totally change the look and feel of a shot.
As you can see here, the impact is pretty obvious.
Also because I’m shooting into the light in the lower angle shot the KF concept Black diffusion filter really does it’s work.

Adding lights that are not strobes

As you can probably see there are some lights in the Chrismas tree, but so far I have to yet turned them on.
The simple reason was that I didn’t like them in this set, but because we had a few seconds left, we decided to turn them on.
The only thing you have to keep in mind is that when you shoot with strobes you are shooting with a lot of light and a pulse, so as long as you stay below 1/125 there is no problem in the studio (we call this the X-sync).

Because the Christmas lights are very low in output, I had to lower the output of the strobes (you can quickly do this via the remote control) and turn on the lights. Now you can use the shutter speed to let in more or less of the continuous light, the flash will stay the same (turn of your modelling lights) but the Christmas lights will show up more intense the longer the shutter speed.

We ended up with this shot.

As you can see it’s possible to shoot a lot of different looks from one set.
Just make sure you setup everything in advance so during the shoot you can quickly change things around.
For me this often means I’m using the same mainlight. But will change my accent lights around a lot, sometimes just via the remote control, but also position wise, and of course walk around my model a lot.

1o minutes really is a long time if you set everything up correctly.
But preparation is key. When the model is not yet on the set your whole idea should be in your head, and tested.
This will keep the model interested and fresh. and in the end your client happier.

Feel free to reach out with questions.
We really appreciate a share on social media.

Use light in different ways for awesome portraits and more

One of the things we probably all start with are books with lighting diagrams.
Now don’t get me wrong, they are awesome to get a general idea of the lighting setup.
However I strongly believe you should be able to “read the light” by just following the shadows, it’s often not really important to know which light sources are used, as long as you can recreate the look.

We can shoot images with a beauty dish that can very close to a small softbox for example, but when we start to use Fresnell’s you can very quickly see the difference between a reflector and the Fresnell, this is something that you will quickly pickup when you start to look at the shadows and the different way the shadows change.

But then it becomes really interesting when you add the angle into play.
Of course we all know that changing the angle from higher to lower can have a huge impact in your end result, but for me the real game changer was when I started to move around my model. Just a slight movement to left or right can make an image look totally different.

Let’s take a look at some of the images I took of Nadine during a recent workshop.

I’m using our Geekoto GT400 here with the Geekoto small softbox and grid
On the other side I’m using GT400 and the Nanlite striplight with grid.

One of the things I love about a striplight is that you can use it in a lot of different situations where you need to light a large area but don’t want any spill light.
In this case I’m using the striplight angled, this way I lights both my model and the background. By changing the angle of the striplight slightly I can balance the light on the background and the model. A very powerful technique.

By moving just a little but you can create some more powerful portraits.

But sometimes you need a little bit more intensity?
Make it black and white, add some grain and contrast….. “instant art” and yes this one was in focus 😀
(inside joke).

But let’s take one more step to the side and also include the striplight.
Now this one won’t be the shot you like or even want to try, but sometimes clients want something a bit different. And it’s just one step more to the side. Always try it.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.
We really appreciate a share on social media.

Mixing strobes with available light for awesome model photography results with attitude and mood

Mixing strobes with available light

This blog post is about the workshop:  mixing strobes with available light. Why is it difficult? Or is that just the impression? An explanation and of course, some results with our wonderful model, friend, and stylist Nadine Stephan.

The problem of mixing strobes and available/ continuous lighting

For loads of photographers mixing available (or continuous) light and strobes can be a real challenge. Still in essence it’s incredibly simple.

We have to remember our famous triangle of ISO, Shutterspeed, and Aperture.
When combining flash with continuous lighting we always have to remember that the flash is a pulse and the continuous lightning is cumulative (meaning it adds up over time).


Our flash is also a lot more powerful than, for example, LED lights. This means we start with the strobe on the lowest possible setting. This is one of the reasons I always advise buying strobes that can be adjusted in a wide range and are not too powerful. We don’t need 1000W in a studio environment. But 200-400W is actually the sweet spot. Outside you can use the same strobes on HSS and literally kill the sunlight without any problem. In our studio for these setups, we use our Geekoto GT400 strobes and GT200/GT250.

ISO and aperture are important when mixing light sources

If we know the output of the strobe we have to of course also look at the lens we are using. It makes no sense to set the strobe to f1.4 when you’re shooting with a f2.8 lens. However, don’t adjust your strobes yet….. remember that we need as much light from the continuous light as possible. So if the strobe is not outputting enough,  just raise your ISO till you read f2.8 (if that’s your widest aperture).

