Gear, Gadgets, and Goodies!

If you saw my 3-day Lightweight Location Lighting course on creativeLIVE, you may be interested in the lighting gear I used for those shoots. Here's a list of the main gear I used and why.

Lightweight Location Lighting Tools

This is my current list of favorite lightweight location lighting tools for photography. It changes and grows as I discover and test new items, and this is not a complete list of everything I have - but the things I find most essential and use most often. This would be a great starter kit for someone looking for easy to carry and affordable lighting tools for portrait and editorial lighting projects.

Each item is hotlinked to the product page on B&H Photo or the manufacturers website, where applicable. 

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Flash Systems

  • Nikon SB910 speedlights
  • Sigma speedlights for Nikon and Canon. If you are on a budget, they have the same power as top of the line Nikon and Canon speedlights. (I haven't yet tested these, but will update as soon as I do)
  • Impact LiteTrek battery powered strobe. Powerful, fast recycling, light weight, and adaptable to many studio strobe light modifiers. The battery pack can also be used to boost your Nikon or Canon speedlights. You won't have
  • Scott Robert Strobie 130 speedlights. These are great for add-on lights in multiple light setups. They have a bit less power and features than the dedicated Nikon or Canon top line strobes, but cost a lot less. Great if you only need manual flash.

Light Modifiers

  • Photoflex LitePanel kit Get this high-quality kit or build your own following my D.I.Y. tips in the creativeLIVE video
  • Photoflex Octodome - small (also will need a speedring, as below) I love this modifier. It creates soft yet directional light and allows a plethora of speedlight mounting options with the add-ons below and my D.I.Y. tricks.
  • Photoflex Octodome speedring (for speedlight use in Octodomes. Also need the bracket below)
  • Photoflex Octodome speedlight bracket kit (order 2 if you want a double flash setup - some modifications are required)
  • Photoflex 5-in-1 LiteDisc 42" My desert island pick. If I could only have ONE light modifier...
  • Lastolite Ezybox another very nice light modifier that sets up quickly and creates beautiful light. Buy the mask kit (which also fits the Quikbox below) and remove the inner baffle and you have a beauty dish too!
  • Impact Quikbox 24x24" (similar to Ezybox but kit comes with lightstand and angle bracket for same price)
  • Lastolite Ezybox mask kit. Create strip box or beauty dish looks by adding these to your Ezybox or Quikbox.
  • RogueGrid I don't leave home without it. Packs flat and has many options for versatile snoot or grid modifying of speedlights
  • Rogue FlashBenders
  • Sticky Filter colored gels I use these constantly to match light colors or create mood and drama. One of the simplist and most effective lighting tools around.

Stands and holders

  • GorillaPod Great for holding speedlights just about anywhere! Add a mini ball head as below for easy angle adjustment
  • Cullman CB 2.7 mini ball head with flash shoe (for use with Gorilla Pod or other holders)
  • Lastolite extension pole If you have an assistant, get that light where it needs to be quickly by putting it on a pole rather than a static light stand.
  • CheetahStand automatic opening mid-weight light stand. Just lift to collapse the legs and set it down to expand them, no screwing around.
  • Lastolite TriFlash Sync for mounting and triggering 3 speedlights at once. If you use PocketWizard, see also my trick below for using a headphone splitter for connecting multiple strobes to one PocketWizard receiver.
  • Dotline Triple Flash Shoe with sync (a cheaper alternative to the TriFlash Sync if your needs are simpler)

Flash triggering systems

Misc Accessories & Gadgets

  • Singh Ray Vari-ND thin mount neutral density filter that adjusts from 2-8 f-stops of light reduction. This is invaluable when you want to shoot in bright light with wide apertures for shallow depth of field. Also allows reducing the shutter speed to 1/250th so studio strobes can flash sync and where speedlights will output the most flash power.
  • headphone splitter for syncing 2 or more flashes with one transceiver (buy these anywhere they sell headphone accessories)
  • 3.5mm to locking PC sync cable (awesome for use with PocketWizards and speedlights!)
  • LED video light. This is a nice video light that is very useful for photo lighting as well. I placed this in the back of my Octodome for simple, beautiful lighting in lower abient light situations. It lights the Octodome very evenly. Strap it to the speedring with a small bungee or velcro strap.
  • LED flashlight This was a very popular item from my workshop! It's amazingly bright, even, adjustable, and cheap! $17 buys you a great lighting tool to throw in any bag.