Lighting is our obsession. Here's some of the lighting equipment and modifiers we own and use when we shoot.
Profoto B1/B1x Location Kit
We own two of these kits for both location and studio work. Rugged, accurate and fast, they're a dream to work with. Two of the big reasons we went with Profoto B1's and B2's -- TTL and HSS. TTL gets you extremely close (if not spot on) on location, and we just dial in the creative taste. HSS and HyperSync really opens up your creative options.
Profoto B2 Location Kit
While 250 w/s may not seem like all that much light, the Profoto B2 also has the same TTL and HSS/HyperSync capabilities of its bigger brother. The HSS/HyperSync really mitigates the necessity for higher power when trying to overpower the sun. And if you consider that a speedlight is about equivalent to 60-80 w/s, one B2 is like using a gang of speedlights a'la Joe McNally. Plenty of power.
Broncolor Move 1200L
We purchased the Broncolor Move 1200L specifically for location shooting where we needed more power, but also we needed heads that had exposed flash tubes to work with larger modifiers -- the forward-firing recessed flash tube of the Profoto B1 and B2 units aren't as well-suited to large studio modifiers. The features and weight savings versus the Profoto B4 are what ultimately lead us to invest in (yet another) system.
Broncolor MobiLED Flash Heads
The MobiLED heads from Broncolor are specifically designed to be used with the Move1200L and Mobil A2L packs. Sharing a similar design to the Litos heads, the main differences are the peak output (2400J versus 1600J on the MobiLED), and the inclusion of a 30W LED modeling light (versus a 300W halogen lamp on the Litos) . The MobiLED heads can be powered for up to 2 hours on a fully-charged Move pack, or with the Continuous Light Adapter, plugged directly into the charger and powered via AC indefinitely. This is especially useful in as pinch when filming video.
Elinchrom Ranger RX AS
It's an older bit of kit, but with 1100 w/s available on battery power, the Elinchrom Ranger still does work for us. A caveat, however, is that the power is distributed asymmetrically (70/30), so the maximum achievable output from a single light is about 770 w/s -- still a respectable amount of light. While they do carry a premium, we use the "A" heads with this pack, primarily due to their faster flash duration and increased consistency.
Paul C Buff Einstein E640
You can't go wrong with PCB gear. Their support is top notch and their products are affordable for anyone serious about making an investment in their photography. The E640's offer plenty of power, modifiers are widely available and extremely affordable, and their performance can't be beat at this price point. Paired with PCB's own Vagabond power packs, you can easily use these monoblocks on location. Although we've semi-retired ours, we always have them on hand when we need some extra light.
Older lights, but we haven't gotten rid of any of our lighting since we became obsessed with strobes. Usually our older lights get placed into accent light, hair light, or background light duty. The Elinchroms are built like tanks and keep on tickin'. If you can find them used, they should be very inexpensive, and would serve as a great start to your lighting kit.
Some of our very first lights, if you don't count speedlights. The EXD200's are digitally controlled and have an Elinchrom mount, making it compatible with all of our Elinchom modifiers. The interface on the back panel is easy to navigate and adjust, and at under $500 for a 2-head kit, it's the perfect way to get started with studio flashes.
Inexpensive and durable, the Yongnuo flashes are a staple in any strobist's kit. They're easily replaceable because they're so inexpensive, so we have no issues putting some of these in precarious positions or situations. They do have updated versions that are more powerful, and have additional radio capabilities built in.
Broncolor Para 177 Parabolic Reflector
We chose to go with the smaller of the "Large Paras" for space constraints. The Large Paras (222 and 177) have a more reflective fabric, offering different qualities and characteristics of light that are unique to the size. We often use the large paras as very soft, defining fill, but can easily be used as a main light.
Broncolor Para 133 Parabolic Reflector
The versatility and unique characteristics and quality of light that a parabolic reflector can produce is second to none. The focusing system in conjunction with the option of diffusion fabric and grids means that it can create a variety of different lighting looks. Fully focused, you can get up to an additional 1 to 1.5 stops of light, eliminating the necessity for higher-powered flashes when trying to overpower the sun!
Broncolor Para 88 Parabolic Reflector
We love our Para 133 so much, we got its little brother. The Para 88 is much better for location work and offers a slightly more punchy and contrasty light than the bigger Para 133.
Mola Setti 28" Beauty Dish
Our favorite beauty dish. Slightly larger than most standard (22-24") berauty dishes, with a unique "stepped" design that directs light forward, along with different diffusion options on the deflector plate. The Mola dishes create a unique quality of light versus other beauty dishes.
Kacey Enterprises 22" Beauty Dish
Essentially a "clone" of the Mola Demi, the Kacey beauty dish is inexpensive and creates a pleaasing, soft white light. Constructed of high-impact plastic, it's light and very durable. It's also offered in different sizes, up to a massive 45".
Elinchrom 39" Deep Octa
We love Elinchrom modifiers. The interior of the fabric has a unique texture that breaks up the light and creates a very soft light quality. The Deep Octa is another go-to modifier for us on shoots. The depth creates a nice punchy contrast and the box is very lightweight and sets up quickly with the Rotalux speedrings. The inner and outer diffusion gives us different options for different characteristics.
Profoto Magnum Reflector
With its incredibly reflective dimpled surface, the Magnum Reflector is extremely efficient, increasing the flash head's output by at least 1 stop and is our choice for creating hard light looks. Barn doors, focusing tubes and grids are available to increase your light shaping capability.
Elinchrom High-Performance Reflector
The Elinchrom equivalent of the Magnum reflector provides a long throw with a slightly softer quality of light due to the difference in its surface texture. We have these adapted for use on our Profoto heads as well.
Profoto Zoom Reflector 2
A good standard reflector is an essential piece of any lighting kit. Combined with grids, you can have exact control over where your light falls. The Profoto mount lends itself nicely to its Zoom reflectors, which allow you to control the angle of light simply by adjusting its position on the head.
California Sunbounce Pro (6' x 4')
An invaluable tool for both location and studio work. The Cali Sunbounce is huge at 4' x 6', but is very maneuverable thanks to its lightweight frame and fabric. The frame keeps the fabric taut, and their unique "zebra" pattern mixes both silver and gold for that "sunkissed" look without being too yellow. White and silver fabric is also available, and many of the fabric panels are reversible, offering versatility.
California Sunbounce Micro-Mini (2' x 3')
The Micro-Mini provides the same qualities of its larger brother, in a much more maneuverable package. It packs up easily, is lightweight, and sets up quickly. We've always have it packed for a shoot.
Lastolite Triflector Mark II
An essential piece of any studio, the Lastolite triflector is our choice for beauty and headshots. It pops a little bit of light back into the subject to soften the shadows, and the three panels allow for a wide range of adjustments to put the light exactly where you want it. Further, the panels can be removed and used independently. It's an inexpensive and versatile bit of kit.
Westcott Scrim Jim Cine (8'x8' and 6'x6')
The Westcott Scrim Jim is an essential piece of our kit -- It allows us to control harsh sunlight outdoors, or create a beautiful natural light effect indoors for portraits and product. The new "Cine" Scrim Jims are slightly heavier than the older counterparts and offer velcro on both sides of the frame.
Important note: The Cine frames DO NOT work with the Westcott "Universal" Scrim Jim Clamp. The frame is too thick. We learned this the hard way.
Westcott 5-in-1 Reflector (40.5")
The classic collapsible reflector. Cheap, durable, and offers variety of different reflective surfaces for any situation. A 5-in-1 is a tool everyone should have in their kit. Fill, specular fill, golden fill, scrim, flag -- it does it all.