Another problem I encountered running portable strobe lights compared to real studio lights, is trying to balance the lighting intensity and remaining battery power. I realize I’m starting to hit the limit of my tiny lights on large shoots like this one.
My existing setup worked for me in the past because I was shooting mostly at night and indoors, so I didn’t need to have such powerful lighting. But this particular shoot started early morning till afternoon, outdoors. Much more light was needed to get the look I wanted. It’s like shooting with a handicap because my equipment couldn’t do what I wanted it to do.
Here’s how it all broke down:
Battery life – I only have 12 sets of AA batteries for 3 flashes, and once one of it runs out, I’m down 1 light. (I know this is my fault for not having enough batteries in the first place for the length of shoot). Because of this limitation, I had to shoot things at half power to conserve the battery, AND, because of this half power lighting situation, I had to compromise on camera settings, which, in turn compromised the shot because my lights weren’t powerful enough to overpower the scene’s ambient light.
Recharge rate – Shooting close to full power on just AA batteries give you lesser shots per second vs shooting at low power because the flash needs to recharge. This in turn cost me 2 things, time and missed shots. Time because the client, and me, had to wait for the flash to recharge before shooting again, and missed shots because the model would get into a great pose, and I couldn’t get the shot because the flash was still recharging and it didn’t fire.
All this added up during the course of the shoot, and basically I ended up with sub par shots and a ton of hours needed in post to touch up things I couldn’t get right while on location.
Time to save up for an upgrade!