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Demo: Octas

Lesson 11 from: Introduction to Using Multiple Flashes

Mike Hagen

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Lesson Info

11. Demo: Octas

Next Lesson: Demo: Reflectors

Lesson Info

Demo: Octas

So let's talk now about Octas, OctaBoxes. Alright, where is my Octa? Here's a little, here's an Octa. (clears throat) Okay, Octa. As in, Octagonal Softbox. Okay I'll pull this over so you can see it, too. Octagonal Softbox. Sorry, microphone people. Pull off the grid. We're gonna talk about grids later today. So, octagonal shape. Why this versus just rectangular, just a typical Softbox? Well, it's just a slightly different look. Photographers, we're all about those catch lights, we're all about fine-tuning the light over all. These just kind of simulate almost a, an umbrella, round catch light, but, they don't have the ribs that you get with a lot of umbrella photographs. Anyone who's shot with umbrellas in the past, you can see in the catch lights, you actually see this kind of spider ribs in the eyes. This, will just give you a nice, clean white surface. Softboxes are not cheap. Again, I'm using ProPhoto. This is a three-foot Octa. This is a three-foot diameter. Typically, I recommen...

d minimum three feet and up to four or five feet, but once you start to get a five or six foot octa, you're in the 500 dollar range, very quickly. I think this is probably, I'm gonna guess $200, $250, somewhere in that range. So, I love them. They also work great. You can really control where the light is coming from. It's just a different look; a different feel. A lot of times what we'll do is we'll use maybe and octa as the key light and then a softbox as the fill. So the octa kinda gives you that nice catch light and gives you the overall look and then the rectangular one fills in the shadows. Or vice versa, you know. Knock yourself out, whatever you like. You can see here the same general set up. I've got my speed light, speed ring, and then I've got this is called an umbrella bracket and then I've got the standard light stand. And this a heavier duty light stand. Most of the time when I'm using the softboxes, I use a really heavy duty aluminum light stand or I use a C stand and I'll pull the C stands out in a little while too. So shall we take a photo? Let's take a photo. You mind being our model again? That is so nice of you. Thank you. This is pretty much going to give the same look and we probably won't have to change the power much at all. So grab my flash. And as I'm setting this up, I just wanna make a point. You do this enough times in manual flash mode, you can pretty much just set it, no matter where you are in the world at the same settings. This is one of the things that over the years I've learned that oh yeah ISO 2, ISO 400, F56, one-sixteenth power in a softbox. Take the picture, great. You can almost, you notice that I'm not doing a lot of back and forth in my exposures when I'm looking at em in light room. I'm almost always there almost in the first or second guess. So manual doesn't have to be scary. Manual can be really easy. Alright, let's check. We're connected. Life is good. Softbox photo, again ISO 400, I'm at F56, I'm at a 250 of a second and I'm at a sixteenth minus two-thirds. And for this one I'm gonna have you maybe turn your body this way just a little bit. Yep, looking a little bit more into that and I'll have you take one photo looking at the camera. Great, and then another photo kinda looking at that umbrella, so the first one at the camera. One, two, three. And then the next one, no actually how bout, why don't you look at the edge of the softbox. Great. Okay, just to get a different look. Oh you can see I got a little bit of the softbox in the upper right hand corner. That happens. Super, so there's the one with her looking straight at the camera. Here's one just looking away a little bit. And I'm gonna zoom in real tight. On your eye, okay? Just to see the catch light. As this loads, this is a big 36 mega pixel file so it's gonna take just a second to load. There we go; looks like I missed focus just a little bit. You can see I focused on her ear. Amateur; amateur Mike. But we get a feel for what that looks like. We get a feel for that catch light. That's great, in fact it's bothering me just enough that I have to shoot it again. You know if I was shooting this professionally and she was a client, that photo right there would not pass because it's not in focus, so let me do that again. Here we go. One, two, three. Great. Gotta do it right. And the fact that I'm wireless means that I can move these lights all around the stage and I'm not tripping over everything so that's cool. Okay cool, that's nice. Nice catch light, more better this time. Hopefully I got you in focus. Oh yeah, nailed it. You get a feel for that catch light. You can see, oh this goes back to the question that was just asked on the internet about that interior diffusion panel inside. Well these octaboxes also have an interior diffusion panel. And what that does, is it prevents that little plus pattern; see that start pattern in there? You know what that's from? That's from the single point source of light from the speed light. If I had