The season kicked off last night (Thursday 3 September) with a visit by Keith Sanderson who showed us a range of Lastolite products, including a couple of items only released that very day!
Studio workers felt particularly at home, but there was much for all of us. Keith explained, for example, how a reflector can be used (single-handed if needbe) to provide that lift to the lighting of your subjects face. Lastolite’s triangular reflector won’t roll away from you, and the handle allows easy management, even if you persuade a passer-by to hold the reflector for you! He showed us a small softbox (new that day) for use with an on-camera speedlight which closed down to a very handy package. It looked like a good product for what is a very competitive market area. We were shown backgrounds, all spring metal rimmed and Keith delighted in demonstrating how rapidly he could collapse them. Ray volunteered to try and succeeded in a very impressive first go! They have a velvet background which I found interesting because velvet is probably the least reflective material this side of a black hole and I could see that a professional could find numerous situations where this large un-reflector could black-out unwanted lighting.
Everyone was invited to try the Flashwave triggers. Keith explained that they were chosen by Lastolite over other makes because of their reliability, but they were also very small and would suit the smaller mirrorless cameras nicely. We were able to set up a very usable studio with a single speedlight, small softbox, plus background and using the triggers. We began to see that all of us, studio photographers or not could make a lot of use of these items in building a light, inexpensive and flexible portable studio set up.
Lastolight are now owned by Monfrotto and Keith had their new little LED bank lights for us to see. Although the particular model he had was quite expensive (£109) its light output, for a device smaller than a mobile phone, was very impressive. There are cheaper models and one could easily see the possibilities for using them in a small tabletop lighting set up.
Keith even gave the club one of the magnetic gel holder kits and also offered to loan us items for our portrait evening (Keith, we are supposed to pay the lecturer, not the other way round).
Thanks Keith for very interesting evening.