This video blog post on Off-Camera Flash using the Westcott Rapid Box was originally produced by Uzair Kharawala for sfphotoschool.com.
I’ve been working on a brand new project with UK’s largest photographic distributor Johnsons Photopia on creating short videos & tutorials on how to shoot great images with simple (or single) off-camera flash with various light modifiers from FJ Westcott . I’ve used pretty much all kinds & types of softboxes for use with my Speedlights, however, I must say that the products from FJ Westcott are some of the best light modifiers I’ve ever used. The great thing about them is the portability & the ease of quick set up.
The Rapid Box
Shooting on-location requires quick set up and minimal kit which can be easily packed & transported. The Rapid Box is one such piece of kit which I pretty much use for my shoots on-location with my Speedlights. It has a durable framework with heavy-duty reflective silver and provides soft and even light. You can use The Rapid Box with most industry standard Speedlights (except Sony).
Setting up is very quick as you saw in the video, opens & closes just like an umbrella and also has a reflector plate to create distribute light evenly and avoid hot spots. The frame is built from solid aluminum to minimize weight.
The best thing I love about The Rapid Box is everything is compact & very easy to use. I would highly recommend any photographer shooting off-camera flash on-location to get this or at least have a very close look at it before deciding to make a purchase for a softbox.
The Rapid Box comes in 3 sizes for the Speedlights.
Octa: 20″ & 26″
Strip: 10″ x 24″
Also available in XL 36″ & XXL 48″ Octa for Bowens, Profoto, Alien Bees & Skylux
Amazon (UK) -Â Save 10% Â£179.00
WEX (UK) Save 10% Â£180.00
Whether you are shooting family portraits or a commercial shoot you must decide on how to theme the shoot. For this series of videos, we decided on an Edwardian / Victorian theme. Once the theme was decided, we then started on the logistics of the shoot. Where to shoot it with the appropriate props i.e cars, planes, etc. This was the most the most time consuming part of the planning as I had specific images in my mind which I wanted to shoot.
I travelled to a number of locations up and down the country to find a venue and found the perfect location at Shuttleworth Collection. This is a fantastic place and the best thing was that as it was indoors, I didn’t have to worry about any disruption from the weather / rain effecting the shoot. Then the next stages was to contact my team of stylists, make-up artists, costumes designers & videographer to give me the look which I wanted. You need to have a team which you can trust and work with on a regular basis. This makes the shoot so much easy to plan rather than to try someone new who you haven’t worked with before.
On the morning of the shoot, we reached the venue for around 8.30am. Had a quick coffee and then we started the day. The models went with the stylists to get the hair & make-up done which would take around 2-3 hours. Rob Whyatt from JP Distribution was on-location to oversee the shoot and we went to recce the hangers where we would shoot.
Setting the Exposure
I keep things extremely simple and the whole exercise of these videos is to show photographers that you really do not need a ton of kit to take amazing images. All you need to worry about is keeping it simple and understand the relation between the ambient & flash light exposure. I always work in Manual mode on camera and flash. I’m not saying this is the best way to shoot, but it is the way I’ve been bought up to shoot since the days of the film. I can keep the amount of light going through my lens to what I need and not the other way around i.e letting some computer chip inside the camera to decide the exposure for me!
This is my process of keeping things simple. We have 4 variables i.e ISO, shutter, aperture & flash. Now imagine if you try and juggle 4 items together, you won’t be able to keep pace with them and will drop all 4 to the ground quickly. First start with the ISO, set it and forget it, then the shutter speed. This is quite important as to how you want the image to look. I tend to underexpose the ambient light and then bring in the flash to light my subject. When shooting with Speedlights, I tend to shoot at f4 as it gives enough depth of field for the subject I’m shooting.
Now all the settings on my camera are set. I don’t need to change them unless the ambient light changes. In our case, as we were shooting indoors the light was the same throughout the day. All I now need to do is take a shot with the flash and have a look, cut down the flash if too much or bump it up if too less. That is it. I’m just changing the output of the remote flash from my master controller, which could be your pop-up flash on the Nikon, SU800 commander or a Speedlight.
The kit I was shooting with were:
I certainly enjoyed shooting these images. I hope you enjoyed watching the video and reading this post.