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The Lighting Survival Kit

by Topher Kelly
photo & video

What’s in Your Lighting Kit?

Light is the most important element in photography, yet it’s also the most difficult to master.

There are thousands of tools to help you capture, create, and embellish light. The problem is you can’t possibly afford to buy and carry them all. As a mobile photographer, you need to move around and fit the essentials into a relatively small bag.

Rick Friedman has been perfecting his lighting kit for over 30 years — and has used it to photography some of the world’s most influential and innovative minds. From the Dalai Lama to US presidents, Rick has photographed them all. Earlier this week, we snuck into Rick’s lighting backpack while he was preparing for his Quick Location Lighting course, which airs this Thursday on creativeLIVE.

Here’s what we found:

1) 3 Speedlights with external batteries (powered by re-chargeable AA batteries).

Powerful and portable essentials for any field lighting kit.

2) Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit by Rosco.

Yes, it is true. Rick has his own lighting kit, which includes Cinefoil, Tough Spun and a whole battery of gels. This thing is small but packs a lot of punch. Look for this thing to hit the market soon

3) Rogue Grid Sets.

Small and portable, Rogue grids give you the perfect spot of light with gradual falloff for adding depth and highlighting important features. These are simple, straightforward, universal flash attachments.

4) Small Rogue Flashbender with Diffusion Panel. 

5) Large Rogue Flashbender with Diffusion Panel.

Ideal for shooting on location with Speedlights, a Rogue Diffusion Panel creates a larger, softer source by producing even light across their surface.

6) Chimera 24×32 Softbox

A versatile choice for portraits, the Chimera sets up in under a minute and includes a white interior and flush front for a wider spread of light.

7) Chimera 24” Beauty Dish

This collapsible modifier combines the unmistakable, dramatic lighting of a beauty dish with ultimate convenience.

8)  PocketWizard TT-5

These transceivers are the industry standard in radio control of Speedlites.  They can function as both transmitter or receiver, enabling control of one or more flashes in manual or TTL modes

9) PocketWizard TT-1.

The TT1 is a transmitter-only version of the TT5. It also allows TTL control of remote flashes.

10) PocketWizard AC-3 Controller.

Used with the TT1 transmitter, the AC-3 enables control of up to three zones (or groups) of flashes, right from the camera position.  Independently manage the power output of each zone of flashes at the turn of a dial.

11) SunBounce MicroMini Reflector.

A versatile and lightweight reflector that allows for great control of lighting.  The tensioned surface makes “finding” the light incredibly easy.

12)  3 8’ lightstands.

Gotta have ‘em.  Unless you have multiple full-time assistants.
13) 2 Umbrella Clamps. 

For attaching lights and modifiers to the light stands.

optional gear:

1 Dynalite Roadmax 800 power pack

2 Dyanlite heads.

1 Dynalite Uni moonlight

1 Jack Rabbit battery

To learn more about Rick, visit his website. You can find out more about his creativeLIVE course here.

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Topher Kelly

Topher Kelly is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and editor at CreativeLive. Follow Topher on Twitter@Topher_LIVE.