Photographer turns self into a walking lighting rig with the StrobePack


posted Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 1:26 PM EST


Getting enough light to capture good portraits while outside of the studio can be tricky. You can use a strobe and be stuck with a harsh, direct light. You can take your softboxes with you but then have to lug them everywhere and deal with power supplies. You can use natural light but be stuck when it gets dark out. Or, you can do what photographer Mark Kaplan did, and build himself a wearable lighting studio called the StrobePack.

Writing for DIYPhotography, Kaplan explains the genesis of the StrobePack and his goals with this big, wearable light source:

"The basic goal of the StrobePack, is to provide high-quality lighting at night and in low-light conditions, although it can be used in daylight, it really works best with low ambient light. It allows low-ISO, long-exposure, higher aperture shooting, which results in sharp, clean subjects while still soaking in ambient light sources."

His StrobePack has gone through multiple iterations, switching from umbrellas to softboxes to shoot-throughs, from GorillaPods to a crossbar, changing the power sources and eventually adding flashing LED lights and a sound system to the rig to get people to interact with him.

The current generation of the StrobePack has two Nikon SB-600s; a Phottix Odin system; 24-inch white shoot-throughs; with the set-up mounted via a Cowboy Studio T-bracket. Kaplan is fundraising to take his StrobePack to Burning Man, where his flashing lights and sounds will no doubt be highly appreciated. He won't be the first do that, though. Eric Schwabel did something remarkably similar with his human light suit — Burning Man and all. Then there's also this unique, walking lighting set-up from photographer Ian Spanier, who mounted his softbox rig onto a backpack designed for birding enthusiasts.

You can see more of Kaplan's work through his Flickr and website.