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Lighting & Studio Equipment
TOOLS + PRODUCTS I LOVE
My Favorite Brands
Strobes + Flash Triggers
I purchased the battery-powered FJ200 Strobe listed below in lieu of this FJ80 speedlight, as the FJ200 was not that much bigger than the FJ80 speedlight, and I wanted the extra power of the strobe. However, if you are in the market for a speedlight, the FJ80 is an excellent choice. An especially nice thing about the FJ80, is that it has a universal wireless flash trigger built in, so you can use this speed light as a trigger for the FJ series strobes and Canon RT devices. It is compatible across many different camera brands, and is capable of high-speed sync up to 1/8000s, as well as front and rear curtain sync.
Surprisingly powerful for its size! I really love this strobe. It is capable of high-speed sync up to 1/8000s, as well as front and rear curtain sync.
This bracket is a must-have if you purchase an FJ80 speedlight or FJ200 Strobe, and would like to attach heavier light modifiers or umbrellas.
This trigger is compatible across many different camera brands. It supports high-speed sync up to 1/8000s, and normal front and rear curtain sync, and it can be used to trigger all of the Westcott FJ series lights.
Another powerful and budget-friendly battery-powered strobe. This strobe has more juice than the FJ200. It is capable of high-speed sync up to 1/8000s, as well as TTL and rear curtain sync, and it has a really impressive 0.05 to 1.3 second recycle time.
This kit includes one FJ220 and one FJ400 strobe, an FJ-X3 M Universal Wireless Trigger, and a carrying backpack.
Amazing lens and gobo kit strobe add-on that creates very focused light with optional effects.
Great little gadget. Turns a tripod into a light stand. How many spare tripods do you have just sitting around? 🙂
Light modifiers can play to a photograph’s style just as much lens choice and camera settings do. I tend to prefer edgier light most of the time, but when I am looking to create an image with softer light I go with big round modifiers. As such, I prefer to use small round light modifiers (beauty dish) and large round modifiers (Large Octa, 43″ parabolic, and 7′ parabolic umbrellas), at the small and large end of the modifier size spectrum. I prefer rectangular modifiers in the middle, as they are very versatile, and I can position them horizontally for more wrap, or vertically for more top to bottom coverage. I also think about catch lights when selecting a light modifier. A round beauty dish creates classic round catch lights in the subject’s eyes. A rectangular modifier creates catch lights that look like the light is coming from a window. One can even place gaffer’s tape on a rectangular modifier, to create the illusion of window panes. Here are my light modifier picks:
Cinefoil is great to have around as it can be molded into non-flammable (important!) barn doors and flags. I don’t recommend taping any type of flammable material to your lights for obvious reasons – use this instead. Also great for blacking out windows.
A must have. Just Google “Gaffer Tape”.
This plate helps to eliminate softbox hot spots by diffusing the light from within the softbox. Compatible with Rapid Box Switch 1×3, 1×4, 2×3, 3×4, and Octa-M and -L modifiers.
You’ll need to purchase this insert if you use any of the Westcott Rapid Box Switch light modifiers with an FJ80 speedlight, FJ200 strobe, or any other studio light that requires a Bowens mount. (Note: The FJ400 strobe comes with this insert, so you don’t need to purchase it separately.) If you want to use the Rapid Box Switch modifiers with a non-Bowen mount strobe, Westcott makes several other types of inserts. If you have any questions about which insert you need, just give Westcott customer service a call – they are great!
The first modifier I purchased. It creates beautiful light, is versatile, and it is collapsible and easy to transport.
This Westcott Rapid Box Switch 2×3 modifier is another great first or second softbox purchase if you are on a tight budget. Consider spending the money on a softbox such as this one, and then purchase a couple of parabolic umbrellas to use as round modifiers. Umbrellas are inexpensive, and the light can be softened by bouncing the light through a diffusion cover, or by shooting through the umbrella. I often prefer the light I get from umbrellas as it is softer than that of a beauty dish, but a bit edgier than that of a softbox.
This umbrella can be used as a bounce umbrella or a shoot-through umbrella, as it features a removable black cover.
This softbox is 48″ in diameter and is very versatile. It can also be used as a large beauty dish by adding a Westcott XL Deflector Plate (sold separately.)
If you think you will purchase at least two of the 7′ Parabolic umbrellas listed below, consider purchasing this bundle. The bundle is essentially a “buy two get one free” deal.
Works great as both a strobe light modifier and a scrim in mid-day sun. Creates beautiful, diffuse light.
I prefer the Silver/Black Parabolic Umbrella to the White/Black Parabolic umbrella. But again, my style is a bit edgier, so if you like a softer light, you may prefer the white/black 7′ umbrella.
I like the Neewer light reflectors for both their quality and price. Impact and Westcott reflectors are good too, but they can be a bit more expensive. You can purchase 5-in-1 light reflectors in several different sizes and shapes, and I suggest purchasing them in matching pairs. Some of these reflectors also have handles that make them easy to hold and allow you to attach them to a light stand or tripod arm via 1/4″ screw threads.
These light modifiers are rather expensive, but they fold and are therefore quite portable given their size. They are also versatile and convenient. A nice-to-have that can be roughly reproduced for less money with foam core and gaffer tape. If you can’t bring yourself to spring for V-Flats, check with local art supply stores, sign companies, or grip equipment companies to see if they carry large pieces of black and white foam core.
BackDrops + Stands
Works great as a portable backdrop, but can also be used for fill light (white side) or negative fill (black side). Very handy.
Great backdrop paper with endless color options. For neutral gray, I like #27 Thunder Gray, but #74 Smoke Gray is the closest to 18% Gray (RGB 127-127-125). Fashion Gray #56 is a good choice for compositing in overlays during post-processing,
Pricey but amazing. These backdrops are an investment for sure, but wow!
This is a great portable backdrop stand if you are looking for something light-weight to hold your paper. For heavier backdrops, consider using two C-stands with boom arms such as the Kupo C-stand listed below.
A bit more expensive than the Impact light stand, but this stand has a really unique leg design that allows for easy setup in uneven terrain and tight spaces.
While this stand can certainly be taken on location, it is heavy and not as portable as the Impact and Savage light stands. But it is a great addition to a studio as it is on wheels and therefore can be easily moved.
This is another mini boom option. Pairs well with the Avenger Roller stand.
Kupo makes excellent light stands, and I especially like their C-stands. Use two of these C-stands together to hold heavier backdrops.