Talking to people lately I have found out that some of the gear info that I have been mentioning in posts has been a little confusing. So today I am going to talk about the gear I use and why.
My lights of choice are the Nikon SB-800's, they are extremely light and put out a hell of a lot of light. Most people would just take this flash and attach it to their camera via the hot shoe but that light tends to be flat and very clinical. By using a remote trigger and the Justin Clamp (pictured) I can get the flash off the camera and turn just about anything into a light stand. I bring at least two on a shoot but more often then not I will have four on hand for shoots.
The cardboard snoot is a very important part to my lighting kit, what it does is narrow the beam of light way down so you can light only what you want because when you touch off a flash it sends that light bouncing around all over the place. It's your job as a photographer to harness that light to make it do what you want. I made this myself out of a Coke twelve pack box and some duct tape, took about 20 mins. If you go to do this yourself you want it to be about 8" long. The one drawback to this light modifier is that it makes the light kind of hard and dramatic.
The softbox has the opposite effect on the light, the larger the light source the softer the light and by using a softbox you are spreading the light from your little flash across a large panel of transparent material which softens the light. This one is only about 18x24" which is kind of small but works perfectly with the small flashes and the closer you can work it to your subject the softer the light is.
Gels are another thing I use pretty regular, putting these pieces of colored plastic in front of a flash will change the color of the light that your flash puts out. I tend to use them more to control the light for the various white balances but I am wanting to use them more and more just to pump up the color in a scene.
Hope this kind of helps people with some of the gear terms I use in the blog and why I use that gear.