Many of us will have had our picture taken during education. Whether it be during Primary School for a class photo, or for Graduating from University, we all will encounter this at some stage. Therefore, specialising in this form of photography is a very common section in the Photography business, and making sure that you have the correct equipment is vital to succeeding. In this blog, we take a look at which equipment is required to achieve the best results and how to help grow your business.

 

Lighting

Let’s start with the most important part, the lighting. Making sure that your lighting is powerful enough to cover an entire group of students is important, whilst also being given the freedom to adjust the power down if you are shooting a single or a couple of people is vital. As you will be travelling between different locations, the ability to use your lights away from mains power is a massive plus, so battery powered lighting is usually the best option. But as most of this genre of photography is performed indoors, mains powered flash may also be suitable for a range of situations. For this style of photography, we would suggest using a minimum of two lights, as you will need to offer a high quality of light coverage over the subject/subjects.

CITI600 Manual Battery Powered Flash

The CITI600 Manual is a perfect example of a high-powered battery flash. This particular light offers 600Ws maximum power output with a Guide number of 87m (@ ISO100), making it more than powerful to help offer an accurate coverage of lighting across a large group of students. The new and improved Built-in (removable) 11.1V / 8700mAh Lithium-ion Battery helps to achieve this high level of power and gives it enough energy to offer up to 500 Full Powered flashes per charge, perfect if you find yourself shooting many different individual students in a single session. The Power Range of this flash is amazing also, as it can range from 1/1 all the way down to 1/256 (9-Stop power range, adjustable in 1/3 Stop intervals), allowing you an in-depth level of power control. This may be useful as the flash may need to be full power to offer adequate light coverage across a group of students but then may need to be adjusted down to not over-power a single student.


LUMI 400 II 400Ws Studio Flash

The LUMI400 is a stylish and robust flash, whilst producing 400Ws of maximum power. The mains powered flash offers a Guide Number of 65m (@ ISO100), making it suitable for either single subjects or large group photography. This is helped by the ability to control the power between 1/1 down to 1/32, with 6 stop increments, meaning that you can use full power to help cover a large group of students and then adjust it to a lower level to suit a single subject. The LUMI400 also comes with a Built-in 2.4GHz receiver and is part of the PiXAPRO ONE System, meaning that it can be used in conjunction with our range of flash lighting and controlled by the same trigger.


Stands

Once you have chosen which lights would better suit your requirements, making sure you have a strong and dependable stand to place these on is important. Making sure that the stands are strong enough to hold your lights, as well as any modifiers, is necessary, whilst being confident that they will prevent any accidents or damage to other equipment. You may also find that you sometimes need a different style of lighting to help offer the best coverage across your subjects, so using something such as a Boom Stand could help offer a different effect.

240cm Retractable Light Stand

This light stand is the perfect addition to a set-up that requires moving equipment with ease. The retractable leg design sets itself up automatically by simply opening the legs when placed down, and then simply fold back up when picked up, making moving it around a busy room quick and safe. The stand's height can range from the maximum of 240cm down to its minimum of 74cm, creating many different opportunities and styles for lighting your subjects. It also features a standard 5/8” stud, meaning that you are able to attach our range of flash lighting with ease.


2in1 Reclined Boom Stand

The 2-in-1 Reclined Boom stand is very useful in multiple ways. Firstly, it can be used as a Boom, reaching up to 200cm and holding a maximum load capacity of 5KG, which is more than suitable for our lighting. This means that if you decide that you need to light up a large group of subjects from a more unorthodox spot, then the Boom Arm can do this for you. And the included counter-balanced sandbag help to further protect you from any accidents during shooting. Secondly, you are able to simply slide the boom arm into the lower section of the stand itself, to help create an additional light stand. The use of the boom arm allows this stand to reach up to 400cm maximum height, which is much taller than most common light stands, opening up a much larger range possibilities for your lighting.


Modifiers

Using Modifiers can help to offer a different effect to the light being produced. This can help to better bring out features in your subjects and help to make your photography more appealing to the eye. As there are different types of photography for this genre, we have split them into two sections, Single/Small Groups & Medium/Large Groups, as these different scenarios would require different modifiers to help get the best look possible.


