|Our friend "Retro" under the glow of the Photek Softlighter. Nikon D700, Tamron SP 90mm Macro|
If Annie Liebovitz can use it on a shoot with Keith Richards, so can I - except that I am not on a shoot with Keith Richards. This gentleman above (well, 'gentleman' might be pushing it but he's a great guy...) is an old friend of Tash's. His name is Ray, but everyone calls him Retro. That's how he likes it. Anyway...he popped around for dinner the other evening and seeing as we had only just purchased the Photek Softlighter from my friend Leo at Image Melbourne, Retro became our first -slightly coerced, slightly not - subject under its magical glow.
The Photek Sofltighter is not an umbrella, but it is. Its not a softbox, but it is. It is a mix of both in a way, and I really love what it does. The light from the flash head is reflected - just like umbrella lighting, but its diffused through a scrim - just like a softbox. Its specular highlights are soft, but evident, and used close to the face is beautifully soft, with smooth transition zones and very even light. Further back, say five or six feet, it is still soft and even light, but with a little added punch. Watch Jenn Photo's Youtube Video here if you like...
The first time you attach it to your flash head it can be a little bit difficult as the elasticised opening for your reflector is central, but of course your flash head is rarely centrally placed in any umbrella because the shaft usually runs along the flash head body. But once you have the hang of it, as it were, you can get that baby ready in a minute or so. Even if it takes you a few minutes at first, the light is worth the effort. I can see that I will be using this inexpensive and quite lovely light modifier for much of my studio potraiture.
If you are in Australia, like I am, you can purchase your own Photek Softlighter at Image Melbourne. Simply click here. Its under $150, and worth every cent.