Category Archives: Lighting Equipment

Tips On Light Diffusion

Affordable Vellum For Light Diffusion

I like putting a sheet of diffusion paper (vellum) in front of each light.  The industry standard is from Rosco, with a 25 by 4 foot roll costing over $125.

You can certainly get by with a roll half as long by 3 and 1/2 feet from Dietzgen for half the price.

With careful use, the paper can be reused several times.

The C-47 clips that we all use to attach the paper to the lights are just a fancy show business name for common wooden clothes pins.



ABOUT PHIL RAMUNO:  Phil Ramuno is an award-winning director, producer, writer, photographer, teacher and published author.  He co-authored the best-selling ‘Sitcom Career Book”.  He has directed hundreds of projects including theatrical, pilots and episodes of American and international network and syndicated situation comedies. Phil is an adjunct professor at The University of Southern California prestigious graduate film school and has also taught at both Emerson College and Endicott College in Boston.

Phil Ramuno shares his on-set ‘must-haves’ and ‘wish list’ from the set of BzSpotlight – the Business Webisode Series.

BzSpotlight provides corporate and custom video in the greater Los Angeles area.

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.

See Phil’s Other Equipment Reviews


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.


See Phil’s Reviews On

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.


See More of Phil’s Reviews:

Neewer TT850 Flash Speedlight

NEEWER® TT850 Flash Speedlite

Use Your DSLR For Videos AND Stills: The Neewer Strobe

As the resident tech guy here at BzS, I am always looking for ways to increase our quality and keep the price down.  After decades of working with network professional crews, I know that you can always throw money around to get quality, but can you keep the quality up on a budget?  I now know the answer is “Yes!”

The first revolution has been using digital still cameras that also shoot video.  This has put filmmaking into the hands of many more people on a budget.  The other side of that coin is that the cameras can also be used for high quality stills, which of course was their original intent.  It is almost like “I bought this movie camera and they threw in a professional still camera for free!”

Many of you have bought in with Nikons or Canons and now even high quality Sony and Panasonic (Lumix) gear.  For filmmaking, you need to add some external lighting and sound recording to get to professional levels, but for stills it is just the lighting.  But if you want to take professional looking still photographs, can’t you just use the pop up flash or just the sun?  Well, the answer is mostly “no.”

To avoid that “Deer in the headlights” lighting look, you may have looked into the your brand companion speedlight.  But spending $500-$600 for a Canon or Nikon light gets close to doubling the investment in your camera.  And then you will end up buying AA batteries by the boatload just to keep the flashes coming.

The first thing on my Xmas list this year is a new solution:  the NEEWER® TT850 Flash Speedlite

which is available on Amazon for around $100.