Day 80/365: Strobism

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March 21, 2011

What Is Strobism?

Strobism refers to the use of small flashguns (often referred to as speedlites or strobes) to create effective lighting for all kinds of photographs. The ‘movement’ of strobism rose in popularity in the last couple of years after the photographer David Hobby set up his now seminal blog

Strobism is all about controlling what is perhaps the most important aspect of photography – light. Traditional photographers used to seek out the best light possible in order to make great photographs, strobists create it themselves. At the heart of the stobist movement is being able to understand how light, and more specifically the combination of light from multiple sources contributes towards great photographs.

Why Bother With Strobism?

The whole ethos of strobism is to use small inexpensive flashes to gain the same lighting effects as big expensive studio lighting rigs. What David Hobby did a few years ago was to show exactly what these little flashes were capable of if you the photographer followed a few simple rules and learned how easy it is to control and manipulate the light they produce.

Stobism is all about showing what great pictures small lights can produce.

Here are, some tips of strobist photography:

1. You shall not tether your camera to your strobe when you can use a radio slave.
2. You shall not break your back with heavy equipment as long as you can get the job done with lighter equipment.
3. You shall not use big lights when a small strobe can get the job done.
4. Always find a way to fit your equipment in one small case able to fit in the overhead compartment of an airline seat.
5. Always be able to fit all equipment in the trunk of a small car.
6. You shall not light the volume of space, only light the visible planes.
7. You shall never take more time to unpack gear than to shoot assignment.
8. Always carry extra flashes.
9. Learn to play well with ambient light.
10. You shall not enslave your strobe to the limits of on-camera flash. Good light almost never primarily comes from the top of the camera.

Day 80/365

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