The Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (or WPPI as it is fondly known) is a photography conference and expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here is the second part of our highlights from the show! This time we focus on lighting equipment.
You can read our review of the cameras and lenses seen at the WPPI here.
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Ever needed a small, handy light for a spontaneous photo shoot? Well, the Lowel GoLite may just be the portable illumination you need!
This nifty little product does not look like much initially. But upon further inspection, you’ll find that it triples as a continuous lighting unit, a micro flash, and a softbox all in one product.
Donning 54 super bright LEDs, a 10-step electronic dimmer, high brightness, and accurate colour temperature output- you can get the exact lighting you need for your situation. The light can be attached to the hot shoe of your camera or used handheld.
My first impression wasn’t much, as the light doesn’t strike the eye upon initial look. However, when the unit is activated the real genius begins. This light’s colour temperature is great. When moving it around various skin colours and inanimate objects, the radiance was perfect.
Even for such a tiny light, it really got bright. The light is quite modular, and comes with daylight and tungsten diffusion panels, as well as a soft box which allows you to configure the light however you wish.
One of its coolest and most unexpected features is that the light doubles as a micro flash. When in flash mode, the AF assist function can be activated and synchronized with the shutter to flash.
There isn’t an excuse to not have a light like this in your kit, especially if you’re a wedding photographer. Some great ideas include holding the light over a cake, putting it behind glassware to illuminate, or using it as a spotlight in a dim venue!
ExpertPhotography recommends: Lowel GoLite
Another fantastic option for a small portable light is the Lumen 800. This little cube has a slew of uses:
- angle beam that matches the human eye and GoPro wide angles
- battery life of up to 7 hours as a strobe and 4 hours as a continuous light
- simple one-touch operation
It’s a great addition to any bag as an “in case I need it” product.
What I particularly fancy about the Lumen 800 is its size and weight. At only approximately 1.6 inches x 1.6 inches big and 3.17 ounces light, this was truly the smallest light I had ever seen.
With a magnet and mounting attachment, it was very easy for me to find a hundred different ways to face the light anywhere I pleased. The light beam prides itself on being a smooth/blended lux that truly doesn’t cause a centre hotspot.
The light charges via a micro USB, easy and simple. All in all, an excellent addition that won’t die on you.
Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI
Artificial intelligence has entered the world of photography – and it’s here to help. Canon’s brand new Speedlite 470EX-AI calculates the bounce for you and then proceeds to remember the angle no matter how you tilt the camera!
Such technology proves to be immensely useful for fashion photographers. Or for any photography genre where time really is money, and speed is the name of the game.
Instead of spending minutes resetting your flash when you decide to tilt your camera vertically, you can trust that this new speedlite will remember your needs for you. This AI bounce function is exclusive to Canon, and will ensure you don’t miss any shots.
In addition, it boasts a powerful maximum guide number of 47 (154 ft. /47m) at ISO 100, a zooming flash head and numerous features for versatile and powerful flash photography.
At the Canon booth at WPPI, I was immediately roped in by the Canon representative tilting the camera every which way and watching the flash consistently reposition with two swift clicks of the shutter.
Upon trying the flash myself, it was extremely easy to set it up and have it maintain that same bounce angle. It calculated the ceiling height impressively fast. All in all, well worth the price.
That being said, Canon does point out that the EOS cameras sold up until June 2014, as well as EOS Rebel T7, EOS Rebel T6, EOS M6, EOS M5 and EOS M3, do not support AI.B full-auto.
Westcott Solix LED
Westcott as a company is known for its studio equipment. From lights to diffusers and reflectors – Westcott is the pride and joy of the studio photography world. It is of no wonder that WPPI attendees were jumping with joy at seeing the brand new Solix LED.
The Solix LED is a compact continuous LED light source. It has an integrated rotatable speed ring to attach soft boxes (up to 4.5 lbs.). This concept of being able to rotate your soft box to any angle and position you want without having to take the entire boom apart is like a well-answered prayer!
All you do is gently rotate the rotator cuff and that’s it, a huge time saver. It also comes with a dual-purpose dial that controls both power and dimming, up up to 2,125 lux at 1 metre.
The built-in tilter bracket allows for quick positioning and umbrella mounting. Accessories attach quickly using convenient magnetic mounting (because magnets are always a great idea!).
As someone who is only 5’ 5” and 98lbs, assembling lighting equipment is a big factor for me. I was thrilled with how easy it was to set up this light, and the very manageable weight!
The kit comes with a convenient carrying case, one that is sturdy and secure enough for me to feel comfortable lugging the light around without fear.
The ability to rotate the diffuser into any position I pleased was the ultimate selling point for me, as I know it’ll be for many other photographers as well. The convenience of removable barn doors and diffusion caps is a lovely addition as well.
The colour that exudes from the light is pure daylight LED, excellent for a range of skin tones. The colour is high accuracy, and you can see this immediately upon turning the light on! The light is also flicker-free and silent, great for when I photograph pets in a studio setting.
ExpertPhotography recommends: Westcott Solix LED
Savage Edge Lit Pro LED Light
Looking for a lightweight continuous light that is thin and compact? Look no further than the Savage Edge Lit Pro LED Light.