the interior diffusion panel inside of the softbox, it'll be clean, white surface. I don't know, what'd you think? Is it significant, is it not? Sometimes we get all too pent up, you know, all nervous about these little details, but in high end fashion and portraiture it does matter, so. There is the octa. Cool? Question on octa? Kenna. Just a quick question from Jeff Robinson who noticed that the speed light head, wasn't exactly in the center of the octabox; does it need to be? Does that matter? Yeah, I was gonna say something about this earlier, but I didn't so thanks for asking the question. I'll pull this out so you all can see. So how am I triggering this here? Well I've got the little, the little radio trigger underneath it and then I have the flash on top of that. Well typically if all you do is mount the flash, by itself, well it's basically centered, not exactly, but close enough right? Now when I add another what's that about an inch? Maybe an inch and a quarter? Well that moves the flash up. That's one of the prices you pay, so there's no easy answer here. One possibility these radio triggers have what's called a PC port. PC, positive connection, that's what it stands for, PC. So if you get a PC cable and when you buy these they actually come with PC cables, you can screw it in there and then you can screw the other end of the PC cable into there one the flash and then what you can do is you just let this thing dangle down or my best friend gaff tape, you can gaff tape it to the side, something like that. And then it's actually centered. The bigger question is does it matter? Not so much. Ideally you would have it exactly in the middle. In fact, a lot of umbrella photographers buy specific umbrella stands that make the flash go, kinda like this right in line with the shaft. And that's a really good thing to do because then it centers the flash, so. I mean you saw the photo. It's not a terrible photo. And the flash isn't exactly centered, so. And if you diffuse it that helps things out even more. Thank you. Super question. So if I want more power, through this circle, how do I push another flash light in there? It looks like the different set ups that you've shown before, wouldn't work here. Yeah I love that question too. Let me show that real quick. So we talked bout gaff tape and gaff tape matters. Oh is my gaff tape gone? It's gone, okay no worries. All just make it up; oh you got it. We'll use that, perfect. So gaff tape is a photographer's best friend and there's a company called Pro Gaff and that's where I buy all my gaff tape. There's a bunch of different types of gaff tape, but I think Pro Gaff makes the best. They make it in white and black and all different colors and the idea with gaff tape is that it doesn't leave a residue after you take it off like Duck Tape would. So basically what I'm gonna do here, is I'm just gonna find a way to get this whole thing to work together right? So, it's obviously not gonna work like that and I don't have my PC cable, so what can I do? Well, what if I just pull this thing out? Like that and I put this thing in there like this. Right? And I put another radio trigger here on the bottom. Put it in there and then I just gaff the whole thing together or maybe just gaff it down on top of that. Great. I do this all the time. You don't have to have an actual connection point as long as this stuff is in there fairly solid. If you're trying to impress a million dollar client, don't use gaff tape on set, but you know if you're just shooting in your garage, well this works just fine. So does that answer your question? Improvise. Yeah, improvise. Exactly right.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Gear List

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Multiple Flash Lighting Diagrams
Keynote Presentation

Ratings and Reviews

Marty Walker

This is really a fantastic class and at an even fantastic-er price. Well worth the money, and is a great help. The instructor does a very good job explaining the methods, light shapers, and effects they create. One of my favorite videos!

Jeph DeLorme

Mike Hagen does a great job of presenting what could be a complicated process in a way that makes it easy to understand and implement. Not only does he make it easy to follow along, he presents alternative solutions that don't break the budget. I have viewed several instructors and various classes at Creative Live and this would definitely be one of my favorites. I have to say, this class would be a bargain at 10x the price!

Tim Stapenhurst

What can I say about this class? Mike is great- not only does he give a thorough break down of all the equipment one could need but he also includes wide variety of price options for those just getting started. Aside from his thorough knowledge of gear, Mike provides an excellent and easy to follow bread down of how to build up the light for your subject. His lesson plan is super easy to follow and very concise as he slowly builds up from using 2 lights to 5 lights. He also demonstrate what I think is a much needed trait in a photographer and that is being cool under pressure, dealing with issues and not getting rattled and simply going back to the basics. Creative Live Nailed it with this class

Student Work