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October 5, 2003 tips & tricks

From: Austin "Liveshot" Reeves, Orlando, FL

Being a nightside photog, I have to use my batt-light a pretty fair amount. I’ve experimented with low watt bulbs, high watt bulbs, and finally think I have come up with the perfect setup.

Using a fairly high watt bulb, take a piece of HEAVY diffusion (frost gel) and cut it the same size as a swing-door (for like a diffusion filter) on your light. I taped mine to the inside of the door using two thin pieces of gaff-tape.

The diffusion filter that came on my anton-bauer ultra light never did much of anything and it gave too many harsh shadows. With the gel in place, it gives a nice, much softer look. I can crank up to 9db on and the background comes up beautifully, much more even with the subject i’m shooting.

When I need a lot of light, I swing the door out of the way, giving me the full intensity of my high-watt bulb.

Something new I’ve found that works very well too. To just add some very soft fill light to someone, or when you really only need a tiny bit of light, turn the light 90 degrees (so that it is facing you), lean it all the way back (so that it points straight up) and then open the door about 45 degrees. The heavy frost works as a reflector, giving you some soft light on someones face.


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