Monthly Archives: December 2014

LimoStudio Photo Umbrella

Soften Your Lighting: LimoStudio Photo Umbrella

If you have followed my previous reviews, you are well on your way to creating beautiful studio quality photos for a minimal investment.  The real secret to “beautiful” is the quality of the light.  Flashes tend to be a bit harsh and cause sharp shadows.  The trick is to use soft light.  That’s why people in outdoor shots look beautiful on cloudy days.  The trick for when you don’t have that cloud cover or if you are shooting indoors, is to soften the light source yourself.  The easiest way is to use some diffusion on the light or in front of the light.

If you look at the bracket that I recommended to hold your flash,

you will see a hole halfway up that is intended to permit the use of a photo umbrella to be mounted.  Putting the umbrella between the light and subject will diffuse the light.  The rule of thumb is “the larger the light source, the softer the light.”  So I am recommending a 43″ umbrella that you should shine the light through and place it as close to the subject as possible without getting it in the shot.

I have found a very inexpensive umbrella from LimoStudio.

Don’t forget to keep the light at a 45 degree angle to the side and above the subject for “perfect” wrap around lighting. You can experiment with moving it to the side to 60 or 80 degrees for a more dramatic “Old Hollywood” look but understand that this increases the nose shadows and any facial features, so it is not for all faces. You can have the model facing this more angled light, which will give a great dramatic shot.

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Phil Ramuno is an award-winning director, producer, writer, photographer, teacher and published author.  He is currently directing BzS – the Business Spotlight Webisode Series specializing in small business and corporate video production in Los Angeles, California.

Neewer Light Stands

No One To Hold Your Strobe: Neewer Light Stand

So what else do you need for your now growing still photography equipment kit?  Well if you have your camera and got a flash or even two from my previous review, you need something besides always having an assistant holding the off camera flash or the second flash.  This is a hobby or a small business and not a full crew production like we do when making BzS videos.  The low cost solution is a couple of light stands and flash holders.

No, I don’t work for Neewer, but again I found a couple of tripods from them for a reasonable price

These are 9 foot light stands.  Yes, I know that you can get shorter ones for a few dollar less, but ideal lighting is set about 45 degrees to the left or right of your subject AND also 45 degrees above the subject.  The six foot stands, shall we say, “fall short” of this ideal?  And at under $30 for two of them, you are still keeping your now growing photo equipment quite inexpensive.

Since light stands are made for more expensive strobe lights or video lights, you will need a bracket to mount your speedlight on the stand.   Again Neewer beats all others on price:

When you look at the image of this on the Amazon page, don’t get confused at how you would mount this on the the tripod.  The picture has it upside down.


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Neewer TT850 Flash Speedlight

Neewer Flash Remote Trigger

Neewer Remote Flash Trigger

Move Your Strobe Off Camera: Neewer Remote Flash Trigger

So many of you have liked my recommendation of the Neewer camera flash unit You have tried tilting it to a white wall or ceiling with success and now want to use my recommendation of getting it off your camera for a more beautiful modelling look.  Well, in the interest of keeping your photo investment as reasonable as my $100 flash, there is a solution to that as well.

Instead of putting the flash on your camera’s hot shoe you can put a radio transmitter there and a small receiver on the flash which could be hand held by a friend or on a small tripod.  PocketWizard is the brand of choice by many professional shooters.  But these cost hundred of dollars.  If you are not making your living shooting photographs, this becomes a very expensive hobby.

Well, Neewer brand also has a low cost solution.  They sell a PocketWizard-style remote transmitter and receiver for the 850 flash unit.

The receiver triggers the flash unit when you just plug it to the side of the flash’s USB port.  The user reviews on Amazon are excellent and the under $35 dollar price for both the transmitter and receiver combo is astounding.  If you start to get really serious with your photo set up, you can get a second receiver for another flash for under $20

For the record, Godox brand is the manufacturer of Neewer flashes and identical, except Godox cost a couple of dollars more than Neewer charges for the same items.


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Neewer TT850 Flash Speedlight