Simple Location Lighting Kit for Cuban Boxing Portraits – BTS

Posted January 25th, 2017 by   |  Flash Photography, Photography, Travel  |  Permalink

Cuban boxer

Portrait of a young boxer. Havana, Cuba. Nikon D800, 70-200mm f/2.8, Profoto white 32″ umbrella.

Portable Lighting Kit

Creating unique images while traveling to popular destinations like Cuba is always difficult. One of the easiest ways you can step up your photography game while traveling is to bring along a simple location lighting kit.

As lots of other photographers have noted throughout the years (i.e. Strobist), one of the easiest lighting kits for traveling is a foldable light stand, a white umbrella, and a small off-camera flash (speedlight). This little kit fits in most luggage and doesn’t weigh much at all. The extra pop of light you get with this setup will make a big difference in the overall impact of your travel images.

 

BTS

Photo showing lighting equipment on location with boxer and blue wall.

Behind the Scenes

During our photo workshop to Cuba this year, I wanted to spend some time at a boxing gym taking portraits of athletes in training. I knew that a boxing venue would be a prime location to create compelling images, so I brought along a Manfrotto 6-foot light stand, a Profoto White 32” umbrella and a couple of small Nikon flashes. When we arrived at the boxing training center in Havana, I found a beautiful blue wall to serve as a backdrop and set up the lighting kit about 6 feet from the wall.

Since I was guiding a group of photographers, I set up my remote flash so that it would trigger as a simple slave. The workshop participants used a wide variety of Canon, Fuji, Leica and Nikon cameras, so I couldn’t use any brand-specific wireless triggering technology. Each photographer would be able to trigger the remote flash with their own on-camera flash set to manual output. I placed my remote flash on the light stand and set the power to manual output at about 1/8 energy. Again, I programmed the remote flash to work as a slave unit, so it would trigger as soon as it sensed a pulse of light from the photographer’s on-camera flash.

After snapping a few test shots to dial in the exposure, we set about creating portraits of the young boxers. Since the lighting kit was so simple and light, we could quickly change location, power, and height as our creative energy took over.

 

Profoto boxer

Here’s the simple setup with the Profoto umbrella, photographer, and model situated in front of a blue wall. The photographer is triggering my remote flash with her own speedlight on the camera’s hotshoe. Ignore the flash on the ground, that’s just an extra flash that wasn’t being used at the time.

Try it Yourself

This was a really fun photo shoot and it was very easy to set up. I encourage you to consider bringing a small lighting kit along on your future travels. A kit like this is inexpensive and doesn’t take much extra space at all. I guarantee your images will stand out from all the other tourist’s photographs!

Here are some more pics from the boxing training center in Havana, Cuba.

Boxing training

Students learning boxing skills. Havana, Cuba. Nikon D750, 24-70mm f/2.8.

group

Group pic! Here are some of the kids at the boxing center. Nikon D750, 24-70mm f/2.8.

Boxer focus

Young boxer’s focus. Nikon D800, 70-200mm f/2.8.

three boxers

Three boxers in training. Nikon D800, 70-200mm f/2.8

yawn

Becoming a champion is hard work! Nikon D800, 70-200mm f/2.8.



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