This flat paneled light is great for both video and photography. And it’s easy to throw into your kit and set up anywhere. The unique quality of the Savage light is the fact that it uses LED bulbs that shine inward from the outer edges of the light. These are then redirected through a soft white panel.
This results in a very soft and natural lighting, equivalent to a low shadow soft box effect. As such, you don’t have to worry about hot spots and the light illuminates very evenly.
I loved that one can control the light with a remote. I was able to adjust the lights from my shooting location rather than having to constantly run back and forth.
At the WPPI, I had the opportunity to test the units with a live model. It was great to be able to also control the colour temperature of the lights to give the model a warm, natural glow.
Very simple to maneuver and set up, even new photographers not used to studio settings can have an excellent time with this light!
The kit includes the light, a rotating light stand adapter, the multi-channel remote control, a padded carry bag, two Sony NP-F750 batteries with charger, and an AC Power cord.
This would be excellent for wedding photography lighting as it is easy to carry and set up.
ExpertPhotography recommends: Savage Edge Lit Pro LED Light
Litra LitraTorch Light
With a successful past in crowdfunding, the Litra LitraTorch Light has come to fruition in the form of a powerful little cube.
Ranging from 100 to 2200 lumen depending on its use, this nifty gadget fits neatly into any traveling photographer’s case. Its size makes the LitraTorch easy to throw into a pocket, purse, camera bag, even a jacket!
My immediate impression of this little device was its build, rough and sturdy. Having been told by the representative of its military-grade ruggedness, I can confirm that the Litra Torch is waterproof to 10m/30ft with 810G MIL SPEC rating. One of the displays featured the light in a bowl of water.
Much like the other lights in this review, this little cube is flicker-free, daylight 5700 kelvin exposed, and will not cause any hot spots on your subject. The light can last four hours with continuous use and features a rechargeable battery.
Additionally, this little guy is able to adapt to DSLRs, GoPros, and so much more.
Each Torch comes with a white diffuser, silicone sleeve, belt clip, GoPro ¼ 20 Finger Mount, and a USB Charging Cable.
ExpertPhotography recommends: Litra LitraTorch Light
Profoto D2 Monolight
Toted as the world’s fastest moonlight with TTL (through-the-lens metering), the Profoto D2 Monolight is one of a kind for sure. It has the ability to freeze action at up to 1/63,000 of a second, and shoot bursts of 20 images per second.
It can also sync with camera shutter speeds as fast as 1/8,000 of a second. This is indeed an awesome moonlight with an immense range of uses.
The nobs on the back of the moonlight are very easy to understand and operate, while its manageable weight allows the device to be easily moved around.
The D2 features intuitive controls and a large LED display. It’s easy to read in the dark or in bright lighting. This is a common complaint from photographers in regard to competing products.
I don’t really use monolights myself. But I loved the ease with which I was able to figure the D2 out (without needing to reference the instruction manual)! Being able to shoot in bursts of 20 flashes per second made the action photographer in me very happy.
The feature that won my heart, however, is this monolight’s “airTTL”. AirTTL automatically finds the right exposure for you, so all you have to do is point and shoot.
From saving time or working quickly with sporadic lighting changes, this feature is incredibly useful. Alternatively, you can switch to manual mode, keep your previous TTL settings and fine tune the exposure until you achieve exactly the look and feel you want.
The addition of a remote allows you to trigger this light from a distance, without needing to relocate.
This monolight really is geared towards professionals. However, its technological power makes it well-worth every cent.
ExpertPhotography recommends: Profoto D2 Monolight
It is no secret that there are hundreds, if not even thousands, of head shot and portrait photographers in every location. As such, you need to find a way to stand out from the herd.
The Westcott Eyelighter is one such way to differentiate from the masses. Much like the name implies, it curves to mimic the shape of your eye and illuminate the bottom part of the iris.
Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but they’re also the very first thing most viewers notice about an image. This highlight creates an eye catching image (no pun intended). The catch lights produced by this curve reflective panel mimic catch lights that many photographers use post-processing to produce.
However, as all we working photographers understand, the more time you spend behind a computer screen, the less time you’re out there shooting. This product certainly diminishes your time behind the screen.
The physical makeup of the Eyelighter features durable aluminum frame and a highly-reflective silver surface. Tension rods pull this material taut, maximizing the light it casts.
If the silver reflector is too bright or caused too stark of a reflection, Westcott has a white sheet available for purchase. This will cover that whole panel and soften the effect.
The Eyelighter reflects light toward your subject, leaving a catch light that follows the natural curve of the eye. My favourite aspect of this is how seamless the catch light is, there are no odd or unflattering gaps. As well as this, it really does soften the light on the neck and chin.
However, due to its size and shape, this reflector really is for portrait and head shot use only. You won’t be able to catch a whole body image with this.
The Eyelighter is a rather large piece of studio equipment, and meant to be a permanent addition to your studio. I can attest from personal experience that this product can still fit into a car fully-assembled (minus the tripod). You just have to put the backseats down.
The Eyelighter comes with a carry case. You can disassemble and assemble it without issue, but the assembly does take a bit of time. At least, for me it took a significant amount of time, so I would rather transport the reflector fully-assembled.
Paired with your studio lighting, this is a must-have for anyone looking to add something fantastic to their collection.
ExpertPhotography recommends: Westcott Eyelighter