12 Affordable Speedlites, 1 Dramatic Portrait

We’ve talked about it before many times, but I’ll say it again—you don’t need the most expensive equipment to take great shots. In his own little challenge to prove this, Oregon-based photographer David Iliyn recently did an outdoor night shoot using 12 cheap off-camera flashes. Sure, 12 may be a little much, but the end result… should look pretty good (sorry, couldn’t help myself):

Iliyn searched for the cheapest flashes he could find online and bought 12 Godox VT560 universal flash units at $35 each for the flash experiment. Then, using the box they came in, he crafted some homemade snoots.

12 speedlites capture portrait

Equipped with a Canon 5D Mark III, a 35mm lens, the newly installed 48 batteries in the speed lights, the 12 speed lights themselves, the cardboard snoots, and light stands, the camera crew and model set off to the forest. The model, a standup bassist, got into place while the camera and flashes were set up around him, positioned to light the trees, grass, model, and bass perfectly.

night shot with 12 strobes

Iliyn used five Paul Buff triggers, while the rest of the speed lights were set to slave mode and every flash fired without problem. With the 12 speed lights, he was able to capture a great, dramatically lit portrait in just one shot.

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