Mixing Speedlights and Studio Strobes


Quick Location Lighting


Lesson Info

Mixing Speedlights and Studio Strobes

Let me tell you a bit about mixing speed lights and studio strobes. If you were going to do that, he speed lights must let me rephrase. That must be on manual. And the reason is that the way a speed light works on tl is it fires a pre flash. Okay, what will happen is if you're dina lights air slaved in or your studio strobes have slaved in when the pre fash fires, it will dump the charge on the studio strobes. And you won't have any power, eh, smilla? Second later, when you take the picture so that is of extreme importance. It's gotta be on manual. What I want to do right now is actually show you the operation of ah, dinah light pack and for my and this is my, uh, choices in studio strobes. My oldest pack. I'll just start with the pack for the moment. My oldest pack is about thirty three years old, and it still works. This is the new one. This is an eight hundred watts second pack and you can see it's incredibly heavy. Okay, you can't do that with my own pack should break your hand doi...

ng it, but this is so this is an eight hundred watt second power pack, so your speed lights runs depending on which ones sixty two roughly seventy five watt seconds okay this is eight hundred I can plug ahead into this thing said it at half power and just keep shooting all day and if by some chance I over I managed to get ahead of it you can't go don't repeatedly but it actually has a circuit breaker right here so let me go over your operation of this unit so here we only have groups a and b we all remembered our groups I have a switch here that says combine a ratio if I put this on full power full power and combine and I only played one hand and I have eight hundred watt seconds it is rare for the kind of work I do but every need anywhere near that much power if I go ratio is one head here in one head here I might put one on full power and one on half power I've got a one stop difference okay alright can control them independently I've gotta have phone quarter let's say that the thing is appearing to give me way too much power which happens for me well I come to this power vary ater I could turn the entire pack down two stops what I get out of this is I can use big light sources I could make really soft light and I could just keep going and going and going so couple of other features of the unit we have a switch here that's the beep I turned that off I hate anything that beeps it just distracts me then it was e of your power switch thes sliders thes your model lights so if I'm working in a darkened room and I have one head on full power and one head on quarter power why just set the modeling lights now I see what my light's going to look like I can see what my life is spilling okay also I've got a switch here that has to do with how we're firing him so I can plug it in with the same court which I never do I can let say I got my speed light on a camera or a speed light somewhere else and I want to use a speed like to fire this or another pack has a built in optical slave and then the fun part my pocket wizard right there the pocket was it is built into the pack so let's, go ahead and put some stuff together k go on remember I said, look, I can use and I'm going to use actually in a moment my same soft box it's over there so we're going to show you this and then we're going to show you the other kind is this one my head or is this the one they just said that so cook so when I got this I got this one maybe a year and a half two years ago was the first time I bought a new power pack in fifteen years andi I just mainly got it because of the weight so I'm gonna run up to four heads off but I never do who do we have that do we bring that cool little clamp? This is a great idea, you know, normally people put their power packs on the ground with this she's going to find the clam force this you can clamp right on the stand when I asked the guys who make these why did it take you someone to think with the guys that I had a way to like a tool to keep bending down to change the power back? The approximate cost approximate cost a normal cost on roughly on an eight hundred watt second pack and two heads in a kit with a case and I'll throw in a couple of those little light stands eyes about twenty four hundred dollars is the normal cost. You know, a couple of things about these as opposed to other strobe systems should have a ah flash tube need replacing pull this up and put another one in you don't have to send it back you have to bulbs in here so you have a model light in the middle which is really a tungsten light bulb and you have the flash tube if you ever have to change a model light or a flash tube, do not touch the do not touch it with your bare hands. Okay? You want to hold it in a piece of paper? The oils in your fingers will actually cut the life of the ball. Now I tell you, I have you know, when I shot film every two years I would change the balls. I would change the plastic every two years when I would go out and buy a pile of these things. Well, now I just do a custom white balance, get it all set up into a custom white balance and I'm there, which I'm sure you know, the guys who make the flash tubes are unhappy about and it's amazing how long this stuff last these air action. This is kind of the only set we have not beaten death. Most of the heads we ever completely beat up. We're doing a shoot not too long ago in the studio and I was adjusting a hairline like they have no idea how is successfully drop kit, but I dropped, I was on a ladder, I dropped the hairline lights on the