Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Technique Tuesday: Trigger Happy Wireless Shooting On A Budget & Master Class Update

Good Morning Everybody,

The class got off to a great start yesterday with everyone showing lots of enthusiasm and energy.  We’ll see how that energy holds up today when we hit the road for our location shoots ;~)

Card Tricks2Last evening LaDawn and I welcomed everyone over to our home for our Annual Welcome Party. The Welcome Party is always a good way to break the ice and allows  everyone to know each other from the start of the week. Najee was even impressing everyone with his card magic – that’s Peter, an alumnus from the Fall 2011 Master Class class, selecting one of the magic cards. It was a fun relaxed evening and despite the non-stop rain everyone had a wonderful time.

It's also a nice way for the class to see the behind the scenes operations of my studio.  My team gave all the attendees a tour of our production area  and was available to answer any questions.  By the end of the week everyone will have a thorough understanding of how my studio operates which should be a nice asset for when they return home to their own businesses.

DAZ Bus We’re trying something brand new today.  For the last twenty years of my Master Class we've carpooled whenever we headed out on our location shoots.  Even with MapQuest and the new GPS units, it was not a perfect solution to moving the class from one location to another in a timely and efficient manner.

This year we've rented a bus to drive us around to all the locations.  The bus is also equipped with a microphone which will allow me to continue to teach as we travel from one venue to another. I’m looking forward to our new arrangements making for an even richer learning experience for the class.

Hey gang, time to get on with Technique Tuesday.  Let's jump right in...

Trigger Happy Wireless Shooting On A Budget

Before I dig into this week's lesson, let me say that I am a huge fan of the Quantum radio control units as they are my radio units of choice 99% of the time.  They're accurate, reliable, and versatile. 

Nice - Wireless_Kit On the rare occasion when I want to travel really light I'll use my Nice wireless radio unites – yes, that really is the name of the units. Fellow blogging buddy Kerry Garrison at CamerDoJo.com turned me on to them.  They are extremely small and seem to work quite well in the situations in which I've used them.  You can actually pick them up at CameraDoJo right here. They’re less that $60 for 1 transmitter and 2 receivers.

0001-Trigger Happy-IMG_1303 One of those situations was just recently at LaDawn's son's wedding in Sarasota a few weeks ago.  I wasn't  the scheduled photographer for the event, as we had my buddy Al Gordon cover all the important ceremony and reception images for us, but I still couldn't resist getting out there and "playing" with my camera.

The wedding and reception was held at the Powell Crosley Estate with everything taking place outdoors.  Thank goodness for a BEAUTIFUL clear sky and gorgeous Floridian weather;~). Al knew that to get the best result at the Powell Crosley Estate he would need to have additional light firing for the reception coverage.  There just was not much ambient light in the terrace area to carry slow shutter speeds and high ISO shooting.

He set up a large umbrella on the balcony to supply the additional lighting.  I must say, that BIG light sure created a nice result in Al's images.

0003-Trigger Happy-IMG_1500 I was not trying to create what Al had going on, but I still thought I could get a better result than just shooting on-camera flash.  My plan was to use two Canon 580 EX2 flashes - one on camera and the other positioned high up the staircase leading to the balcony.  At the higher ISO I was planning to shoot, I thought the shoe mount strobes would work just fine.

0002-Trigger Happy-IMG_1417 I decided to use the little radio transmitter/receiver combo Kerry had recommended to me.  I have to say, they worked like a charm.  How about I show you what I was up too and the results I was getting with my super portable setup. I'll also show you Al's set up too.  Hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show.


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  Class starts in minutes and I can't wait to get behind the camera today.  We've got some new locations we'll be working in and some great looking models lined up to photograph. If the rain stops, and it is suppose to by late morning, ten it should be a great day.  I'll share a few images with you in tomorrow's post.   

See ya' then,  David


  1. "Nice!" Brian F

  2. David thank you - your teaching method is first class and I really appreciate the time you take to explain things! Results are fabulous too!
    philtorphotgraphy (UK)

  3. Hi David,
    Great tutorial about the Nice system. You said early on that you were going to tell us what your flash power settings were while shooting, 1/2 or 1/4 or 1/8, but you never got around to it. I'd love to know what power setting you had your off-camera flash. Actually I'd love to know your flash setting on the camera as well.
    Thanks for all the great tutorials. I also look forward to seeing you again in L.A. next year.

  4. David, nice video - thank you. I chuckled when you got a little confused 'I don't have an 18-105mm lens' that's because the EXIF was from your buddy's shot as he photographed your setup.. ;-)

    Thanks again.


  5. Greetings David,

    I just received my little radio transmitter/receiver combo and I LOVE them. If you are a wedding photographer on a tight budget, this unit is a must have. $60.00 vs $500.00, you cannot go wrong. Say good bye to the cord, you know what I mean. I will be ordering more. Blessings, and thanks for the Great tip. Gregory