Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Lastolite Tri Flip Kit Reflector

When you open my Kata backpack, the first thing you see is a large flat compartment with a 33" Lastolite TriGrip Reflector in it. This is a fairly indispensable item to own. It's relatively small, light, and can be used in a bunch of different ways.  The primary way I use it is as a fill for my portraits. When I light, I almost never use a second light to fill shadows. The fact is I love shadows- they give faces shape and character. But I want to control just how dark they are. In some situations they need to be inky dark, in others barely there, and, most of the time, somewhere in between. Using a reflector to bounce a little light into those shadows gives me the control I need.

Generally, I use the TriGrip with the Trigrip bracket . Although this bracket includes an arm so you can attach a shoe mount strobe, I took this off. The arm made it a little bulky to carry in my backpack and I figured if I needed to use the Tri Grip as a diffuser, I had other options. I generally put one end of the bracket on a light stand and on the other I attached the reflector with a Super Clamp . The bracket has a double ball joint which makes it infinitely adjustable, so I can place the reflector in any position I need.

The TriGrip has some features I really like. Unlike other collapsible reflectors, it has a  built in handle with a velcro strap. If I'm working with an assistant, this makes it really easy for them to hold wherever I need it. The kit also comes with two reversible covers with different surfaces. These include black, silver, gold, half silver, half gold, and others. They slip over the translucent white stock surface and essentially give you 8 tools in one. The black can be especially useful if you want to put an outdoor subject in the shade and then light them with a strobe. Or the silver can be used to bounce a little sparkle into your subjects face on a cloudy day or when you have to shoot under florescent lights in an office situation. And using the translucent white as a diffuser on a sunny day to soften that hard (and often hideous) light can allow you to make an attractive portrait in less than opportune conditions.

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