Single/Small Group

60x90cm (23.6"x35.4") Rectangular Easy-open Umbrella Softbox with 4cm Grid

This softbox has a big benefit against standard softboxes, with that being the mechanism used to set this up. This softbox opens up similar to an Umbrella, meaning that you simply need to push the rods down until they lock into place, then simply release the catch when you wish to put it down. This is incredibly useful when it comes to switching between modifiers quickly, and for storage and portability as all of the rods are connected together rather than loose. The silver interior of the softbox makes sure that no light is being wasted and helps to bounce it around the entirety of the softbox without any spill. The inner and outer diffuser that comes included help to offer softer lighting on the subject, helping to draw out their features better and the honeycomb grid helps to narrow the spread and give even more accuracy to the light.


60cm (23.6") Collapsible Portable White Beauty Dish S-Type

This 60cm Beauty Dish comes with Bowens S-type fitting as standard, meaning that it is compatible with our entire range of flash lighting. The benefit of the collapsible beauty dish compared to a solid beauty dish is that it is much easier to transport between shoots, as it folds down to a more compact shape. It also is much more lightweight, perfect for quickly changing between different modifiers. Due to the rounded shape of the Beauty Dish, it helps to create pleasing catchlights in a subject’s eyes and helps to create softer and warmer skin tones. The white interior helps to provide a much warmer and less contrasting light than a silver interior would. Also included is a removable diffuser to help soften the light even more and a honeycomb grid to help prevent light spill and to better aim the light onto the subject.


Medium/Large Group

120cm (47.2") Octagonal Easy-open Umbrella Softbox with 4cm Grid

Due to the larger size of this softbox, it can better help to spread the lighting over a larger number of subjects. The umbrella-like mechanism helps to set-up and put down this softbox much quicker and easier than a standard softbox. This is useful when you are trying to switch between multiple different modifiers during a shoot to get the perfect lighting. The silver interior of the softbox helps to bounce the lights evenly around, making sure that there is complete and accurate coverage and that no light is wasted. The included inner and outer diffusers are detachable and can be used to help soften the lighting on the subjects, helping to bring our more features. The removable honeycomb grid allows you to better focus the lighting on your subjects and helps to reduce light spill.


130cm (51") Parabolic Black/White Umbrella with Removeable Diffusion

Having a frame made from Plexiglass, the 130cm Parabolic Umbrella is much strong and durable than standard Umbrellas, making it less susceptible to damage. The Umbrella itself is designed to spread the light over a much wider area, and the white interior helps to create a softer and more gentle light compared to a silver interior. To further soften the lighting being produced, there is a detachable diffuser included, for when you deem the light is still too harsh. The shaft has an 8mm diameter which makes it compatible with most of our lighting, as well as many third-party lights.


Accessories

Accessories can help to give you that little extra edge when it comes to your photography. By using these products, it can help to make your job much easier and can help to prevent any distractions or issues occurring during a shoot.

PRO ST-IV 2.4GHz Flash Transmitter

The ST-IV trigger is a 2.4GHz trigger which is part of the PiXAPRO ONE System, meaning that it is compatible with our entire range of flash lighting and can control them with their built-in 2.4GHz receivers. This trigger attaches directly to the hot-shoe on top of your camera and is incredibly user-friendly, as it comes with a large backlit Dot-Matrix LCD display to clearly show your settings, and well-labelled button to explain what each of these does. It features a transmission range of 100m, and as it uses radio waves, direct line of sight between the trigger and your lighting isn’t required. It allows you to control 5 different groups at a single time, meaning that you are able to adjust each light individually to better suit their purpose. The ST-IV supports many functions such as High-Speed Sync, Stroboscopic flash, TTL and the newest function, TCM. TCM allows you to take a shot in TTL mode, then transfers all the settings across to manual mode for you to adjust to suit your requirements. The use of a trigger is very important in this type of photography, as you do not want to keep your subjects waiting for extended periods of time whilst you adjust each light individually.


Summary

Having gone through a wide range of options for School Photo Photography and looked into individual scenarios and situations, we hope we have been able to advise you on which equipment would best suit you.