The Strobist technique and accessories for flashes

The Strobist technique and accessories for flashes

In previous articles published in this blog we had talked about how to use the reportage flashes to illuminate any type of photography . Today we are going to dig a little deeper and we will talk in depth about the technique of the strobist and the accessories for the flashes .


When did the flashes begin to be used?

Strobist en una foto de MotocrossThe first use of a flash as a source of lighting to make a photograph of which we have record was in 1864. It seems that the price at that time was prohibitive, (for some current flashes still is), so it began to use on a regular basis a few years later.


The first flashes of the story:

The first flashes of the story worked with a mixture of chemicals that when fired produced a small explosion. This explosion illuminated photography with artificial light.

It was not until 1930 when the first flashes of light bulb appeared, it was a revolutionary invention since the previous flashes were dangerous because they were based on an explosion.

The first bulb flashes used single-use bulbs that were operated by the shutter of the cameras of the time. They were special bulbs since they had to be specially manufactured to avoid their explosion.


The current flashes:

The current flashes that are used to illuminate photos outside the studio are made up of xenon lamps.

The operation of the current flashes is based on a high voltage electrical discharge that causes an emitting arc of a powerful luminous flash with a duration of thousandths of a second.

Even economical compact cameras now include electronic flashes.


The term strobist and its meaning:

The father of strobist David Hobby coined this term in reference to the use of portable flashes. The term was not sought based on the meaning since a stroboscopic or stroboscopic flash is not exactly a flash of which the SLR cameras mount as standard, nor do some of the flashes on the market have the built-in strobe effect.

The stroboscopic flashes allow to emit a series of flashes with a duration and repetition determined in a specific time. So, Canon speedlite flashes and Nikon speedlight flashes are not necessarily stroboscopic flashes, although mid-range / high-end models do incorporate this extra.

It is interpreted that the strobist is a creative use of portable flashes, a word coined to define a use of these flashes charges in a different way to the traditional use of lighting with three lights. At the same time avoiding falling into the conflict of using trademarks and / or registered patents to refer to this type of creative artificial lighting.


What kind of photography can we use strobist for?

The strobist technique can be used practically in any type of photography. Sports photography , portraits, interiors, product photography, still life … The list is endless, we could say, for almost all the photography you can think of, the fact is that there are also studio flashes, but we talked about being on the street or anywhere else outside the studio, right?

That is the main advantage of strobist flashes , portability. The ability to move a whole team of professional photographic lighting anywhere. The added comfort of size (since they are small flashes). The non-dependence of the studio flashes to make any photo shoot that comes to mind.

Disadvantages of the use of portable flashes:

Not everything is jauja, portable flashes have some drawbacks.

The most notable is always the flash recycling time , this fact is remarkable if you are used to making sports photography, while for another type of photography it is not so important and it might not be an inconvenience.

It must be said that the more modern and sophisticated the flash is, the shorter its recycling time , and that there are accessories for these flashes that reduce recycling time significantly.

The accessories that reduce recycling time are based on extra energy to the flash, in the form of autonomous battery or in the form of more batteries for the flash, although in the case of increasing the number of batteries for the flash is not always reduces recycling time

Another drawback is the energy dependency for each portable flash that is used. Which will lead you to load with at least 2 spare batteries per flash for each short duration session. If the photo session is extended , you will have to expand the quantity of spare parts.


Portable flashes emit hard light:

Portable flashes or flashes of strobist emit hard light. This does not have to be an inconvenience since you could want to personalize the photo with some hard shadows. However, if what you want is a soft or diffuse light you will have to use accessories that modify the light of these flashes.


The strobist accessories:

There are many accessories for when you are ready to perform strobist. Not all the accessories are to modify the light but they also exist of another type. Detail each and every one of them exceeds the objective of this article, with what we are going to mention and summarize the use of some of the most used strobist accessories .


The triggers or remote triggers:

The first thing we need to perform strobist are the familiar triggers or triggering equipment that synchronize the flashes with the camera shutter remotely . There are all prices (since China was introduced in the photograph) and also with different characteristics. The basic thing is that they allow you to shoot flashes out of the camera’s shoe.


Accessories for fastening the flashes:

Another group of accessories for flashes are those used for fastening these. They can be tweezers with or without pin to fix the flashes to any surface, the same tripods to mount the flashes on them or even some of manual manufacture, like a comrade that allows us to fix a flash to a round bar.


Accessories to modify the light of the flashes:

To modify the light strobist flashes at your whim, there are many accessories that will allow you to carry it out. We have umbrellas that allow you to spread or bounce the light. We have the rebounds, which allow us to illuminate with bounced light. The softbox in different ways that will allow a specific directionality and diffusion of flash light, the beauty dish (ideal for portraits). The snoots, which will allow you to focus the light at a specific point. The parables and / or bells that focus the light in a certain way, etc …