By: Jed Davis and Aaron Moncur
One of the most frustrating things about being a portrait photographer is funky lighting conditions when you’re on location, somewhere, anywhere… Maybe it’s a semi-cloudy day with lots of light and dark spots, or maybe it’s just a super bright day and the background of all your shots are completely blown out.
Or, maybe you’re shooting inside an empty building and it’s really dark. Whatever the situations you find yourself in, there is a super simple solution to step up the lighting when you’re on location – and the great news is, you don’t need a ton of gear or even a skilled assistant to be with you. In fact, chances are you probably have at least one of the four things you’ll need.
So you know that Speedlight you have in your bag? You know, the one you only pull out when you absolutely need to, but are never really happy with the results of putting it on your camera?
Well, this Speedlight will become one of the most valuable, and useful tools in your bag. And, because it’s so light weight, you can take it with you; maybe even two, three or four! Now, to be clear, you’ll also need a wireless trigger system to remotely fire your Speedlight, (two of these, or any of the other many trigger systems out there).
Lastly, grab a modifier of your choice; we typically use a small to medium sized shoot through translucent umbrella. If you want an even smaller setup, use one of those flash diffusers that mount directly to the Speedlight itself.
Now that you’re equipped with your Speedlight and wireless trigger system, and modifier of choice, you can team it up with the Dixie Grip. Note – the Dixie Grip is currently a Kickstarter project, seeking backers to actually bring it to market!! Check out the campaign and show your support here!!
Put your Speedlight and connected receiver/transceiver on the Dixie Grip. Have someone hold it, and shoot away! Just so you can see the benefit of off-camera lighting, check out these pictures to see what a picture looks like with, and without it. (If you’re interested in a more in-depth review of using off-camera lighting, check out this post on my webpage.)
You may be saying to yourself, “well that’s great, it’s off camera lighting and now I need to pay an assistant…”. Here’s the coolest thing about shooting with the Dixie Grip setup. ANYONE can use it. We’ve had brides mothers’, daughters, kids, innocent standbyers, spouses, makeup artists, art directors – anyone that’s at that location – hold the Dixie Grip and attached light.
We got tired of carrying around (and breaking) big lighting setups that cost well over $1,000. We wanted a solution for awesome off-camera lighting that accomplished some key goals.
First, it needed to be affordable. The Dixie Grip is $60. Second, it needed to be lightweight and portable. The Dixie Grip is designed to be handheld (although it can be mounted to a lightstand).
And Lastly, it needed to be easy to use. Most of the shooting we do is fast-paced and on location. We’ve used this now in our own shooting for about three years and we LOVE it. We hope this helps you take the next step to improving your game in a direct and simple way!
Jed has been taking pictures for years. He started (with Aaron Moncur) DM Photo to help pay his way through school and has been going ever since. His favorite shoots are commercial shoots where an entire production crew is involved; seeing a project from inception, to creation, to completion is an amazing process. He has done work for several Fortune 500 companies and has been involved in the creation of both web and print material. His personal work varies between nature/landscapes, and some light composite work.
Check out their basic portfolio presentation here: www.dmphotogallery.com
Aaron has been in the product development field for close to 10 years. He has worked on projects ranging in diversity from iPhone cases to medical devices to solar power equipment.
He started his own Engineering/Design firm in 2009. Pipeline provides product design service focusing on the mechanical design of a wide variety of products, and works closely with established companies as well as individual inventors. Product renderings have come to play a significant role in effectively marketing themselves as an ID/ME design & engineering firm.