Working with the Classics: Speedotron

“Remember that the person you are photographing is 50% of the portrait and you are the other 50%. You need the model as much as he or she needs you. If they don’t want to help you, it will be a very dull picture.”—Lord Patrick Lichfield

Speedotron’s power pack and head systems are the studio lighting world’s equivalent of the American muscle car. They’re made in the USA, ruggedly built to take hard use, and powerful. The company offers two lines of lighting systems: The premium-priced Black Line for commercial shooters while Brown Line products are aimed at portrait photographers, yet when used normally both have similar quality, reliability and longevity.

I used their DM802 Two Head Kit ($1460) because I think it’s the kind of rugged and dependable power pack and head system that newer portrait shooters would find useful. If you need more versatility, a three-light version of this kit is also available.

Brown Line light heads are made of metal, including reflectors, are convection-cooled and should provide decades of daily use. Two M11CC heads are included in the kit and each one has a 20-foot cable with a locking quick release power supply connector that’s compatible with older Brown Line power supplies. The cables are long enough so even the most cable adverse (or clumsy like me) photographer can position them out of the way to keep from tripping—or worse yet, trip the subject—over them

For my first session with Misa Lynn I placed a single M11CCR head at camera right with the power pack set in asymmetrical mode. A 32-inch round reflector at camera left and the backdrop is a Belle Drape gray muslin. Shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark I and EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens (at 105mm) with an exposure of 1/160 sec at f/14 and 100 ISO.

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 9.13.43 AMIf you’re interested in shooting portraits and how I use lighting, please pick up a copy of “Studio Lighting Anywhere” which is available from your favorite book or camera stores as well as Amazon.com, where your purchase helps this blog.

Author: Joe Farace

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