Now that we know the ISO and the aperture we forget about those two.

Meaning you are not changing those anymore. Everything from here on is done with the shutter speed.
A faster shutter speed means the lights will be dimmer. Slower shutter speeds will make the lights appear brighter.
You can now exactly setup the shot exactly the way you want by experimenting with your shutter speed.


Some things to remember when mixing strobes with available (continuous) lights


Always start with an image without strobes and your intended continuous light to see what’s going on. In a perfect setup the image would be 100% black. Now add the continuous lighting first to see how it looks. And finally add the strobe (this is after we already metered everything and is more of a test to make sure there is no extra light, we don’t want in the shot).

When you can’t get your strobes low enough, you can always experiment with other modifiers. For example, a striplight with a grid will “eat” much more light than a beauty dish or open reflector. And if that’s still not working you can always think about adding Neutral Density  (ND) filters to your strobe (not the camera, because that won’t benefit you, due to the continuous light you have to mix).

Do always remember to turn off ALL the lights in your studio INCLUDING the model lights of course 😀
If you don’t, it won’t always be bad, but you have to realize that they will influence your image.


Some results from the workshop

During my workshops, we always try to do 3-5 sets. And during this workshop we managed 4 amazing setups. But because only 3 were done with mixing strobes and continuous lighting I’m just showing you these in this blogpost.

Model and Styling: Nadine

Set 1

Mixing strobes with availabe light

The model is lit by the strobe

Mixing strobes with availabe light

the lights blink in different colors

Mixing strobes with available light

different angle

For the first set, we used some Christmas lights on an umbrella.
I’m using a small beauty dish with a grid as my main light source. I included it in some images for some added effect.

Set 2

In this set we had to push the ISO a bit further because there were fewer lights and the whole set was pretty dark.
Here I’m using our Rogue snoot on a Geekoto GT200 and our magnetic dome from Rogue with a red gel on a Geekoto GT250 for some added effect.
The red gel is placed away from the model and by moving the camera position slightly forward and backward I have total control over the amount of red entering the set. This can give some great “art” looking effects without using Photoshop. In fact, all the images in this blogpost are largely straight out of the camera.

Mixing strobes with availabe light

We even used a red color gel from the side

Set 3

For this set I’m using the same Rogue Snoot but on a slightly wider setting.
This snoot can be used in 4 different ways (and if you add the diffusion option 8 :D)
And our intern is holding a Nanlite Pavo tube on red, from the right.

Mixing strobes with available light

Using a red and green led light (used for running in the dark). A blue color gel on the snoot. And a big red LED tune from the right.


Mixing strobes with available light is not difficult

I hope this blog post helps you a bit when you have to mix light sources yourself. It’s not hard at all but you do have to realize that you are working with higher ISOs. On modern cameras that’s not a real problem. But in some cases, you will need some noise reduction.

Also, take into account that with slower shutter speeds the model has to be completely still. The flash will freeze the face but if she/he moves it will register as a weird shadow line, and the rest of the image will be soft. As you can see in some images you can use this creatively but you have to be aware that it can happen (to use it).

For more info on our products please visit
Geekoto.nl for our hybrid strobes and soft boxes that collapse very small
ClickBackdrops.nl for our awesome backgrounds and floors
IQwire.nl for our 5 and 10mtr tether cables
Rogueflash.nl for our Rogue products

Adding loads of mood with light in light

Claudia against the “graffiti door” from #clickpropsbackdrops

I shot this with the new magnetic #rogue system on Nissin speedlights.
The system is designed for the popular round strobes, but it can also be used on most speedlights via a special adapter, which is available in both standard and small to fit 99% of the speedlights out there.

See www.rogueflash.nl for more information.

I quite like the harder shadows that a spot gives on the model, but this also means that the shadows can be quite dark/intense. By using a fill-in with, for example, a blue gel, you can give the scene just that little bit of extra spice and mood. The Rogue Dome is ideal for this because it spreads the light very nicely, vary the output of the fill in strobes to get the desired effect is the only thing you have to do.

And it doesn’t stop there, you can even place the dome behind the model and then point it at the camera for a cool lens flare effect.

If you work with round strobes or speedlights, the magnetic system from Rogue is definitely highly recommended.
In combination with the flashbender, I wouldn’t know what else you would be needing on location or in the studio, and it all fits easily in your camera bag, even if it is almost full.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask
Or check out our YouTube channel with loads of lighting examples.