Freelance Photographer Cambridge - Blog | 39 - Not To Be Taken Lightly

December 08, 2017
bokeh photographic (Alistair Grant): Food & Drink Photographer; Commercial Photographer, Product Photographer & Packshot Photographer; Event Photographer; Portrait Photographer; Corporate Photographer & PR Photographer; Engagement Photographer & Wedding Photographer and Photography Training Courses in Cambridge, Huntingdon, Peterborough, Bedford, St Neots, St Ives and London. Freelance Photographer & Freelance Photography Services in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire and across the UK.    
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   Alistair Grant 

Freelance Photographer Cambridge & London

     
     

bokeh photographic: Blog No: 39

 Freelance Photographer Cambridge Blog Image | Blog 39 | Not To Be Taken Lightly (A assortment of four different types of studio strobe head for flash photography). © bokeh photographic (Alistair Grant): Freelance Photographer; Food & Drink Photographer; Commercial Photographer, Product Photographer & Packshot Photographer; Event Photographer; Portrait Photographer; Corporate Photographer & PR Photographer; Engagement Photographer & Wedding Photographer and Photography Training Courses, St Ives, Cambridge. Blog 39 – Not To Be Taken Lightly (A assortment of four different types of studio strobe head for flash photography) | bokeh photographic - Alistair Grant | Freelance Photographer in Cambridge, Huntingdon, Peterborough, Bedford, St Neots, St Ives and London. Blog 39 – Not To Be Taken Lightly (A assortment of four different types of studio strobe head for flash photography) by Alistair Grant. Food & Drink Photography; Commercial Photography, Product Photography & Packshot Photography; Event Photography; Portrait Photography; Corporate Photography & PR Photography; Engagement Photography & Wedding Photography and Photography Training Courses in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire and across the UK.

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Not To Be Taken Lightly

Whilst almost everyone is surely aware that decent equipment is important, a perhaps lesser known truism is making sure you select the most appropriate decent equipment for the job. For instance, from a photography viewpoint opting for a 16mm wide-angle lens would prove disappointing if shooting head & shoulders portraits because the lens perspective is different to how we see and so facial features would appear enlarged and distorted. Conversely, a 400mm telephoto lens would be a poor choice when photographing a landscape if the aim is to capture the expansiveness of the scene. What’s perhaps not so obvious is that similar decisions also often have to be taken when selecting a strobe (i.e. a studio flash unit). It’s important to emphasise I’m not talking about add-on modifiers such as umbrellas but the performance of different flash heads. Excluding Speedlites (low power battery flash) I own four different sets of heads. Although all are ‘studio strobes’ their attributes differ greatly. Knowledge of this allows me to pick the right strobe(s) for whatever job I have in hand including whether flash is to be used as a key (main), accent (highlight) or as a fill light to lift the shadow areas.

Although the different power output of the various strobes would seem to be the most important characteristic this attribute alone is of limited value. An arguably equally important feature is the ability to adjust power intensity. This needs to be broken down into not just the highest absolute power value a strobe can achieve (NB: I have often written about how we are seduced into buying the most powerful strobe we can afford only to then reduce output by placing ‘mods’ in front of the flash bulb) but also the lowest power in addition to the degrees of adjustment between these values. A large number of increments is better than a small number as this allows ‘fine-tuning’ of an exposure. Other factors that may need to be taken into consideration are the availability of a power source (I have high-power battery strobes for situations where I can’t ‘plug-in’), the ability to freeze very fast action (for which I use high-speed flash) and circumstances where old style flash tubes that can get very hot cannot be used; thankfully, not an issue for me as all my kit is fan-cooled.

Is there such a thing as too powerful a strobe? Yes - although it obviously depends upon the photographic scenario. A higher power strobe generates a greater output. Output is measured in watt seconds; the maximum power that can be outputted in 1 second. You are already familiar with this classification in terms of the 60W bulb in your living room. The very highest power strobe units are rated at over 1000W. Where this might be fine for photographing a very big group in a very large and very poorly lit room this intensity will be far too great for most situations. Moreover, high power strobes limit the aperture that can be used and this causes issues when a photographer wants to shoot ‘wide open’ at say f/1.8 to create a shallow depth of field. My highest power strobes are 800W and even in the lowest ambient light I typically use them at only half-power due to invoking the unique way in which shutter speed can be used to control ambient light which subsequently confers the benefit of fast recycle times. When I am faced with a compact lighting scenario, say when shooting Food & Drink Photography or Product Photography, I generally opt for my 300W heads or even a 200W head to avoid having to close down the lens to a higher f/stop so allowing me to work at my preferred aperture for creative depth of field. Alternatively, I’ll pack my high speed flash which also offers the advantage of powering down to a little over 3W. And if I’m not sure what the job entails I’ll simply turn up with everything!

   
     

Call Alistair Grant on 07775 365507, Email alistair.grant@bokehphotographic.co.uk or click Booking Enquiries if you have any questions or would like to make a booking.

   
     

bokeh: "the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens"


Freelance Photographer offering Food & Drink Photography Cambridge; Commercial Photography Cambridge, Product Photography Cambridge & Packshot Photography Cambridge; Event Photography Cambridge; Portrait Photography Cambridge; Corporate Photography Cambridge & PR Photography Cambridge; Engagement Photography Cambridge & Wedding Photography Cambridge and Photography Training Courses in Cambridge. Also covering: Huntingdon, St. Ives, Ramsey, St. Neots, Peterborough, Bedford, Stamford, Newmarket, Sawtry, Alconbury Weston, Brampton, Hartford, Warboys, Houghton, Wyton, Godmanchester, Hilton, Hemingford Grey, Hemingford Abbots, Fenstanton, Whittesley, Yaxley, Needingworth, Somersham, Chatteris, Ely, Bar Hill, Grafham and Buckden.

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bokeh photographic - Alistair Grant | Freelance Photographer | Cambridge, London, UK

Food & Drink Photography | Commercial Photography & Product Photography | Corporate Photography & PR Photography | Portrait Photography (inc. 'Active Portraiture') | Event Photography | Wedding Photography | Photography Training Courses & Camera Tuition

Tel: 07775 365507 | Email: alistair.grant@bokehphotographic.co.uk