Experimenting with Different Lighting Tools

Yesterday I talked about my experiment with different lighting tools for creating dramatic portraits, but today I’m going to exam the photos and talk about what I took away from it. If you’re new to photography, looking to upgrade your gear, or have a bunch of flashes already, you can probably get something from this as well.

Before I even started, I had some ideas about what the results would be. I figured the Nikon would have the least amount of power while the Hensel/Profoto would have the most. I also assumed that the softboxes would produce the nicest light with the bare Qflash looking the hardest.

For the tests, I did one shoot inside on a white backdrop and one outside. With the inside shot, I could see what kind of shadows were created and I figured this is where the smallest flashes would be able to work. With the outside shots, I mainly wanted to see if the flashes could overpower the sun. For that shot, I only tested the Profoto and White Lightning.

Please forgive the nastiness of the photos. I didn’t have any better model than myself and I really just stared at the camera. I also just set the timer and ran, so I had to guess on the focus. It was more about the power and overall looks than the subject.

For the inside photos, the camera was set to _____ and _____. Here’s what I noticed. With the Nikon Sb-910 and Qflash with the umbrella, the lowest power was way underexposed but the full power flash worked well. With the White Lightning and the Profoto, the low power was close to as strong as the full power of the Nikon and Qflash. The only weird thing was with the White Lightning on low power with the soft box and the Profoto with umbrella on low. It was black. I’m guessing I screwed up something because I doubt it would be that dark.

Nikon umb low

Nikon Low Power with umbrella

nikon umb full

 

Nikon full power with umbrella

qflash umb low

 

Qflash low power with umbrella

 

 

qflash umb full

 

Qflash full power with umbrella

White umb low

White Lightning low power with umbrella

White umb full

 

White Lightning full power with umbrella

White softbox low

White Lightning low power with soft box

White softbox full

 

White Lightning full power with softbox

Profoto umb low

Profoto low power with umbrella

Profoto umb full

Profoto full power with umbrella

Profoto softbox in low

Profoto low power with soft box

Profoto softbox in half

Profoto medium power with soft box

Profoto softbox in full

 

Profoto full power with softbox

When I went outside, I set the camera to ______ and _______. I only tested the White Lighting and the Profoto with the soft boxes and at medium and full power and the Qflash with its reflector at full power. With both, the medium power was close enough to bring in the sky, while the full power was overexposed. The flash was a little bit stronger than the others at medium power.

Whte L softbox half

White Lightning medium power with soft box

White L softbox full

 

White Lightning full power with softbox

Profoto softbox half

Profoto medium power with soft box

Profoto softbox full

 

Profoto full power with soft box

qflash bare

Qflash full power bare

The results were pretty surprising. The power differences were as I expected. The two big flashes had much more power than the small flashes. The one thing that surprised me is that the Qflash was close to the same power when I didn’t use a diffuser. As far as quality of light, I didn’t notice that much difference between the modifiers. That might have had something to do with the exposures being off. The one difference I saw was the bare Qflash was harsher, but that’s to be expected.

The overall take away from this is that in a tough spot, I could use the Qflash. It’s light, powerful, recycles fast, and has decent light quality. If I had the perfect world, I would go with the White Lightning or the Profoto. They have more power, but the soft boxes are a pain to setup and move and the power supplies are heavy. For weddings or other shoots on a timeline, I’m going to go with the Qflash. For bridals or other shorter sessions, I’m leaning toward the Profoto with its higher power. This is what I’m thinking right now. I’ll try this out for this wedding season. If things don’t work out, I’ll try something new, and update my findings.

 

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