The Best Smash Cake Light Setup for Beginning Photographers – What Do You Buy First?


Today we’re talking about what light to
buy you can only afford one. Welcome back to you guys, my name is Daniel with thesmashcake.com, thanks for checking back in with us. Today we’re gonna go ahead
and talk about “if I can only afford one light what light would it be?” Now, back in
the day I wasted a ton of money buying gear that people thought I should have
and what ultimately ended up happening is, that well I didn’t use the stuff I
bought and because I was so new I just didn’t have the revenue to buy the stuff
I really needed. So, not only did I waste money but I wasted a lot of time buying
the wrong gear. Today I’m gonna help you guys avoid all of that by getting you
started with the first light setup I think you should buy for smash cake
photography. Now let’s go ahead and jump right in. The first thing I want to go
ahead and talk to you guys about is light stands. Now I know I just said
we’re gonna talk about lights but I’m gonna get on my soapbox here for a
little bit. We’re starting with the light stand because it is vitally
important now you don’t want to spend money on a flash, only to put it on a
cheap stand and have that cheap stand fail and have the whole thing come
crashing down. And for those of you without insurance that would be
catastrophic. So today we’re gonna go ahead and start with what light stand I
think you should buy for the light that you should buy first. And that of course
is a century stand. Now back in the day century stands were hugely expensive;
five – six – eight hundred dollars, twelve hundred dollars they were just oh my god
but today we live in the world of Chinese knockoffs and while I don’t
normally support Chinese knockoffs there are certain things that you can get away
with, and a light stand is one. Now a light stand I use is the newer or newer our
re-pronounce it a century stand and I know it’s a knockoff, but I’ve used this
a lot and I can honestly tell you that there’s minute differences for what we
use it for the world of smash cake the differences are very very slight and the price difference is enormous. So the light stands that I
use are about I keep looking over here because I’m actually supporting this
light with one, but the light stand that I’m using right now I think we picked it
up for a hundred and twenty five dollars. Now, compare that to the twelve hundred
dollar price tag that I’ve seen on some C stands and it’s a drastic savings.
So, always start with the newer Neewer C stand because you know, let’s face it,
you’re gonna put a lot of money on top of it and you don’t want it all come
crashing down. I have spent thousands of dollars at this point throughout my
career on cheap light stands that I thought were a great deal. I’d by 3 for 30
bucks and I put a light on there and you know, a week later the whole thing would
fall apart. So yeah, with what I spent on just cheap stands I could have bought a
whole army of these Neewer C stands for one hundred and twenty five dollars
apiece. So that’s where I would start with the foundation. Now, the light, let’s
get to the light because that’s why you clicked the button, that’s what you want to
know about. Now a lot of you out there in the Facebook groups, when somebody asks “what like should I buy” you guys are recommending everything from Speed
lights to Alien bees to Yongnuo’s and so on and so forth and while you
know those suggestions work they don’t really work for me. The speed lights I
find are just too underpowered and the recycle time it just takes too long. You
let a burst of flash go and it takes 3-4 seconds for that thing to recharge,
meanwhile your smash cake client is doing something super cute and you can’t
hit the button, you can’t get that shot because you’re waiting on the flash, so
that’s super annoying and I absolutely hate it. So for smash tape photography I
never recommend speed lights, there are some larger speed lights on the market
that kind of do the job, I own them, I use them for other types of photography but
I can honestly tell you that for in-studio smash cake photography the only light that I would recommend would be a mono light and the only mono lights I
recommend are the ones with high-speed sync. Now I can sit here and I could
totally bore you all day with the nuances of high speed, the science
behind it, I don’t care about any of that, I just care about making sellable images
and basically when you use a non high-speed sync monolight like an
Alien Bee what happens is a time you need to set your shutter speed above one
two hundredth of a second, what happens is you get a nasty black bar on the
bottom of your picture, on every picture because the light and the camera didn’t
sync up correctly. That doesn’t happen with high-speed sync but it
definitely happened to me with my Alien Bees and I was very I was restricted to
setting a shutter speed less than one two hundredth of a second and when you
get a kid that’s really moving and grooving and really running around your
set you miss a lot of shots because they’re blurry and they’re out of focus
and that’s time wasted and shots you can’t sell. So for that reason high-speed
sync when it came along and it was built in standard to these these Godox 8600
lights that I recommend I lost my mind because that’s what I had been begging
for for years. I spent thousands of dollars on, on you know a little tiny
high-speed sync wannabe devices from you know, pocket wizard and it, it was a hot
mess and Godox has come along and just made all of that super super simple. So
the next reason I love the Godox model like let’s see it’s not because the
high-speed sync or it’s got a lot of power the recycle time it’s amazing but
this is something I never thought was a deal. They’re battery operated, these guys
have no cords. Now when you run multiple lights like I do on my set having cords
around all over the the studio that is just an absolute hazard and a danger. And you guys know at this point how I feel about safety is paramount and for those of you
who are operating without insurance huh Okay, number one, oh my god get insurance, but number two if you have cords running all over your set and you don’t have
insurance, that accident is bound to happen at that point, so get
yourself some battery-operated lights they are amazing. The next thing I
absolutely love about these battery power and high-powered high speed sync
marvels of technology is the fact you can control all of your power
settings from the back of the camera. Now these lights ship with a little
controller and you can literally control the intensity of the light just by
pushing a few buttons. And if you’re like me and you run multiple lights you can
put each light into a different group and control each one of those lights
independently throughout the shoot without disturbing the baby, without
disturbing the parents, and without getting up in the middle of the shoot to grab a ladder and you know fiddle with your lights. It’s
amazing. So and you get all of this for a relatively cheap price of I believe the
eighty six hundred and the controller ship for somewhere in the neighborhood
of $800. Now I know a lot of you out there are on very restricted budgets but
I’m telling you that this is one of those things where you buy it once and
you buy it right and it’s going to be an investment. You will make your money back in the first couple of shoots I promise I make my money back on these lights
every single shoot so it’s it’s it’s beautiful thing. Now the next thing that
I want to talk to you guys about is now that you have the light what are you
going to modify the light with? So you go on Pinterest right now and you start
looking at smash cake photography or you go on Instagram or whatever, you can see
that the lighting looks all very similar. Like all the images that you love the
lighting looks pretty darn similar and I can tell you why. It’s because they’re
using a five or a seven foot octabox to light the darn thing. And the joy
of using a softbox or excuse me an octabox like that is that it lessens the
transition from highlights to shadows, it means it gives you a nice smooth
gradient transition instead of a very abrupt hard light situation that you
might get with a speed light. If you look at those images that you love I love
they all don’t really have a whole lot of shadowing going on and that comes
from creating a giant enormous wall of light which is what you’re going to
create with your Godox AD600 and a 7 foot octabox. So that’s it. That’s the
setup I would use if I was starting from scratch tomorrow and I had to put a
little money into the set. I would buy the Neewer C-stand,
I would buy the AD600 monolight I would buy a 7′ octobox to put it in and all of that plus maybe a very cheap reflector or a
one of those poster boards send like a v-flat is enough to get you started. And if
you don’t buy any other lights that is enough for you to start making money and
to start bringing in customers with your smash cake photography. So I really hope
that this all helped you guys, if you have any questions definitely hit me up on
the comments section below and I’ll be happy to answer those questions for ya
and in the meantime if you want to check out any of the gear you can, of course can
find it in the Pro Shop on thesmashcake.com, so thanks for watching you guys, don’t forget to thumbs up and do all that stuff and until next time my
name is Daniel with thesmashcake.com and I will talk with you in the next
video.

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