12 Oct Choosing Big Lights
If you shoot small lights long enough, you will run up against some limitations. You might be trying to light big areas, or trying to get a combo of soft light with a large working distance. Most likely, you might be trying to light against full sun. Or, obviously, any combination of the above.
Speedlights: Not So Great for Full Sun
When shooting outside in full sun, here’s the problem: your true sync speed is capped at 1/250th, or worse. Forget about the “magic” of high-speed sync in this context, as it is very inefficient.
That’s why you see sometimes people ganging up several speedlights when they use high speed sync at any real working distance:
Using a single speedlight, what you’ll find is that daylight will force you to an exposure combo of at or near 1/250th at f/16. You’ll only be able to light to that tiny aperture (f/16) at high power, in close, and with the light not softened by a diffuser.
You can do it through a shoot-through umbrella with a speedlight, but it has to be less than a foot or so away from your subject. Awkward.
You can also use a very efficient silver reflective umbrella to juice your light output. But that is not as soft and flattering as a shoot-thru or soft box.
How Powerful is That Big Light?
You may be familiar with a flash’s “guide