Forums > Photography Talk > Plane friendly options for lighting? Tips?

Photographer

bencook2

Posts: 3824

Pageland, South Carolina, US

I need to be very mobile.  It looks like every 60 days I will be on an airplane.  I have two options.

1.  Bring my kit with me.

2.  Have a "spare" kit waiting on me at my location.


Honestly, down the road I hope to have option two.  But the funds are not there for this to be a reality.

Obviously they have Sunshine where I am working.  But I need studio lights also.  I've almost decided to buy about 4 speedlights and some modification equipment.  Lumapro's 180s are reviewing very well.  I can get two sessions out of $8.00 worth of batteries with my SB-700.  I could be doubling or tripling this expense.

Anyone got any tips or tricks on batteries and speedlights?

What about traveling and your gear?  The airlines don't care that I am a photographer.  The most courtesy I've ever been offered is a "fragile" tag on my gear as it is tossed in the belly of the plane!

Showing up in Odessa Ukraine while my gear is lost in Istanbul or Warsaw isn't an option.  Any tips on insuring your gear arrives with you?

In terms of gear... I can rent stands.  I can rent all of it.  But, what I will be renting will be well used.  So I would prefer to bring as much of it as is possible... especially the key pieces like lights, cameras, lens and modification stuff.

Does anyone make 40+ inch softbox or umbrella that would tuck away into a carry on size bag?  Umbrellas?

All tips, tricks and experiences welcome!!!

Sep 01 13 09:35 pm Link

Photographer

NewBoldPhoto

Posts: 4897

PORT MURRAY, New Jersey, US

bencook2 wrote:
I need to be very mobile.  It looks like every 60 days I will be on an airplane.  I have two options.

1.  Bring my kit with me.

2.  Have a "spare" kit waiting on me at my location.


Honestly, down the road I hope to have option two.  But the funds are not there for this to be a reality.

Obviously they have Sunshine where I am working.  But I need studio lights also.  I've almost decided to buy about 4 speedlights and some modification equipment.  Lumapro's 180s are reviewing very well.  I can get two sessions out of $8.00 worth of batteries with my SB-700.  I could be doubling or tripling this expense.

Anyone got any tips or tricks on batteries and speedlights?

What about traveling and your gear?  The airlines don't care that I am a photographer.  The most courtesy I've ever been offered is a "fragile" tag on my gear as it is tossed in the belly of the plane!

Showing up in Odessa Ukraine while my gear is lost in Istanbul or Warsaw isn't an option.  Any tips on insuring your gear arrives with you?

In terms of gear... I can rent stands.  I can rent all of it.  But, what I will be renting will be well used.  So I would prefer to bring as much of it as is possible... especially the key pieces like lights, cameras, lens and modification stuff.

Does anyone make 40+ inch softbox or umbrella that would tuck away into a carry on size bag?  Umbrellas?

All tips, tricks and experiences welcome!!!

Basic advise: have a bikini kit (the bare necessities) that goes with you carry-on along with a clean shirt and underwear.  Hard cases for anything breakable and go as light weight as you can on all the rest... the bastards are going to charge you for the extra bags.
I have never tried to pack a 40" soft box for carry-on. If you can get the bows to bend enough be sure to put the speed-ring somewhere  that TSA can get to it with out the entire bag exploding cause you know they are going to look and they tend to be a bit short on repacking skills.

Sep 01 13 09:56 pm Link

Photographer

You Can Call Me Pierre

Posts: 761

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

I pack a pair of Sunpak 120J and tinker with PVC tubing from local hardware stores to build a frame for my fabrics.

Sep 01 13 10:08 pm Link

Photographer

Dan Howell Tearsheets

Posts: 572

Jersey City, New Jersey, US

NewBoldPhoto wrote:
I have never tried to pack a 40" soft box for carry-on. If you can get the bows to bend enough be sure to put the speed-ring somewhere  that TSA can get to it with out the entire bag exploding cause you know they are going to look and they tend to be a bit short on repacking skills.

I have two different soft-boxes that size and larger that have two-section support rods. Both roll up to a the size/shape of about two Pringles cans (though in this case a nylon pouch). I normally travel with them in checked cases, they would have no problem fitting in a carry-on. Personally, I don't attempt to carry lighting in overhead compartment. I use my carry-on allowance for my cameras/lenses.

