When it comes to a photographer’s bag of tricks, versatility is key. Many factors come together to make a great photo possible and at times these factors can be obstacles. From unexpected weather to equipment failure, it is important to be prepared for any scenario.
The FlexFlash 200W monobloc strobe is one of the most versatile lights on the market today. This lightweight strobe is powerful enough to give you a wide range of lighting options without taking up too much space in your kit. Winner of Professional Photographer’s Hot One award in 2014, this little light is quite the workhorse.
Strobe lighting is a great option for studio and location photos and can really come in handy when the weather is not cooperating. For example, in figure 1 below, the client wanted a dessert to be photographed with natural light in an organic setting. On the day of the shoot the sun was hiding behind dense cloud cover, creating a very flat look. The FlexFlash 200W with a LiteDome: Small was placed behind and to the right of the subject to simulate more directional sunlight. This accentuated the highlights on the fruit and background, raised the contrast and increased detail and texture. Once the color balance was adjusted to correct for the overcast light, the result was a more dynamic image that still has a natural light feel.
When you want to use primarily window light for a portrait or product image, the FlexFlash 200W can help to balance your exposure and fill in shadow areas. This creates a more dynamic portrait and gives you more control over the overall effect. In figure 2 below, natural light was coming from an overhead skylight as well as a window behind the subject. The highlight from the window created a nice side lighting effect but there was not enough light coming from the skylight above to properly light the subject’s face. An OctoDome: Small with the FlexFlash 200W was added to in front and slightly to the left to supplement the available light and fill in shadows on the face. The result is a more even lighting effect with a brighter complexion as well as increased detail and sharpness.
Another advantage of having a versatile strobe in your kit is the ability to create a studio look, anywhere you need to, with just one light. If you can find a blank wall and a few feet of space, you can create a flattering studio style portrait. In figure 3 below, the subject was photographed in a long hallway with ugly beige walls. Overhead fluorescents were the only available light, creating unflattering shadows on the subject’s face. A 30” silver umbrella with the FlexFlash 200W both illuminated the subject and helped to pop them out from the background. Positioning the light directly in front of the subject minimized shadow on the walls and created flattering shadows under the brows and chin. Converting the image to B&W helped to shift the focus away from the less than ideal setting and on the subject.
The FlexFlash 200W can really come in handy when you need to add drama to a shot. This can be due to a lackluster setting, flat lighting conditions or simply to increase contrast and color. In the example below, the open shade within the trees was a nice spot to shoot but the forest scene begged for a more dynamic lighting approach. The FlexFlash 200W with an OctoDome: Small was added was added in front and slightly to the left of the subject. The exposure was set to 2 stops brighter than the ambient light to create more separation from the background and to pop the color of the dress. This technique is great for shooting fashion, musicians and environmental portraits.
When shooting portraits outdoors, the FlexFlash 200W gives you a lot more options to work with than natural light alone. In the final example below, the first portrait was shot in open shade at f4 to create an ethereal bokeh effect with the natural background. However, the open shade was resulting in slightly muddy skin tones and an overall lackluster exposure. The FlexFlash 200W with an OctoDome: Small was added to the frame on the subject's right to simulate additional sunshine. The OctoDome is a good choice for this as it creates a soft, wide light that improves skin tone, color and adds a pretty catch light in the eyes. The additional light also allowed for closing the aperture down to f5.6 to create less contrast and a more balanced effect.
To take the image a step further, an additional FlexFlash 200W with a standard reflector was added behind and to the left of the subject as an accent light. The 2 lights together helped to simulate the type of lighting you find in a garden on a sunny day. If you find the accent light to be too hot, you can add a LiteDome: Small to soften the effect.
The lightweight and durable FlexFlash 200W is an invaluable tool for photographers of all genres. Paired with the Photoflex’s many lighting modifiers, the possibilities are endless. Save 25% on the FlexFlash 200W, now through July 31st. Regularly $319.95, these lights are flying out the door at $239.95 each. At this price you can’t afford not to have one or two in your kit. Call to place your order now before they are all sold out: 831.786.1370