floor in the studio is marble and the thing came crashing down and the only thing that happened was I had another dent in the head not a day and I had another one on we broke the modeling and then I don't think I ever replaced the model ate the thing works great so what do you got for me k go yeah actually that's cool I'll take that because I kind of neglected tio just quickly run go over run over go over how simple it is to actually set up a soft blacks for anybody who's never done this ok what I tell people ok so I'm going to use this soft box I'm just going to switch the ring so I can put it on a dynamite okay so what I tell people is we're on a rug you can lean on if you're outside put it on your foot to protect it it's like that and get it exactly opposite you give it a tug that'll release the pressure yes there's some physics and here so we're just going to pull this guy apart and we're going to switch rings and we're gonna put it right on there well just set this over here somewhere out of the way this particular ring that I have in my hand this will handle this kind of soft box this ring will handle the beauty dish so if I buy the beauty dish and I buy it for a speed light and then I decide I want to use it with my soft boxes well it's the same ring so a lot of this stuff is into change so again I'm going to get to the fourth one on I'm going to just lean on it that's it I'm just going to set this guy here is oh sorry there's a ridge here on we just want to tighten it over the rich that's all there is to now with the speed lights I have to decide ahead of time if I want it vertically or horizontally all right with the studio strobes aiken just spin it so let's get all this running so I even get power cool I've got power all right so we're going to see how much we can quickly get done here okay so now I should be able to turn this on I'm kind of on the wrong side of the set here whips so I can now go toe bigger light sources ondas my model light so the beauty of course is I know what I'm doing on let's see if we can get our pocket wizards toe work so the key to this is I hear I just grabbed a I would just grab a aa plus three bye and do with any of them so I turned the pocket was yours on and come over to the pack and I turned the pack on and then there's going to be a test button and I'm gonna hold this until it fire us honest I am set on radio no it's not on radio I'm a terrible assistant let's try this again shall we go so now sorry for those yuan blasting I'll turn it this way here I blast all of us instead okay anybody look about putting what my power is my power is on four hundred watt seconds now everything else we were doing before was t l remember we didn't need a light meter well at this point we either need a light meter ok or we need to we could use our screening so guess I use light meters I primarily use iconix have forever they they work fine I don't think we really have time to make this into a light meter reading class so we'll get this set up in a minute but let me see so I'm gonna know I could use this pocket with your two so for those you deciding well I really want t l but do I want this one? Well let's see I can make this one work so I'm gonna pull this guy off turn that pack off again turn this on so you find signal find signal come on to sing on turn it on ricky it works way more better there we go now okay, so it's the same equipment so you don't have to go out by eight different sets you buy what's gonna work for you um all right so miss kay go what are we doing we're going tow put together quick said here oh look we've made a pattern so that's what we've decided so now what we need to do is suspend this in front of a light now what I'm going to do now that I showed you how to set this up I'm actually going to pull this off and I'm going to go toe a grid spot remember how we were working to control it with the soft box well let's just make our main lighting grid and let's take a pattern and throw it on the wall thank you just happen to have agreed handy wow thanks so the work take a look at this grid this is one of my own personal ones obviously it's brandon right looks like it's been dropped about twenty two times so what I am going to do with this we actually got a couple of pieces here so this is the great holder on dh pop their credo thes air standard seven inch grids you just uh go buy them you don't have to buy the brand that's compatible with your kind of light so this is just a a bigger version of the road grid so I might put this like this and this is going to narrow the beam out this is going to narrow the beam out a little more the reason I want to use this is it's going to give it a little more room to breathe there's a fair amount of heat being generated now with virtually every brand of studio stroke maybe except this one you have to turn them off when you pull the cables. All right? I tell everybody to do it with this one too because you learn on this one and then you go to a friend's studio I'll get that for you sometimes not to get so I tell everyone to do that no let's say I want to soften out this light so I'm gonna turn this model light off here I'm gonna pull this soft box uh you ready to get that piece the background piece done so just, um this just screws in way to go that's perfect. Just carefully put that away. Alex good. Now we're going to take this now all of a sudden my beam of light narrow way down so I'm gonna do this put this in and then I'm going to grab my roll of tape she's right here on dh we're gonna put a little softening in front of this already raid the city foot that have spun out of that now there's a piece