Faces Friday: Synching Studio Lighting

Studio lights almost always include a synch cord for connecting to your camera using a PC (Prontor-Computer, not computer) cable where it will be triggered when you trip your camera’s shutter. Alas, not all digital SLRs have a PC connection and so you may have to use a hot shoe to PC adapter to connect the synch cord from camera to main light. Tip: Because of the high voltages across the tip of a synch cord, using a cheapo adapter can fry the electronics inside your camera. Don’t do it! It’s a better idea to use one, like Booth Photo’s High Voltage Safe Hot Shoe Adapter, that only allows just three volts to touch the camera’s synch circuit.

Many monolights also have a built-in optical “slave” that can be set to trip the flash when it sees another flash go off. If you want to eliminate the synch cord entirely, here’s another suggestion. I’m a bit of a klutz when working in the studio and have, more than once, stumbled over a power cord and more times than I can count, over a synch cord. For me, and others like me, a wireless trigger is the best and safest solution for tripping the light fantastic. Flashpoint’s Infra Red Remote Trigger ($29.95) will trigger any standard flash or even multiple flashes that have either a built-in or plug-in slave. The Remote Trigger slips onto a standard camera hot shoe and has active range of about 30 feet. The Trigger work outdoors but since it uses light, albeit infrared, its effectiveness will vary based on the day’s brightness. Radio-controlled slaves are a also an option that allows a studio lights to be wirelessly triggered without a cable. Look for that subject to be covered in an upcoming post.

Here’s an on-location portrait made using three Flashpoint monolights: At camera right the main light was a Flashpoint II 620 with square lightbank attached with fill being provided by a Flashpoint II 320A with 32-inch umbrella because of a low ceiling in the basement of my old home where this image was made. Another Flashpoint II 320A with snoot attached was placed behind and at camera left. Camera was a Nikon D90 with AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm lens and an exposure of 1/60 sec at f/14 at ISO 200.

Joe is author of the new book “Studio Lighting Anywhere” which is available from book and camera stores as well as Amazon.com.

Author: Joe Farace

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