Updated: Oct 7, 2020
Shooting on location instead of a studio can open up a beautiful array of opportunities for great shooting, including new scenery and gorgeous backgrounds. As exciting as that is it can also present you with a whole host of other problems too, ranging from weather conditions and power supply for your kit.
This is where the Pixapro Citi 600Pro system comes to the rescue because it's battery-powered that means no mains power supply is needed, you just need to make sure your batteries are fully charged before your day begins. Having battery power no means your studio system becomes a take anywhere go anywhere kind of kit perfect for any occasion in any location without the worry or need for any mains power supply or copious amounts of extension cables..
The Couture shoot we had lined up needed a portable system just like this; the location for this shoot was in this beautiful stately home, it was huge, we knew we would be shooting in various rooms within the building and that a power supply may not always be available.
“No Power sockets available up here, and a very limited time frame of around 10 minutes to shoot 2 models, let the challenge begin.”
Fuji XT2 - XF35mm F/1.4 lens - 1/200 @ f/2.8 -ISO 200
Places like a loft space, which just happened to be in the middle of a renovation where access to mains power was cut down to a minimum, a location perfect for a Pixapro Citi 600Pro system.
For the majority of our shoots in this amazing place I was keen to take advantage of the beautiful weather that we had and use the lovely natural light that came through the windows but areas like this can also be very dark, giving a massive contrast range so flash was needed to help balance this out and the Pixapro Citi 600Pro heads were just the right tool for the job.
An idea that sounds quite simple, but take into account the changing weather conditions outside which shifted very quickly from beautiful strong sunlight to the wind blowing cloud over creating very soft flat light made getting our shots a little trickier especially when you only had 10 minutes to shoot 2 models in this particular area.
With the natural light changing so much and so quickly highlights from the strong window light can be blown out in the blink of an eye which can throw your whole exposure out and ruin your image very quickly. In this particular shot I balanced this image with one Pixapro Citi 600Pro head fitted with a Pixapro 90 cm Octabox with double diffusion, I wanted a beautiful soft feel to complement the beautiful couture dress and to help convey the elegant feel and mood of my shot. An additional reflector was placed on the right hand side of frame to lift some of those underlying shadows in the darker areas to help balance my image.
The light was positioned off to the left side of the frame and placed on the stand but if you have an assistant they could also handhold this and move with the model while she strikes different poses.
“The light keeps changing so quickly and risks blowing highlights on the white dress; it keeps you on your toes for sure”
Fuji XT2 - XF35mm F/1.4 lens - 1/250 @ f/2.8 -ISO 200
Different rooms presented different challenges, when I moved to the other side of the house where the Sun wasn't I got beautiful soft light to work with, of course this changes as the day goes on because the Sun moves. In this next Image we took advantage of the beautiful big windows in this room which gave us beautiful soft light, all I had to do was balance this with the light inside as the large room was quite dark.
For this set up an Pixapro 90 cm Octabox was placed to camera left as my main light and a large softbox to the right as my fill light. Outside was full of cloud cover and the light was dull and very flat, so my Pixapro Citi 600Pro's we’re set to give me an exposure a little above the ambient light just to add a little pop to my image, without darkening down the outside too much.
Fuji XT2 - XF56mm F1.2 lens - 1/80 @ f/6.4 -ISO 400
In this last image the light was very low, so I decided to re-create lovely natural light, and to this I take advantage of two Pixapro Citi 600Pro heads again; a lovely big Pixapro Octa 150cm as a soft fill to camera right and a nice Pixapro 90 cm Octabox directly above camera as my main light.
Fuji XT2 - XF56mm F/1.2lens - 1/80 @ f/2.8 -ISO 400
The nice thing with the transmitter for the Pixapro Citi 600Pro is that I can control all my Flash heads directly from my Pixapro Pro ST IV Transmitter on my camera, no need to keep getting up and down to adjust any of my power settings. Very handy especially if you have lights which are positioned very high, overhead or even far away. These Pixapro Pro ST IV Transmitter along with the Pixapro Citi 600Pro can also be used with HSS and TTL functionality, as long as you buy the right transmitter for your camera, they are dedicated if you want that functionality.
I have to say the battery life of the Pixapro Citi 600Pro units is really really impressive; I was on location for two days for this shoot, covering 6 collections, totalling 30 dresses on 3 models, not a slow paced day by any means, lol, and the Pixapro Citi 600Pro performed flawlessly without any problems.
When I’d finished at the end of day 2, both my Pixapro Citi 600Pro units still had over half a charge of battery power left! Now thats impressive, considering how much they had to work over the two days.
Another nice and convenient thing about these is that they come in a very nice backpack style bag, both heads fit nicely inside with room for your batteries, charger, and Pixapro Pro ST IV Transmitter; theres even a front zip up compartment big enough to fit a 15” laptop if you need one. On the outside there’s tidy little storage facilities on each side for 2 basic lightweight stands.
Whats more, its so nice not to have mains cables trailing all over the place. A truly powerful yet portable kit opening up endless creative possibilities in any location or even in the studio (where I use them a lot)!