My portable lighting setup
Being an interior photographer equipment is important especially when photographing interiors where I need the lighting to look natural throughout the image. The spaces I work in vary greatly but everytime I look to achieve a style of lighting which is even and of a high standard. Getting an even spread of light is important to ensure the image looks clean and well diffused light means that the shadows will be softer ensuring detail in the shadows. There are many different options out there when choosing how to light a space but I have chosen to do this using a completely portable and easy to transport option which I am going to outline below; I use three of these set ups to light spaces and pretty much anything I photograph as they are very versatile light set ups. Being a Nikon photographer I have opted to use the Nikon SB-700 speedlight which is very easy to use both as a main TTL flash and as an off camera flash. The Nikon flash system can be triggered using the on camera flash on the D800 however I have found that this is unreliable and has limited range especially when hiding flashes around corners or even outside a location. I decided that instead of using the in built commander mode I would invest in some flash triggers and receivers by Yongnuo which enable me to trigger the speedlight wirelessly, these Yongnuo R-602 triggers are simple but well made despite their low price and being low cost means I am able to purchase a second set as a backup just in case one breaks if not even a third set and still save money compared to triggers such as pocketwizards which essentially do the same thing at ten times the price:
I then used a specialist bracket which allows the speedlight to be mounted onto a studio stand, these brackets are easy to find on ebay and again are low cost so you can buy a few backups, with a bit of searching you can get them for around £4, the bracket also has a hole for inserting an umbrella so you can use various reflectors and diffusers:
The next choice was what diffuser to use, I wanted something that spread the light evenly and was very portable so I opted for an umbrella softbox, this can be collapsed down and transported easily but creates a very even light spread as well as diffusing the light so that there is detail in all the shadows and they are not too harsh. There are two different types of umbrella softbox the one that uses a reflective surface to bounce the light back through a diffused rear however the light through these is very directional and does not spread evenly. I opted for a softbox where the umbrella section is the diffused area as this allows light to flow in every direction and is even and soft.
I hope this helps people to build a cost effective portable lighting set up for any type of photography