that timespan on again we used the precise technique of mounting it well it's pretty good yah whoops a daisy all right, so now let's uh let's say we're going to go back to using this wall here, but don't let me forget to quickly show this one too already. So do you want to set the backlight, please? Go. Go. Thank you. Where you're getting that set up? I want to show you this one. Okay, so this particular unit here, this is the power supply and that's the head. Okay, this particular unit here, this is if plugged in. This is a four hundred watts second unit. This is called the uni. However, don't drop it quite so often, rick. Okay, so the thing I like about this all right, is this is the whole unit. This is the power supply and the strobe unit. So if I were to take whatever I just pulled apart, can I have that soft box behind you, please? Thank you very much. Let's say I get an assignment. I need to go shoot some people on a beach. All right, well, when it's midday and I want some really nice soft light on the speed lights, you kind of have gone beyond what your speed lights can do, but I want to be on the beach. So what I'm gonna do is I'm going to set my soft blocks up here and I'm gonna have my assistant hold this I'm gonna take this one there's no built in pocket with it so I'm gonna have to plug the pocket was it in here but what I'm going to do is I'm going to take I need my battery or the battery for did you put it over here that's why I can't find it it's right next to me so now if I take this now this battery, by the way is called a jackrabbit I can actually go ahead and plug my speed lights into this but I want it but I want a lot of power and get him to recycle there are numerous variations on this what the purpose what I like about this one is this powers this come into my little think tank bag of tricks which is actually this is the think tank water bottle holder and I you know, think tanks great, whatever you buy from think tank it comes with rain gear so if you buy one of these camera bags like the one they gave what will be a rain cover that will be in it. What I thought was funny is when you got the water bottle holder it came with rain gear because you don't want your water bottle getting wet so I'm just gonna take this guy here and plug this in and I'm gonna plug this in here now it drops it down to three hundred twenty okay? And I no longer have the model life because you don't want to use the power but I'll get about one hundred forty hundred forty full powers pops out of the city I can walk down the beach with I can go anywhere take it outside, set it up so it's gonna build in slave unit on and it's a great little unit can I throw it my camera bag I can throw it in the think tank bag that I roll on the plane I have done that you should see the looks you get from say when you get on the plane and this is in your luggage you get to meet the nicest security guys for an extended period of time and it's sort of funny you know, when I do this you know, when its occasional carried on the plains inevitably there's some guy comes over I love here saying all right, they come over, they just want to chat like they're your buddies it's like I've been doing this a while I know I'm being profiled, I got I got but anyway, we had a nice chat on the way up here so anyway, so this is a possibility also on this thing should be raring to go unlike any stronger when you look at it, it isthe so let's quickly show you how this one works off a battery or we can plug it in so we can mix a ll these different units so and then guess who gets to model good guess lips all right and this is kind of cool but thiss doesn't actually come with the pocket wizard but this thing's like about ten bucks and you can hang your pocket wizard actually on the light stand as opposed the way I usually do which is just sort of dangle the cable so this is going to plug in here this is going to plug in here and let's see we gonna turn this gay on? Not if I mention these things of thirty two channels but they have to be on the same channel so this is like such pressure so much more I want to share with you I think the battery's dead in that one fortunately I whips got a few of them let's just drop it riding that looks good turn off groupings on plug this guy in we're not gonna worry about mounting that thing will do what I usually do which is just that alex good looking to the light she actually did it. What is wrong with you girl? Okay, so miss, can you get me a light meter cool, cool cocoa okay, so I'm gonna take this right I need that boom arm that we were using to hold a flex ville so what I'm going to quickly do is try to make that wall pattern that's my goal I've got a couple of goals in our couple of minutes that's exactly. I don't care what anyone you want great. What I need to do is I need to hold this further out from the light that were gonna put a light right here and then we're gonna put that one with the great on you and they want to make you look just like the scientists behind you and this you know, my world this is pretty ria world were good time constraints we still got to do it. Good lens coming up the guy's gone, I got to go to a meeting and I'm thinking, no, you don't he's going yes, I d'oh so and yet we still want to do something on dh you know, we could walk in and just quickly blast the picture and leave I mean, I have had the comment will I just had somebody here from x y z publication they were only here ten minutes. Well, how was the picture? Well, I actually know that quite often that they bring that up, please, that they liked them because they call back and say, can we buy