I recently tested Rogue’s FlashBender series of products, particularly the large and small positionable reflectors, the large and small diffusion panels for those reflectors, and the small bendable bounce card.
For the test shoot, I took a model into various conditions from high sun, low sun, bright shade, and deep shade – all on location as these products are designed for portable hot shoe type flashes, which are primarily used for location work.
We started off in what I call, "high sun" where the sun is high in the sky and incredibly bright. I chose a location with no shade, so I needed the maximum flash output possible to compete against the bright sun in order to get a nice exposure and deep blue sky.
I doubled up two flashes, one with the large and one with the small reflectors, and no diffusers. I positioned and set the outputs so that one was my main light and the other a very bright fill. I bend the reflectors down so that the light wouldn’t scatter too much, in order to get the most light possible going towards the model.
Then, to get even more direction and light on the model’s face under these bright conditions, I bent the large reflector into a snoot.
I also created this headshot using the same setup.
We then went looking for shade, where I found this power-line pole in a parking lot.
This would be bright or open shade, as it is still very bright in the shade. But being in the shade decreases the exposure just enough so that I could create some direction using my flashes.
I set up as shown, using the big reflector as my main and the small as my less powerful fill on the other side. I came in with my camera to block out all extraneous things in the background, and created the following series.
We found another shady spot on the side of a building that was still very much bright shade. I set up with one light using the large reflector and associated diffusion panel, giving me a controllable and soft light source that is much smaller than an indoor studio soft box. This was perfect for one person in this location.
My objective here was to knock down the ambient light with the flash to create great shadows. So though it was a very hot day and still quite bright even in the shade, under-exposing the background while exposing for a brighter flash gave me the look I wanted.
Though many already know this, it’s probably worth reiterating that the secret to getting great results in any lighting condition is always working in manual. That means using manual flash settings and manual camera settings. Relying on auto functions means that you will get haphazard and average results. If you want spectacular results, you should take control and make those decisions yourself.
There are many ways to solve a creative challenge, and playing with these Rogue line of flash modifiers gave me even more options for controlling light in each situation. In fact there are many ways that I could have used them in the same situations, and you’ll find ways that you like as well.
When we setup against another wall, I used the small reflector with a diffusion panel, and the large reflector without the diffusion panel. I just detached it and let it hang down (as you can see). I wanted the fill to be much softer and the main to be a bit snappier.
I wanted the angle of the light to be controlled without the look of a harsh flash look. Here is the result from this setup.
We then went to an outdoor location when the sun was much lower in the sky, and not nearly as bright. I happened to have a fedora in my vehicle from a Casablanca themed party earlier, and it looked good on the model and the red band matched her outfit, so we used it for a few shots.
I exposed for a blue sky, set up my lights and camera accordingly, and began to shoot, first using one light as a main and the second light as a rim from behind.
I then set up with two lights spaced out to create the look of one big light source, and the sun as an edge.
And then we finished in the much darker deep shade, using a wall as a background. Again, I created a snoot, but this time made the snoot from the small reflector so that I could use the larger reflector as an overall fill.
With this final lighting setup I created these, a close up and a full length and added one of my custom warming effects to the full length.
During this shoot, I found the Rogue line of FlashBenders to be very adaptable and well thought out. The pieces worked well with each other and they were quick to attach and detach. The way that they bend and hold their shape made them very customizable, and I tried to show how many ways they could be used, particularly in various lighting conditions, but really there are more than I could demonstrate.
Of the five products, the one I used didn’t use in these situations was the small bendable bounce card. It would be perfect inside at an event where it’s dark, and you need a little bounce to soften the flash.
However, for these four outdoor lighting conditions that I demonstrated (high sun, low sun, open shade, and deep shade), I found that I really liked the large and small bendable reflectors along with their diffusion panels. I could then adapt and use them in a number of ways, mixing which was my main and fill, using one or two lights, mixing which were diffused or not diffused, and therefore getting very custom results. These products are compact, easy to pack, and should be a great tool for the camera bag.
Until next time, America.
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