I have traveled internationally w/ ProAcute B, AcuteB head, Manfrotto light stand, Plume Wafer Express 100 softbox, Matthews RoadRag 24x36 w/silk and a couple of  superclamps in a soft rolling duffel case which has worked out well for me:

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120423/11/4f95a340f0558_m.jpg
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/121201/16/50baa65b298c2_m.jpg
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/130320/18/514a62253f0e1_m.jpg

Sep 01 13 10:34 pm Link

Photographer

bencook2

Posts: 3824

Pageland, South Carolina, US

Good info.

Dan, if you could name that softbox brand I would appreciate it.


I think I will just buy a good gear bag and put the toothbrush, deodorant and one change of cloths in with the camera and lenses. 

Honestly... I can do almost anything I want with one lens.  My 2.8 16-50.  So that leaves room (and maybe weight) for the speedlights.  8 kilos is all they are allowing now on most international flights. That's not a lot.

I can check the other gear and hope my Flight Karma is in order.  One delay and it's adios to the gear.  Trying to track me down on location to return my lost luggage would be almost impossible in a place I don't have a mobile phone.  I'd have an easier time convincing the models to be in bed before 1 am.

Sep 01 13 10:50 pm Link

guide forum

Photographer

-JAY-

Posts: 6694

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

bencook2 wrote:
I've almost decided to buy about 4 speedlights and some modification equipment.  Lumapro's 180s are reviewing very well.


Does anyone make 40+ inch softbox or umbrella that would tuck away into a carry on size bag?  Umbrellas?

All tips, tricks and experiences welcome!!!

Get the YN560IIs instead of the Lumopros - I have tested both extensively. I used to support the lumopros for being "made in america" but they're now made in china. YN560s are better in pretty much every respect, and much cheaper ($60 vs $200.)

I use the same rechargeable batteries for 4-6 months at a time

If you have budgeted for the Lumopros, get Sunpak 622 Supers instead (or 120Js) for MUCH more power.

For portable softboxes, I use these with speedlites: http://www.amazon.com/PBL-Reflective-So … x+umbrella - 40" and VERY portable.

All of this and more fit in my carryon backpack.

Sep 01 13 10:58 pm Link

Photographer

afplcc

Posts: 6000

Fairfax, Virginia, US

I travel extensively.  But I never check photo equipment--the last time I did was in 1985 when two containers of photo equipment never made it on a direct flight from Hartford to DC.  Since then, I either ship by someone like FedEx or UPS where I can track it and insure it.  Or I carry it on.  For the approximately 20-30 domestic flights I take every year, I only do carry-on.  And I have no problem with TSA.

I have a soft-sided duffle bag (small enough to qualify as carry-on but b/c it's soft-sided it will fit in overhead compartments easily when other bags are there).  I use a little bit of clothing and toiletries for help cushion things.  Otherwise, in it goes...batteries, cards, 2 speed lights, a portable softbox, a small reflector, a stand, a tripod, a couple of lens, sometimes a spare body, charger, some filters and gels.

For areas that I go back to frequently, I will often store a bag of stuff that is lighter but still useful for shoots:  duct tape, a couple of large pieces of cloth (that work to drape models or as scrims), a painter's plastic dropcloth (useful as a scrim), some useful props....it's a very light bag but it's big b/c of the fabric items.

Ed

Sep 02 13 04:55 am Link

Photographer

Dan Howell Tearsheets

Posts: 572

Jersey City, New Jersey, US

bencook2 wrote:
Good info.

Dan, if you could name that softbox brand I would appreciate it.

I did.
"Plume Wafer Express 100 softbox"

The regular Plume Wafer does not have two-section poles. I was fortunate to get Express 100 and 140 in addition to the regular Wafers I have. The Express editions will be hard to find however. They were only offered for a short time by Plume, but they were also made exclusively for Calumet as their shallow-depth branded softbox. You might be able to find some old stock.

Another option for you might be the Chimera Octa 30" Collapsible Beauty Dish. I have their 24" version which is very well made and folds down to a surprisingly small package (fits inside the supplied 9x12" storage pouch). I would think the 30" fold down to 12x15". There is even a two-speedlight speedring available--though I still think an Profoto Acute B or Elinchrome Quadra is a better option.