them, andi, I mean, it's instant we we do some work for some of the you know, we got a couple of minor universities in boston on we do work for several of them, and they have those universities have staff photographers and they still a very nice and willing to pay the money to have us come over and play with their toys already do this for not way. God, that looks about right. When we get in the habit of spreading the legs on your light stands as much as you can. There gonna be a lot more stable. And now the goal here is you were going to be further away from the wall. This's gonna be about here. You're going to set that with a gel on it. We need to gel on this one. I'm going to light you. This was for demonstration purposes. So this is out for the moment, but I think we may need it for something else in a moment. Turn that off. All ready. So you're gonna make that blue this's her light, we went to the kitchen, get a blue light let's, turn this on my life. Dune that's looking about right? Look, now you can see sort of what I'm doing. I mean, it's, you know, you probably wouldn't have a whole lot of tv lights on you when you're doing this. So we can do this let's take a look what's happening in our wall do we need to go bo this off let's take a look at our wall and see it's a little hard in this life but or you can see the shadows they look at the wall right so even though this is a grid if I want that wall to go dark I still have to do this so let's do that or not what am I looking for? I'm looking for something to hold this we could conscripts one of the students to go hold that I'm sure they'd be willing to help out you think so cool stronger you doesn't weigh anything don't worry about it so the idea look at the wall please and watch the wall and that's looking pretty good so we're going to quickly we're going to start here I saw you with a light meter a moment ago keiko you do cool I'll take the four seventy eight so I promise there is not enough time to go into this light meter list you say if you're in the light meat is this is the coolest lightning that they've come up with this will read pocket with just a read ambient that's a read sini thisa calibrate your camera you this you will not learn in twenty minutes so it see that looks good on you won't be there quickly set our s o put two hundred on let me see here so we're going off that therefore what your eyes let's see hey that worked quickly get a meter reading now generally when I do a meter reading well that's cool kay go so I'm going to fire this keiko so try not to be to blinded so I'm gonna take this on dh my partner was here on top of my camera and I'm just going to pop this well I think I got too much light like way too much light whoa what is this thing set on bring that pack up here it's hiding I can't reach it running cable to okay so the first thing I'm going to do by the way this thing ready f sixteen and actually eight tenths so basically red twenty two so I'm going to like knock this not a couple stops out of it and I'm going to drop this down the quarterpipe remember I said I actually don't really need most the power out of this thing pretty much the case so no whips thank you oh no did I break it? No but try harder ric alex better so now we're down a f ate so we're not a couple stops off and what called let's put something in there I guess we're going yellow in the background yeah, something more intense now what's happening if you take a look at the pattern that keiko's created all right the only place it's going to show up is when you see the openings so we put a blue in there I think it'll be much more visible and then I'm sorry I'm gonna turn you a little bit this way like that cry let's just have a look at our life yeah there we go that's looking good you're gonna turn yourself a little like this and then if somebody could hold the zebra fish from the background to be great yeah you ready to go back there miss kay go we're going to free the light back here yeah that's very good I like that I might have actually reading it way more bright good see what's happened you evermore intense blue yeah save even more intense it's always good when you only have a couple of minutes to come up with a complex picture so I'm just gonna shoot a quick test to see what the heck were you doing a few hours to look towards me please thank you let's say we guarantee nothing on this oh all right we need a little more work but we're not terribly off which have you turn a little bit towards the light let's see what we're getting yeah so it's bringing in a little bit tighter okay and let's bring ah flex fell into this side please fill adela bit on this side see we're going to do here it's nice um that's pretty nice now we can adjust that pattern in the background. All right, bye. Squeeze around you please. So if we have it it's kind of hard to see in this light so can you see it all? Keiko is I'm doing this no, I'm just I want you to look at the pattern from camera. Does that look? Is that better or worse it's like an eye test? Better or worse, better or worse, I feel like I feel terrible. We should be what? We hang that on something you want to? You sure not if you keep staring at these lights, you won't say it's kind of like I said normally would be in a dark space would be able to see what we were doing. That's good. Now we have all these tv lights let's try it again. Here we go. We're little experimenting flex fills in the background. Keiko, please. Thank you. Whoa! We lost the gel, but at least we know what our patterns doing. Sure, if you don't mind, you want someone tape pick tape keiko so the idea on the flex will actually