Would you invest in a mobile light studio? If so, what are the essential elements to include?

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Posted by AlexandraB
Asked on 10/10/2016 15:58
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I struggle with this. I have flashes umbrellas light stands triggers reflectors diffusers and some other light modifiers BUT I rarely use them outside of the home/studio because it’s so much of a bulk… The portability is still the weakest part. Or else I’m just too lazy to carry that stuff around ?

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Posted by Luc Moreau
Answered on 16/10/2016 22:57

Yes, portability is dififcult – I have some small reflectors (30cm diameter) which work quite well, but then I find it’s hard to position them as the subject gets distracted by having to keep their arm out at a funny angle… ?

(AlexandraB at 18/10/2016 19:51)
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Like always, it depends on the use-case and available budget.
Of course if money and space don’t play a role one could get mobile flash systems in almost any variation.
But this is not always the case and most will focus on universal use and flexibility and the overall price of the system. There are complete „home studio“ systems available on the market but sometimes it may be better to compose a system yourself.
In general you will need
light sources
light formers
stands, reflectors and background

The light sources can either be special flash-heads, standard (powerful) camera flashes or permanent lights.
If you use it often, need strong, powerful flashes, and less mobility use flash heads
Standard camera flashes provide great flexibility, can provide TTL information to the camera but don’t offer a modelling light
Permanent lightning can be an economic solution. Light modelling is easy, heat dissemination can be limited by using LED light (which is very narrow-band and does not render colours very well).

A standard studio portrait setup would consist of a combination of soft, low contrast light (soft box, umbrella) an probably grid/beauty dish for the backlight. Always consider that light reflected from ceiling and walls may influence the results
I am using Nikon Speed Lights in combination with soft-box and umbrella and one beauty-dish.
For the trigger, I use either the build-in Nikon flashes or a set of remote controls.
For the flashes/light-boxes I uses extra stands.

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Posted by claus
Answered on 12/10/2016 14:56