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/9 … _dish.html

Sep 02 13 05:59 am Link

Photographer

Loki Studio

Posts: 3018

Royal Oak, Michigan, US

My approach would be

1) Carry on with camera, lenses, 4 Yongnou  flashes, wireless triggers.  Think Tank Airport International
2) Stand Bag padded with 3 light weight stands, 1 Photek Softlighter 56" , 2 umbrellas, and Honl grids


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/8 … V_2_0.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/7 … er_II.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/2 … Stand.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1 … d_Bag.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/6 … d_for.html

Sep 02 13 06:57 am Link

Photographer

Albertex Photography

Posts: 15399

Mansfield, Texas, US

We went to Krakow in 2011 for a wedding.  We bought fold up stands that fit in our luggage as well as Super Clamps with a small ball head.  In a Lowe Pro Trekker backpack we had 2 SB900 and 2 SB800 and Cowboy Studio slaves and a lot of Eneloops and the charger.  The charger works in the EU with an adapter.  Worked great.

Sep 02 13 07:37 am Link

Photographer

bencook2

Posts: 3824

Pageland, South Carolina, US

I've looked at the Chimera collapsible.  That will likely make it into the arsenal very soon.  Adam Lerner had a quick piece on his youtube channel.

Sep 02 13 07:39 am Link

Photographer

ward

Posts: 6135

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I can pack two Quantum T5d-r strobe heads and two Quantum Turbo 3 battery packs conveniently in my Think Tank camera bag. Then I throw in two 60" convertible umbrellas and two Matthews 7' reverse stands in my luggage. Triggered with a Pocket Wizard Plus and Pocket Wizard receiver. Makes for a powerful flash set and yet it's easy to travel with.

Sep 02 13 07:46 am Link

Photographer

Sans Cloth

Posts: 153

Salt Lake City, Utah, US

I have two travel kits...depending on what I need:

1. pelican 1510 for speedlights that I always carry-on (I can fit to nano stands and two 12x18 (?) Calumet softboxes, larger softboxes are in my clothes bag).  The 1510 is the largest domestic carry on size. I know you are talking international so I would look at thinktank's bags

2. thinktank logistics manager for my elinchrom quadra packs and heads (with a quadra ringlight) that I have to check - it is usual 49 lbs...lol

I do recommend getting a very accurate luggage scale - it can save a lot of money on over weight bag charges.

Sep 02 13 07:54 am Link

Photographer

MC Photo

Posts: 4144

New York, New York, US

bencook2 wrote:
I need to be very mobile.  It looks like every 60 days I will be on an airplane.  I have two options.

1.  Bring my kit with me.

2.  Have a "spare" kit waiting on me at my location.


Honestly, down the road I hope to have option two.  But the funds are not there for this to be a reality.

Obviously they have Sunshine where I am working.  But I need studio lights also.  I've almost decided to buy about 4 speedlights and some modification equipment.  Lumapro's 180s are reviewing very well.  I can get two sessions out of $8.00 worth of batteries with my SB-700.  I could be doubling or tripling this expense.

Anyone got any tips or tricks on batteries and speedlights?

What about traveling and your gear?  The airlines don't care that I am a photographer.  The most courtesy I've ever been offered is a "fragile" tag on my gear as it is tossed in the belly of the plane!

Showing up in Odessa Ukraine while my gear is lost in Istanbul or Warsaw isn't an option.  Any tips on insuring your gear arrives with you?

In terms of gear... I can rent stands.  I can rent all of it.  But, what I will be renting will be well used.  So I would prefer to bring as much of it as is possible... especially the key pieces like lights, cameras, lens and modification stuff.

Does anyone make 40+ inch softbox or umbrella that would tuck away into a carry on size bag?  Umbrellas?

All tips, tricks and experiences welcome!!!

Sanyo Eneloop rechargables are a much better choice.

Even better is a Quantum Turbo battery.

Personally I prefer the Quantum flashes over speedlights by a long shot, though they are more expensive.

I'd plan to rent stands, but I'd carry some Gorilla Pods so that I could easily improvise - attach them to ladders etc.

I recently shot a video and did 10 separate still shoots in LA only carry on gear plus one lightstand and a shoulder mount rig that I'd wrapped in my checked baggage.


I have a small Domke bag, that holds two bodies and 2-3 lenses. I have a bunch of small Think Tank belt bags that I use to pad bodies, lenses and hold accessories - batteries/chargers on camera light arms etc.