seo it's darkening I deliver to want to kind of come in here, okay, but we don't want to kick light onto the wall quick light on her face, but not on the wall all right, so I'm going to play with this for a couple of minutes and then I am going to throw a challenge out to this group because one of the things that we tend to do and we do real workshops is we do something we call silly group photograph now normally I challenged people a day before we have ten minutes we're going to shoot this picture that's our background quick think up a new idea for a group picture we can if we can do within ten minutes and you know what I really could use believe it not that I don't have with me so plain old tripod I'm sure that someone confined I'm sure they're asking I'm sure there must be a tripod once again I've tried to come up with a really good challenge here come to me ready all right we're looking good. I have a challenge for you okay. Ready it's ready? Go so let's pull this back completely when I say go you're gonna flip your hair and you and I are going to try to have time try teo you out you don't even have a still tripod do I don't know ready go see if we caught it let's take our backlight and pull it back a little more you try going that would go around okay so I want a little more pattern in the back policeman's keiko so if you pull the back light the light back both pieces they go okay, here we go that should do it. Okay, ready go okay okay timing's a tad off yeah and the idea is that you're gonna flip your hair and come to me ready go great still a tad off okay, so I'm a little bit early or your hair is a little blade I'm not quite sure which okay so let's pull that flack actually would just move the flexible right out. Thank you. Okay, ready go I don't have it go the other way flip the other way that way maybe okay ready go and it just takes a second to get your timing down I thought the jumping picture there we go so now if we had another couple of seconds you got that on manual okay, you know what the dok go I did but we had another couple of seconds we throw another lighting on dh what's happened keiko's already figured itself so we're gonna bring this life you're gonna come up in here right here. Okay let's try that what do you need a wizard? Ah uh no, no, I got it. I got it. All right, get channel away. You get these flecks on china one make sure you're on manual we're gonna be on manual now once again keiko's holding the final light there get hold on take one slight step towards keiko tiny step back please that's good okay a little bit wide okay ready go theo let's do one more with a big smile at the end okay ready go fun really fun anybody got ideas for silly group picture going we're gonna light it as a group ready go fun fun okay you all see though how we quickly go about adding gels creating patterns coloring walls mixing speed lights and dinah lights together we've got a whole lot of gear that we've just thrown together on you know I find with most of my scientists I don't have them doing hair flips can you do a hair flip and jump okay what get ready for this one you have to shoot a little wine okay ready go that would look at all the shadows we created in this image doesn't have fun let's try it one more time on see what else we can do with it okay hold on you have to look at me so I could get focus please sorry I had to do that one huh looking again let's get focused okay ready go wanita one more keiko you need to be back a tiny bit more so when you come around instead instead of look very serious photo shoot when you come around don't quite come to me as much coming with more totally want some white light on your face okay wait, she's jumping. Not me. Confused. Get this set. Okay, here we go. Ready? Go way. Get it, e we go one last one in us. Okay, easy for me to say I'm not jumping. You want our direct? Cool. Please. Please. Please. No, no, no. I want you to and what you do. Okay, you're ready? Go. Yeah, we go. Fun. Fun. Okay, so, listen, gang, quick question for you, berta and me. Hey, we're both wondering with these sort of shots. Are you focusing manually or you do an automatic? How are you focusing when they're moving like that? I meant on some like that. I'm actually, um, remember asked her to look up so I could focus that's home focusing. I've got maybe for me anyway, to get too much to do in terms of concentrating. Because as we've seen with all these images, the timing so we have to get our timing down, and then we have to get the lights right on it's a pretty good challenge on how to do it.

Class Description

Quick Location Lighting is part of our special week-long event Lighting Toolkit.

Join world-renowned photojournalist Rick Friedman for an introduction on how to optimize normal light to create stunning, dynamic images.

During his course, Rick will share the techniques he’s learned during his three decades of shooting presidents, scientists, and the world's brightest innovators. You’ll master doing more with less equipment, finding the light in a wide variety of settings, lighting locations quickly, and more.

Rick’s background will inspire you to use your photographs to tell a story, and his expertise will give you the foundational lighting skills you’ll need to shoot with confidence.



Of all the Creative Live classes I've watched this was the most fun and the most motivating. Rick's easy, unflappable style and humour makes it easy to take in what he is saying and doing. Highly recommended.


Rick Friedman does an excellent job in this course. He is a true professional who really knows his craft. He is an entertaining and excellent presenter.