I put all the camera gear, a 1D, a 5D, 4 Ls, 6 Nikkors, flash bracket, speedlight, Q Flash, turbo 3 and assorted accessories in to the Domke and the Think Tank bags. I put all of the Think Tank pouches in to a duffel bag with straps designed to so that it can be carried as a backpack. Plus a 17 inch MBP in a Think Tank bag. I put this in the overhead and the Domke under the seat when there wasn't room in the overhead.

For my checked bag I had a rolling duffel bag that was just long enough to hold a light stand and out my clothes in that. Once I got to LA I swapped the contents of the two duffel bags because the one with the lenses was extremely heavy. Then I had a rolling bag and/or the domke to take to each shoot.

I rented a tripod. I also brough a monopod with pull out legs that I used as an extra stand.

I had two litepanels mini LED lights with the plan to rent more, but there wasn't enough time and I ended shooting the entire video with either one or two of those lights.

Sep 03 13 05:12 pm Link

Photographer

Chris Rifkin

Posts: 24637

Tampa, Florida, US

3 speedlights with soft boxes...2 50D bodies,my 3 main primes(my 50 and 85 1.8s and my 24 L
And my 75-200 2.8L all fit on my carry on case...weighs in at 46lbs...
I pack 2  lightweight stands in my checked bag,2 empty sand bags...

My entire port is speedlights only(between 1 and 3)

Sep 04 13 10:06 am Link

Photographer

Good Egg Productions

Posts: 15706

Orlando, Florida, US

I fly back and forth between Orlando and L.A. about once a month.  Here's what I do.

First of all, I fly Southwest.  Free checked bag is nice.  Also, their boarding policy allows me the choice of which middle seat I want to sit in.  Usually assuring me a more comfortable trip because although I choose a middle seat, it's between two smaller people.  I digress.

I pack a large checked back with tripods, stands and at least one collapseable softbox with all my clothes.  In a carry-on, I pack up to three Einstein/AB strobes, the dishes, a few grids, cords, and a variety of other electronics and stuff I need.  My "personal item" is my camera backpack jam packed with body, lenses, triggers, laptop and other small stuff.

I checked my strobes one time, and they were both broken by the time I got home.  Never again. 

If you read up on carry on sizes and shop for the right bag, you can fit an enormous amount of stuff with you.  And nothing has been even slightly damaged since I've worked out this plan.  Carry on overhead, backpack under the seat.

Oh, and I should mention... I get stopped at security EVERY time.  Apparently, all that stuff looks very bomb-like to the screeners.

Sep 04 13 10:27 am Link

Photographer

GlamourPhotoChicago

Posts: 274

Chicago, Illinois, US

I fly all the time and have experimented with flash guns, lights, modifiers etc.... and I have come to this in my lighting kit. Ringlight with spotlight diffusion. I used my Profoto Ringlighg with softlight diffuser. Bought a tenba case for it. Camera with 24-70; 50mm ; and 135. Maybe a very small light stand. The nice thing about this setup. It's versatile and doesn't require stands, doesn't require softboxes, it's sturdy.

I am actually selling my profoto as I went to Broncolor.

Sep 13 13 07:19 am Link

Photographer

afplcc

Posts: 6000

Fairfax, Virginia, US

bencook2 wrote:
I need to be very mobile.  It looks like every 60 days I will be on an airplane.  I have two options.

1.  Bring my kit with me.

2.  Have a "spare" kit waiting on me at my location.


Honestly, down the road I hope to have option two.  But the funds are not there for this to be a reality.

Obviously they have Sunshine where I am working.  But I need studio lights also.  I've almost decided to buy about 4 speedlights and some modification equipment.  Lumapro's 180s are reviewing very well.  I can get two sessions out of $8.00 worth of batteries with my SB-700.  I could be doubling or tripling this expense.

Anyone got any tips or tricks on batteries and speedlights?

What about traveling and your gear?  The airlines don't care that I am a photographer.  The most courtesy I've ever been offered is a "fragile" tag on my gear as it is tossed in the belly of the plane!

Showing up in Odessa Ukraine while my gear is lost in Istanbul or Warsaw isn't an option.  Any tips on insuring your gear arrives with you?

In terms of gear... I can rent stands.  I can rent all of it.  But, what I will be renting will be well used.  So I would prefer to bring as much of it as is possible... especially the key pieces like lights, cameras, lens and modification stuff.

Does anyone make 40+ inch softbox or umbrella that would tuck away into a carry on size bag?  Umbrellas?

All tips, tricks and experiences welcome!!!

DP

Sep 13 13 07:50 am Link